I think happy thoughts


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Breathe

Breathe- this seems like a simple thing to do. We all breathe or we would die. However, we don’t all take time to stop and focus on our breath. What does that mean? Taking the time to really breathe and let yourself just “be” is one of the best ways to ground yourself.

At times when your mind starts to fill with thoughts and plans and things that need to be done, taking a step back and just focusing on your breathing can help you gain control. You can try it at any time. Challenge yourself to spend a whole minute on breathing. Set a timer so you don’t have to worry about keeping the time. The first time you try it is hard but it does get easier.

Trying to find a few minutes each day to just sit and “be” is not always easy. “Being” and not doing is hard for people who are so used to multitasking and running from task to task never taking a break. Minds often start to wonder and think about other things. That’s not a bad thing but try clearing your mind and just focusing on the breathing.

A person who has practiced breathing can use it in many situations. Grounding yourself in the present can be helpful for reducing stress and increasing your ability to concentrate on one task. Often, focusing on so many different things at once means that none of those things gets our best work.

Breathing can also be the one thing that saves a person from losing their temper. When a discussion becomes emotionally charged, responses seem automatic and are often not ones we like. When a person is able to take a breath and think before letting an automatic response take over, then that person has more control. The response can be more rational and planned instead of automatic. Then the situation can be diffused or dealt with in a way that doesn’t lead to regrets.

One of my favorite benefits of breathing is that you get time to be with yourself. You can appreciate just being you. You can clear your mind of all other thoughts and just relax. Even a few minutes each day is restorative and can help you feel more ready to deal with whatever else you have to handle during that day.

What is the best way to calm anxiety in children?

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Calming anxiety is not always easy but the first place to start is yourself. Children often pick up on the anxieties of the adults around them.  Children feel uneasy and anxious if the adults around them are anxious, upset, or angry. They often don’t understand what your anxieties are about and generalize it to themselves. This is especially true for very young children who often don’t see themselves as separate from their parents. Any feelings and emotions you display they start to take on as their own.

One way to start curbing this anxiety is to limit your child’s exposure to adult conversations and outside media like the news. Limiting their exposure can drastically cut back on the things that they worry about. It doesn’t happen over night but over time they become less involved in the adult world and start to worry less about those things that were drifting into their consciousness at too early an age.

For children who are by nature worriers, anxiety sneaks up quickly. Acknowledging their worries is important but don’t let them or yourself dwell on it. Address the worry and move on. Don’t let the child get stuck ruminating on the same topic over and over.  If you know that certain things usually cause anxiety for your child, you can also bring up ideas for how to deal with it ahead of time.  Then later that day when you encounter the situation, you can quickly remind your child of how to cope and move them along.

One last thing to keep in mind: always model for your child how you want them to behave. If you see a big bug and start to scream and yell about it, guess what your child will probably develop a fear of bugs. “Teach by example.”  By tackling your own fears you are helping yourself and your child!