If your child is dealing with anxiety, it's important to remember that you're not alone in this journey. Many children experience anxiety, and thankfully, there are several techniques we can implement to help them cope with their feelings. One effective method is practicing mindfulness. This article is going to explore six effective mindfulness exercises to help calm your anxious child.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Practicing mindfulness can help children manage their anxiety by grounding them in the present and helping them gain a better understanding of their emotions.
Why Mindfulness Works for Anxiety
Anxiety tends to thrive on uncertainty and fear of the future. Mindfulness, on the other hand, encourages us to ground ourselves in the present. This can help mitigate feelings of anxiety by drawing our attention away from the uncertainties of the future and focusing it on the here and now.
Practicing mindfulness also encourages acceptance. It allows children to recognize and accept their feelings of anxiety, which can be a crucial first step in managing these feelings effectively.
6 Mindfulness Exercises to Help Your Anxious Child
Here are six simple and effective mindfulness exercises you can try with your child:
Belly Breathing: Ask your child to sit comfortably and close their eyes. Have them place a hand on their belly and take slow, deep breaths, noticing the rise and fall of their belly with each inhale and exhale. This can help slow down their heart rate and calm their mind.
Mindful Eating: During meal times, encourage your child to truly pay attention to their food. Ask them to notice the smell, taste, and texture of each bite. This can help bring them into the present moment and distract them from anxious thoughts.
Body Scan: Have your child lie down and close their eyes. Guide them through noticing each part of their body, from their toes to their head, and any sensations they may be experiencing. This can help create a sense of calm and awareness of their body.
Mindful Walks: Take a walk outside with your child. Encourage them to notice the sights, sounds, and smells around them. Not only does this promote mindfulness, but it also offers the added benefit of physical exercise, which can help reduce anxiety.
Mindful Listening: Play a variety of sounds and ask your child to listen carefully to each one. This could include the sound of a bell, the rustle of leaves, or the hum of a refrigerator. This helps focus their attention on the present moment.
Gratitude Journal: Encourage your child to keep a gratitude journal where they can write down something they are grateful for each day. This can help shift their focus from their worries to positive thoughts.
Remember, practicing mindfulness is a journey, not a destination. Don't expect immediate results, and instead, appreciate the incremental improvements over time. With patience and consistency, mindfulness can help your child navigate their way through anxiety and cultivate a more peaceful mindset.