With chronic stress being the norm for kids and families today, we look for ways to calm down our busy brain; some healthy, some unhealthy. However, for most, it is easy for stress to creep up and for a person to get “stuck” in behavioral patterns that don't serve them.
Getting easily upset, emotional eating, binge watching shows to avoid stress, scrolling on our phones, and being unfocused are all signs of a dysregulated brain. There are so many “easy” ways to disconnect from our bodies when things create uncomfortableness in our lives. The problem is we can't avoid stress and the things we ignore will show up in one way or another.
When we are stressed, it shows up in how our brain and body work and in our behaviors. When our brain is on fire, we are more emotionally and behaviorally reactive. That means our kids can be ever so difficult to parent, refuse to do what we ask, have sensory reactions, and are oh so irritable.
On the flip side, when our brain is underactive, it is hard to focus and take planned, purposeful action. Our kids don't alert when they are supposed to, hear directions, or complete tasks. They need us to constantly nudge them even though they are smart and boy is that frustrating for both of you.
When the brain is calm and balanced, then our behaviors reflect that. That means we are able to be focused, tolerate irritants, and have motivated, purposeful actions. Our kids can get stuff done and are just more pleasant… they are happy.
Simply put, the key to good mental health is a calm, regulated brain. No learning can occur without it.
The foundation of all of my work is showing others the key to lifelong mental health is to calm the brain and learn new behavior. When you know how to behaviorally respond to life's challenges, you gain that resilience that brings happiness into your life.
Stress tolerance doesn't just magically happen. The magic happens when you calm the brain and know how to respond when stress happens.
A pill doesn't fix it.
Repeating the same thing over and over doesn't fix it.
The school isn't going to fix it.
But you can fix it when you know what to do….
Neuroscience shows us the way…
we give you the keys to unlock your child's brain and behavior.
You as a parent can not only teach your child these skills, but lead by example. Kids gain so much more from watching you, then listening to you, and you get the benefit too. But you may not have the tools in your toolkit that is why you need our BrainBehaviorReset™ Program. We give you the step by step way to change behavior.
Regardless of whether or not your child is struggling a lot, a little, or they have a clinical issue or just are stressed, our nervous system needs to be calm and regulated and our kids need that all important stress tolerance. That is exactly what we do in our BrainBehaviorReset™ Program and it is effective, science-backed, and natural and that is important.
Cameron is a great kid who happened to struggle with focus. Up until the fourth grade, he not only did well in school, he enjoyed it. The increased writing demands made it hard for this bright kid to keep up. His ideas were good but he struggled with the executive functioning components of writing and just getting his thoughts on the page.
Relying on his intellect, he was able to inconsistently keep up for a few years until middle school. A mix of hating school, the work becoming too hard and the constant “nag” cycle at home, zapped Cameron's motivation and effort. His teachers called a school meeting and the long and short of it was they suggested he get tested for ADHD and talk to his doctor about medication.
So that is what they did and Cameron got a diagnosis of ADHD and a script for a psychostimulant. At first it helped Cameron and he seemed to hear directions more easily. The medication affected his appetite but he ate a lot at night, so they assumed everything was okay. Then he started getting cranky and wasn't eating except at night.
Cameron went from sweet and unfocused to crabby and unfocused. “No thank you”, said his parents to Cameron's pediatrician when she suggested adding another medication.
After hearing me speak on a podcast about ADHD, his parents brought Cameron in and during the first meeting of my BrainBehaviorReset™ Program, it became clear that Cameron's issues were related to executive functioning. After a combination of neurofeedback to regulate his brain and get it be alert and focused paired with executive functioning coaching, dietary changes and supplements for attention, Cameron got off the grades rollercoaster and with better listening, planning, and writing skills, he was getting the good grades that reflected just how smart he really was.
When you regulate the brain, it is possible for the brain to learn and that is exactly what Cameron did and continues to do as a successful engineering student in college.
How is Good Stress Different From Bad Stress?
Since our body knows no difference between good and bad stress, it is very easy for stress to build and activate our nervous system. You may be thinking, what is good stress?
Positive stressors are things like a wedding, baby being born, or getting an “A” on a test. Yes, these are wonderful events but each one causes the nervous system to react or activate to small stressors that slowly move the nervous system from a relaxed state to stressed state.
Over time, the nervous system becomes stuck in a stressed state and the more stressed the nervous system is, the more and more it over reacts to little or more benign stressors. Things like sound, noise, or a simple ask to clear a plate causes big reactions.
