anxiety: 4 Articles

Mindful Bea and the Worry Tree

Bea breathes in, slow slow slow slow, filled with breath, she lets it go go go go... When you're anxious, do you feel hot or cold? Does your heart race or your stomach feel queasy? Bea feels this way sometimes, but knows that breathing slowly and deeply, and choosing what to think about can help her feel better. Hear author, Gail Silver, read Mindful Bea and the Worry Tree aloud! To read an excerpt from the Note to Parents and Caregivers by Dr. Ara J. Schmitt about mindful breathing, click here.

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Mindful Bea and the Worry Tree 2020-05-12T11:32:24-04:00

Fostering Resilience in the Time of COVID-19: Tips for Helping Your Child

Resilience—the ability to bounce back from a difficult situation—this isn’t just something people are born with. Dr. Wendy Moss, author of Magination Press book, Bounce Back: How to Be a Resilient Kid, provides kids with exercises and strategies to build resilience. During this especially challenging time, the chapters about handling decisions, disappointments, and new challenges and about coping with unchangeable situations can be useful.  In this blog post, Dr. Moss offers insights and tips to help your child cope with the stress and life changes created by the COVID-19 pandemic.  A few months ago, most of us could not have anticipated the changes in lifestyle and the way COVID-19 could infiltrate our communities and cause fear, illness, and even death. So, how can we support children as they try to cope with staying home, not being in school or in extracurricular activities, not being able to follow their favorite sports teams, not seeing friends, and possibly knowing that all these changes are due to the presence of a dangerous virus?  This blog provides strategies to help children deal with the general stresses created by the pandemic, not specific situations such as someone they know being ill with or having died from the virus.  Focus On Yourself Children often judge whether a situation is scary, out-of-control, or manageable by watching and listening to trusted adults. As you read some of the tips to help your children, try them on yourself first so you can convey that you are able to cope with this situation that is out of your control. Support Your Child Casually talk with your children about their understanding of, and feelings about, what is happening in their world. Talk to each child individually since the conversation may end up being different depending upon their age and personality. They may have inaccurate information that makes it even more scary.   Let your children know what you and your family can do and are in control of (e.g., staying home; proper hygiene) and that grown-ups have a plan to deal with the virus, even though it will take time. Just make sure that you believe what you say before reassuring your child! Ask how your children feel about the changes in their daily activities. Some children may not be anxious because they like the extra time at home. However, some children are overwhelmed by the change in their regular routine and their fears of illness. Just being able to share these feelings can be a relief for many children. This time at home can be an opportunity. Ask your kids to share their ‘wish list’ of family activities. You can also add some. Having everyone at home can be a great time to play games, teach each other about interests, tell stories about ancestors, or make up silly stories.   Since we must physically distance ourselves from each other, this is a great time to look for creative ways to connect or reconnect with friends or family. Encourage your child to

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Fostering Resilience in the Time of COVID-19: Tips for Helping Your Child 2020-04-29T20:45:00-04:00

Loving-kindness Meditation: Five Pointers to Help Kids Get Started

Thinking good thoughts about themselves and others can help kids be happier and healthier. Loving-kindness meditation toward themselves and others can comfort and strengthen young hearts. Loving-kindness is a kind of heart meditation that consists of sending of sending love, kindness, and compassion by directing positive thoughts, good intentions, or well wishes toward ourselves and others. When people practice loving-kindness meditation on a regular basis, they feel a sense of goodness about themselves and others. It produces a reaction in the brain similar to when one engages in acts of kindness, producing positive feelings which can lead to positive behaviors. Practicing loving-kindness meditation has been shown to: Decrease stress and anxiety Increase feelings of hope Reduce feelings of anger  Increase empathy Increase feelings of self-esteem and decrease self-criticism In Magination Press book, Bee Heartful: Spread Loving-Kindness by Frank J. Sileo, PhD, Bentley Bee sends loving-kindness thoughts to himself and others, and can feel his heart growing. This excerpt from the “Note to Adult Beekeepers” describes how to practice loving-kindness meditation with children. Loving-kindness meditation is great for kids because it is more concrete and structured than other forms of meditation. The child recites specific phases and brings up images in their minds of the people they are sending loving-kindness to.  It’s important that children understand that when they send loving-kindness thoughts to others, it may not change the other person or how that person feels about them. Loving-kindness does not work like magic or serve as some type of spell on another person. The meditation is more focused on the meditator developing loving-kindness toward others. Getting Started Mediation is a quiet activity, so you want to choose a place for your child that is free from distractions. It can be a room in your home, someplace outside like a garden or patio, or any place without interruptions.  They can sit on the floor, a mat, a pillow or in a chair, or lie down. They can close their eyes or cast their eyes downward and a few feet in front of them. This will help avoid any visual distractions. Your child can place one or both hands on their heart and take three deep breaths. Ask your child to repeat these phrases silently in their head a few times. May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be safe. May I be peaceful. After your child sends loving-kindness intentions toward themselves, they can use the same intention toward other people. Keep it short at first Sitting still and focusing can be challenging for children and adults alike. Keeping meditation short in the beginning can be helpful in maintaining young children’s interest, attention, and focus. For young children, 3-5 minutes is a good starting point. You can gradually increase the time as children mature and their practice grows. Mix up the loving-kindness intentions Your child can vary the practice of loving-kindness meditation by varying who they pick to send intentions to. A common approach is to send loving-kindness

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Loving-kindness Meditation: Five Pointers to Help Kids Get Started 2019-12-16T14:27:42-05:00