'Will mindfulness help my child’s anxiety?'
The short answer to this is ‘Yes it will help!’
When we focus on our breathing, our body, the ground beneath our feet or an object in our hand it has a calming effect on the fight or flight centre in our brain.
Some people call it grounding, others centring or awareness.
A calmer brain means calmer thinking. We get to make a choice about how we react.
We can notice our reactions and the way stress/anxiety feels in our body.
That helps us to make more sense of what’s going on. Is it really a threat. Are we really in danger?
BUT….. 1. Mindfulness needs to be practiced regularly and when your child is in a relaxed frame of mind.
2. Children are more likely to adopt the practice if they see their parents and especially their peers doing the same. (That’s why mindfulness, Emotional Freedom Technique or yoga in schools is so effective, everyone has to do it and it becomes a normal thing to do when you feel overwhelmed)
3. It’s ok if your child forgets to use the techniques they have learned. When they have calmed down try a relaxed conversation about how they think they might have coped better/what will they do next time?
4. Make it seem normal. As I said above if it seems normal children are more likely to do it.
5. Talk about how it helps you without making it seem like you’re pushing them to try.
6. Stand back and let them give it a go. Leave the room if it’s safe to do so. Show them they are responsible for managing their feelings, not you.