Then you throw in real stressors or “bad” stress, and the nervous system can't handle even small stressors because it is already overloaded. This is how our kid's behavior breaks down.
What Is a Hyperactive Nervous System?
A stressed nervous system is a hyperactive nervous system. A nervous system gets in a “rev state” or is hyperactive when compounded stressors build and it begins to over react (or under react) to everyday stressors and stimuli. A minor irritation, the sound of someone's voice, a request to do homework leads to tears, arguments, withdrawal, or distressed words or behaviors because the nervous system is at maximum capacity.
When the nervous system gets hyperactivated, the body and brain jumps into action and prepares for “war.” That means all of the body's resources, including the immune system, hormones, and neurotransmitters all get ready to deal with the “stressor.” The problem is when you have repeated stressors that cause the nervous system to be hyperactive, there is no real danger yet the brain and body thinks there is an impending danger.
The brain's frontal lobes shut off so a person can concentrate their efforts on this “war” but the problem is the brain reacts to every minor stressor. The more the nervous system reacts to stress, the more it gets stuck in a “rev state.” Our stressed kids stop thinking and just react.
Imagine a child whose socks aren't right which causes them to fly into a rage. A teen who cries if you ask her to clean her room. An adolescent who gets so overwhelmed every time you ask him to do more than one thing. These are all examples of kids who have nervous systems affected by compounded stress or have a hyper stress activated nervous system.
How Stress Impacts The Brain
We already know that excessive stress disrupts the architecture of the developing brain but we also need to know that there are many ways stress can alter the function and structure of any brain. In children, chronic stress can lead to not just negative changes within the brain but can result in mental health issues such as anxiety, OCD, and depression.
As resilient as children's brains can be, the brain and body can't live in a stress state… there needs to be some relief in order for the brain to function and so that they can change their behavior.
Stress hormones impact the emotional regulation center of the brain, and the Amygdala and cortisol start the cascade of flooding stress hormones that cause the system to be even less responsive to stressors. Cortisol is a hormone that plays a pivotal role in how the body responds to stress. High levels of cortisol pushes the brain and body into overdrive resulting in a range of physical and psychological symptoms.
All of these stress hormones feed the “rev state” and the behavioral habituation of the nervous system. The more the brain over reacts to stress, negative behaviors become habits that are harder to address. Science shows that you must calm the nervous system first before you can address thoughts and behaviors and that is what we have successfully done for thousands in our BrainBehaviorReset™ Program.
Stress and the Brain From Adaptation to Disease
No one is immune from stress.. even our kids can't escape it. It is important to understand that stress often shows physically in kids and adults too.
Symptoms of Stress in Kids: High Cortisol Symptoms
- Sound sensitivity
- Light sensitivity
- Touch sensitivity
- Food texture sensitivity
- Emotional lability
- Resistance and inflexibility
- Difficulty getting to and staying asleep
- Difficulty waking up
- Focus and disability issues
- Gastrointestinal difficulties
- Muscle tension
- Glucose, hormone, and metabolism problems
- Increased autoimmune disease and allergies
- Increased illnesses
- Increased mental health issues such as, ADHD, executive functioning issues, anxiety, depression, OCD
Today's stressors have led to increased clinical issues such as focus problems, anxiety and OCD. With so much technology overload, social pressures, and intense academic work, kids are very unfocused and struggle with executive functioning but not everyone has ADHD. Constant cortisol activation can lead to a variety of clinical issues that impact attention and mood. Remember, a dysregulated nervous system shows up in your child's behavior and that can look everything from attention problems to anxiety to anger.
How Chronic Stress Impacts Disease States
When the body is in a chronic stress state, all of its resources (immune system, hormones, neurotransmitters) will go into war mode to fight an unknown predator. The problem is that we all face constant stress, so our body can easily get caught in a “fight, flight or freeze” state.
The body will ignore known antigens and turn its attention to these “stressors.” The body gets stuck in a ‘rev state” and that means all of its resources are occupied and can't concentrate on healing even with good physical care. Studies from psychoimmunology show us that when we are in a stressed, sympathetic dominant state, at a deeply cellular level, our body can't repair itself in the same brain.
Without a calm brain, the body can't heal itself from disease states. So how do you get the body in an optimal healing state? Well, you need to calm the brain and get it into a parasympathetic state. A calm brain can be achieved with tools such as neurofeedback and PEMF are essential for brain and physical healing.
