How Mindfulness Can Help Kids Feel Peace During Chaos
Although adults may not always realize it, kids can experience large amounts of stress just like the grown-ups in their lives. School responsibilities, drama with friends, and even family dynamics can all play a part in childhood stress and anxiety. When kids experience these emotions they may not have the words to express them or the tools to help manage them, but mindfulness practices can be a helpful method to address these concerns.
The Benefits of Mindfulness
Mindfulness helps kids learn how to pause in all types of situations and respond in a thoughtful way rather than just reacting. This skill is especially helpful when they are faced with challenges. Mindfulness often combines breathing exercises, visualization, body awareness, and relaxation.
Mindful meditation can also increase emotional awareness. It encourages kids to experience emotions as they come up during a practice and can help them identify those emotions. For example, if a child is feeling anxious they may notice a tightness in their chest or the inability to stay still. Relaxations breathing techniques use deep breathing to signal to the body that it is in a safe space and that it can relax. It increases the supply of oxygen to their brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness.
Mindfulness can also increase a child’s ability to self regulate their thoughts and actions. Children’s brains are still developing and they are known to be reactive rather than responsive. Mindfulness can help kids learn to observe their thoughts and feelings, and through this, begin to choose their behaviors. Kids learn to observe their thoughts as they arise. If they are feeling overwhelmed, their first instinct may be to act out. Through practicing mindfulness they can learn to identify those feelings of being overwhelmed, but then take a step back and choose a different response.
Anxious children are often overly concerned with disasters they think may happen in the future or fear dangers that don’t exist in reality. Mindfulness gently brings the anxious child back into reality to see no danger is present. Mindfulness switches an anxious child’s perceptions from their swirling thoughts to the sensory perceptions of what’s actually happening around them. When a kid is experiencing anxiety, they can feel more grounded through mindfulness practices such as noticing five things around them or taking ten deep breaths.
Equinox RTC Can Help
We strive to support the creation of self-sustaining, lifelong change at Equinox through our remarkable people and programming. When change is generated through a relationship-based and principle-centered focus, in which a teenager has the choice to comply, lifelong, sustainable change is achievable.
The Equinox Difference focuses on respected, evidence-based approaches to the recovery from trauma, loss, depression, anxiety, relationship deterioration, and impulsive and addictive behaviors. Our holistic approach–which treats the mind, body, and soul–is just one aspect that sets us apart from other treatment programs for troubled teens. For more information please call (877) 279-8925.