Updated: May 14
Do you often feel anxious or nervous when trying something new?
Do you have tools to help you combat these feelings?
As a child I would often get physically sick before an exciting event or trip or before trying something new or doing something I didn't want to do. The anxiety would overwhelm me for days ahead of the activity. I wasn't really given any tools to help me deal with the nervous stomach, the overwhelming emotions or the over-thinking brain. But as I got older I started to understand my anxieties a little better, and started to work through some of the triggers, learn tools to help me cope and give myself understanding of what I need each time I feel anxious.
As part of the Emotional Animal Alphabet series I created Anxious Alligator and Nervous Newt. Both books are meant to help children understand their feelings when approaching something new, different or scary.
I had a parent approach me at a book signing event. She said she had bought the books for her son who was feeling very nervous about starting Grade 1. She said he really connected to the books and even tucked them under his pillow at night as a comfort tool.
I can't ask for a better review than that!
These books can help children recognize their feelings, understand they are not alone in feeling that way and help them start talking about how they feel. All these things are great tools for dealing with the nervousness.
You can get a copy of both Anxious Alligator and/or Nervous Newt from the Quite a Character bookstore.
Tips and Tools to help children deal with anxiety
Christine Ball, Medical Reiki Master, Certified Emotion Code Practitioner and Buteyko Breathing Educator from New Healing Horizons (www.newhealinghorizons.ca) offers these tips.
You want to be there for your kids when they're feeling stressed and anxious, but it might be a bit hard if you are stressed and anxious too.
We've learned a lot more about stress and trauma, and it's really important (especially for children) to soothe our bodies when we've experienced something shocking, upsetting or overwhelming. (Talking with a counsellor, or a mental health professional is always a good thing, and these exercises aren't intended to take the place of medical or mental health attention.)
As an energy healer, and breathing coach, I'm going to show you three fun and easy activities you and the kids can do to interrupt that stress response and feel calmer and more peaceful. Doing these activities together will help the children relax when you become calmer, and you can do them anytime - before school, before bed, after an argument, etc.
When you feel anxious, it's usually our body trying to help us by looking for danger. We're wired for survival and our brain thinks it's helping by looking around wildly for something to be afraid of! You might feel shaky, like you want to cry, your hands might be sweaty or your cheeks feel hot because your body thinks it's getting ready to run away! It's doesn't feel good, does it? These exercises help tell your body and brain that you're safe, and it's okay to calm down. The first activity is called the Butterfly Hug - it's super easy!
- Cross your hands over your chest, and breathe in and out through your nose.
- Raise one hand, and then the other, slowly and gently, like a butterfly raising and lowering it's wings
- Keep breathing gently in and out through your nose, and enjoy the warmth of giving yourself a hug. Continue until you're feeling calmer.
The next activity is breathing through your nose. That's it! When we're stressed, we often change to mouth breathing - mouth breathing mimics "fight or flight" breathing, and nose breathing activates the "rest and digest" part of our nervous system. Make it a game, take a few minutes at bedtime to listen to some soft music, and breathe through the nose...the goal isn't to make kids self-conscious about it, just aware of it. Did you know that breathing through your nose activates the vagus nerve that tells our body it's safe? So simple, yet so powerful!
The last exercise is called the Calming Hug. (This can be done anywhere without attracting attention - great for the office, school room, anywhere!
- Cross your left arm over your middle, and put your hand on your lower ribcage
- Cross your right arm over and grasp your opposite elbow (see the picture)
- Breathe gently through your nose until you're feeling calmer, then switch sides
- Now your right arm across, and put your hand on your ribcage
- Cross your left arm over and grasp your opposite elbow.
- Breathe gently through your nose, and feel yourself becoming more grounded, and relaxed.
I hope these quick and easy activities help you and your children, or grandchildren feel a little happier! If you'd like to check out this link, the Trauma Tapping Song will have you dancing around, and it's an incredibly effective way to shift your mood, and release lots of tension and anxiety! Great for kids of all ages and you can just tap along!
THANK YOU CHRISTINE!
If you have any questions about these activities, or other ways she can help with stress, connect with Christine at New Healing Horizons!
“You don’t have to control your thoughts.
You just have to stop letting them control you."
— Dan Millman.
Dealing with anxiety and fears is an ongoing experience, check out my blog post on Facing Fears to see more tips and tricks for inspiring the courage to move past those fears.