Since stress is always present in our lives, we need to mindfully counter it to keep our minds and bodies healthy.
How To Help Stressed and Distressed Children and Teens: BrainBehaviorReset™
It doesn't matter what issue your child or teen is experiencing, the key to overcoming any issue is to calm the brain and pair it with new behavioral learning. Only when the brain is calm and the nervous system is regulated, can your child pay attention, think, and take action. If you aren't calming first, then working on new learning second, you are wasting your time.
You probably tried medication and talk therapy but it didn't work, that is why you need our unique program that has helped thousands of families create change. For thirty years, I have only used science-backed solutions to help kids pay attention, process faster, and reduce the intensity and frequency of those behaviors that make them hard to get along with and parent.
When a nervous system is in that “rev state” they simply can't think, pay attention, or change their behavior and no matter how great that therapist is or how much you are on your “A” game as a parent, they can't “hear” you because their brain is in war mode.
You are now recognizing that your child or teen hasn't gotten focused, calm, or independent in their behavior because their brain is dysregulated but you have no idea what to do about it, that is how we can help your child do better in school, home, and life.
Science shows us just how to create new learning and behavior and that is what is the foundation of our trademarked BrainBehaviorReset™ Program.
CALM THE BRAIN + TEACH NEW SKILLS = REGULATED BRAIN AND BEHAVIOR
In order to restore balance, improve mood, and help your kid be independently successful at school and home, your child's brain must be alert, calm, and ready for action first, then they are capable of not just learning but integrating those changes into their school and home life. It's all about resetting the brain and behavior to create lasting change.
Want to see your child and family be calm and happy?…. But you aren't sure where to start or even how to do that?
That is exactly what we do and we have helped thousands of kids and families. Our BrainBehaviorReset™ Program is the key that unlocks your kid's potential.
We calm the nervous system with proven, science-backed tools such as neurofeedback and PEMF and then give you tools for new learning through psychotherapy or coaching. That means new ways to respond to stressors, how to communicate in a way that your kid can hear you, and helping your kid to be less reactive. We show you how to integrate small actions in your daily life to unlock big changes. And we guide you through with our premium one-to-one BrainBehaviorReset™ Program. If you are ready for lasting change, you can apply to work with us one-to-one.
We all want our kids to be liked, be good decision makers when we aren't around and do great in school, but when your kid is struggling and you aren't sure what to do, well, that is why you need BrainBehaviorReset™.
This is a comprehensive program filled with the best of science-backed solutions that Dr. Roseann has used during her 30 years and not just neurofeedback alone. We use neurofeedback to calm the brain as one part of our BrainBehaviorReset™ Program along with our innovative multi-pronged approach that you won't find anywhere else. In this premier one-to-one program, we work to calm the brain with tools such as neurofeedback, BRT/PEMF, biofeedback, dietary and lifestyle changes, and supplements. Once the brain is calm, it can pay attention, think and take action differently, which is why we always recommend additional psychotherapy, coaching, and parent work with our staff so that the behavioral components can be addressed at the individual and family level. Remember, no learning can occur without a calm brain and you and/or your child can't show new behaviors without being shown something different! And that is what we do in our BrainBehaviorReset™ Program. In this program, led by Dr. Roseann, you get the support of a whole team as we guide you to resetting the brain and behavior. Partnering with us by dedicating time and resources to your custom treatment plan and making those all important lifestyle changes is the key to resetting behavior and restoring wellness. We pride ourselves on being the last place that our clients have to go to when you partner with us to reset the brain and behavior.
The bottom line is a stressed brain can't learn. Until you calm down the brain and give your kids the tools they need to pay attention, communicate, and finish tasks, they will just keep repeating the same behaviors no matter what you try to teach them. So, stop spinning your wheels and let our science-backed program guide you to change. Apply to work with us one-to-one.
Easter, J., McClure, E. B., Monk, C. S., Dhanani, M., Hodgdon, H., Leibenluft, E., Charney, D. S., Pine, D. S., & Ernst, M. (2005). Emotion recognition deficits in pediatric anxiety disorders: implications for amygdala research. Journal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology, 15(4), 563–570.
