Instant Ways to Calm Your Child (or Yourself!)

We have a fairly recent addition to our family, and it’s name is Anxiety. I know for a fact that it is very real, but I’ll be the first to admit I don’t understand it. We’ve been doing some research, and I’m amazed at how many different opinions and suggestions are out there! I would like to highlight an article that was given to my then 11-year-old son by his school counselor. It is called “10 Instant Ways to Calm Yourself Down,” by Therese Borchard. You can access the entire article at http://thereseborchard.com/2015/06/24/10-quick-ways-to-calm-down-2/.

My son and I have practiced all of these suggestions and these are his favorites:

  • Hand Massage. This is awesome because you can do it anytime, anyplace! Just use the thumb of one hand and press around the palm of the other hand. When my son tried to do it on himself, he said it felt kind of weird. But naturally when I did it on him, he loved it! Maybe this is one you could enjoy together as a bonding activity. Adding uplifting or calming essential oils like Wild Orange, Bergamot, Lavender or Wintergreen to the hand massage can help. Just make sure they wash their hands before touching their face!
  • Palm Push. Pushing your palms together “lets your body know where it is in space.” This is like the Tree position in yoga, which reminds me that we can be like a tree that is strong and immovable. We can survive hard things! My son loves this one because he feels like he can get his frustrations out more when he pushes harder against his palms.
  • Mindful Monkey Stretch. This is my son’s favorite! This is very effective at releasing tension we hold in different parts of our body. You’ll need a little bit of room for this one, and it’s fun to do together!
    1. Bring your hands, arms extended, out in front of you. Then bring your arms back down.
    2. Next, bring your arms (still extended) out to your sides, then bring them down.
    3. Last, bring your arms all the way past your head and swoop them down, dangling your head between your knees and let it hang there for a bit. We had fun acting like orangutans and swinging our arms back and forth for a while!
  • Wall Push. Just push against the wall with flat palms and feet planted on the floor for 5-10 seconds. Placing your body weight against a solid, immovable surface and feeling the pull of gravity is stabilizing, even on a subconscious level. My son likes this one for the same reason he likes the Palm Push: he feels like he can let out his frustrations as he pushes harder with his weight against the wall.
  • Shaking. Another fun one to do together! Animals relieve their stress by shaking. Practice shaking your body for as long as you can. A few minutes was enough for us!
  • Bubble Breath. This is the one that helped my son the most. It is very simple and calming. We repeated this several times together, with me counting on my fingers so he could see, until he was more calm.
    1. Breathe in for 5 seconds, out for 5 seconds.
    2. Imagine you have a wand of bubbles. When you breathe out, be careful not to pop the bubbles.
    3. Breathe in through your nose and hold your breath for 5 seconds.
    4. Breathe out a large “bubble” through pursed lips, and blow out for 5 seconds.

I have to say these tips have not been the end-all, fix-it solution for my son’s anxiety, although we do practice them and I believe they help. It is difficult to watch your child suffer. I believe that being proactive and supportive will definitely help them feel like they are not alone in this trial, and that you are there for them to help them. 

If you have found any tips or tricks that have helped your child with anxiety, please leave a comment below. Let’s help each other out with our issues! 🙂

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