Jankord, R., & Herman, J. P. (2008). Limbic regulation of hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical function during acute and chronic stress. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1148, 64–73. https://doi.org/10.1196/annals.1410.012
Morey, J. N., Boggero, I. A., Scott, A. B., & Segerstrom, S. C. (2015). Current Directions in Stress and Human Immune Function. Current opinion in psychology, 5, 13–17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.03.007
Segerstrom, S., Miller, G., (2006) Psychological stress and the human immune system: A meta-analytic study of 30 years inquiry. Psychological Bulletin, 130(4), 601-630. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1361287/
Webster Marketon, J. I., & Glaser, R. (2008). Stress hormones and immune function. Cellular immunology, 252(1-2), 16–26. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cellimm.2007.09.006
Yaribeygi, H., Panahi, Y., Sahraei, H., Johnston, T. P., & Sahebkar, A. (2017). The impact of stress on body function: A review. EXCLI Journal, 16, 1057–1072. https://doi.org/10.17179/excli2017-480
Always remember… “Calm Brain, Happy Family™”
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to give health advice and it is recommended to consult with a physician before beginning any new wellness regime.
Are you looking for SOLUTIONS for your stressed or anxious child or teen?
Dr. Roseann and her team are all about solutions, so you are in the right place!
There are 3 ways to work with Dr. Roseann:
- In-person at her Ridgefield, CT center
- Virtually with her at home neurofeedback and coaching programs
- By getting her Get Unstuck Program
You can get her books for parents and professionals, including: It's Gonna Be OK™: Proven Ways to Improve Your Child's Mental Health, Teletherapy Toolkit™ and Brain Under Attack: A Resource For Parents and Caregivers of Children With PANS, PANDAS, and Autoimmune Encephalopathy.
Are you a professional who wants more training from Dr. Roseann?
Purchase her book, Teletherapy Toolkit™: Therapist Handbook for Treating Children and Teens.
If you are a business or organization that needs proactive guidance to support employee mental health or an organization looking for a brand representative, check out Dr. Roseann's professional speaking page to see how we can work together.
Dr. Roseann is a Children's Mental Health Expert and Therapist who has been featured in/on hundreds of media outlets including, CBS, NBC, FOX News, PIX11 NYC, The New York Times, The Washington Post,, Business Insider, USA Today, CNET, Marth Stewart, and PARENTS. FORBES called her, “A thought leader in children's mental health.”
She is the founder and director of The Global Institute of Children's Mental Health and Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge. Dr. Roseann is a Board Certified Neurofeedback (BCN) Practitioner, a Board Member of the Northeast Region Biofeedback Society (NRBS), Certified Integrative Medicine Mental Health Provider (CMHIMP) and an Amen Clinic Certified Brain Health Coach. She is also a member of The International Lyme Disease and Associated Disease Society (ILADS), The American Psychological Association (APA), Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) International Society for Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR) and The Association of Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB).
© Roseann-Capanna-Hodge, LLC 2021
Always remember… “Calm Brain, Happy Family™”
Are you looking for SOLUTIONS for your struggling child or teen?
Dr. Roseann and her team are all about solutions, so you are in the right place!
There are 3 ways to work with Dr. Roseann:
You can get her books for parents and professionals, including: It’s Gonna Be OK™: Proven Ways to Improve Your Child’s Mental Health, Teletherapy Toolkit™ and Brain Under Attack: A Resource For Parents and Caregivers of Children With PANS, PANDAS, and Autoimmune Encephalopathy.
If you are a business or organization that needs proactive guidance to support employee mental health or an organization looking for a brand representative, check out Dr. Roseann’s media page and professional speaking page to see how we can work together.
Dr. Roseann is a Children’s Mental Health Expert and Therapist who has been featured in/on hundreds of media outlets including, CBS, NBC, FOX News, PIX11 NYC, The New York Times, The Washington Post,, Business Insider, USA Today, CNET, Marth Stewart, and PARENTS. FORBES called her, “A thought leader in children’s mental health.”
She is the founder and director of The Global Institute of Children’s Mental Health and Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge. Dr. Roseann is a Board Certified Neurofeedback (BCN) Practitioner, a Board Member of the Northeast Region Biofeedback Society (NRBS), Certified Integrative Medicine Mental Health Provider (CMHIMP) and an Amen Clinic Certified Brain Health Coach. She is also a member of The International Lyme Disease and Associated Disease Society (ILADS), The American Psychological Association (APA), Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) International Society for Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR) and The Association of Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB).
© Roseann-Capanna-Hodge, LLC 2023
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to give health advice and it is recommended to consult with a physician before beginning any new wellness regime. *The effectiveness of diagnosis and treatment vary by patient and condition. Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge, LLC does not guarantee certain results.