Ways To Deal With Anxiety

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ways to deal with anxietyMany children will experience some form of anxiety during their childhood. Some anxieties can be a part of larger problems and disorders, like OCD, and might require professional consideration.  Many anxieties, however, are as simple as the clichéd fear of the dark or of monsters under the bed. Others are more intense, like fears and phobias of animals or heights. Your child may just be going through an anxious phase that is natural for their age or they have a manageable anxiety that’s just persisted for a long time. Many of these anxieties can easily be confronted and managed, especially if you follow these helpful steps from Kids Health, Psychology Today, and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

As always, breathing helps. When your kids become anxious, remind them to breathe consciously, using their diaphragms to take deep breaths. Taking control of one’s breathing is the first step in taking control of the situation. Deep diaphragmatic breaths will calm your kids down, especially when you encourage them to breathe as a form of meditation. When they get anxious have them close their eyes and focus on breathing in and out slowly with the diaphragm. Slow deep breathes are an integral part of meditation and relaxation activities that will help you children deal with anxiety.

You can’t teach them to breathe right or have them listen to your advice unless you can communicate openly with them about their anxieties. Communication is key. Talk to your children; find out what they are anxious about and what they are afraid of. Make sure your children know they can be honest and upfront with you. Don’t brush away or belittle their anxieties. Even if it’s a seemingly small or imaginary fear, the anxious physical reaction is real and doesn’t just go away when you tell them not to worry about it. The first step in helping them deal with their anxiety is approaching it seriously. If you make it hard for them to talk about their anxiety it will become hard for the both of you to deal with their anxiety.

Take their anxieties seriously but don’t start dramatically avoiding the causes. Having your child run away from their anxiety makes the problem bigger. If you’re now avoiding what scares them or telling them to avoid it, then it must really be something to be afraid of. And don’t just throw your child into the pool if they have a fear of swimming. Ease them into facing their fears, be there for them as a safe place, as a protector, and encourage them to face their anxieties moments at a time until they become more confident and comfortable. If you are calm during anxious moments then they will look to you and learn to be calm as well.

Beyond confronting their anxieties, there are things you can do every day that will help your child become less anxious. Be positive. Teach your children that’s it’s not about being perfect or being right all the time: it’s about working hard and doing their best. Don’t belittle their accomplishments or focus on what they get wrong and never punish mistakes or lack of progress. Praise their successes and attempts, especially when they’re dealing with what makes them anxious. Commend them for their bravery and for when they step out of their comfort zones. Being negative and focusing on their mistakes will only build up existing anxieties and ruin their self-confidence. Reinforcing their confidence and problem solving skills will improve their own abilities to manage anxiety.

Much like dealing with stress, finding time and ways to relax is very important when dealing with anxiety. Give your kids time to be silly, time to let loose and just play without any competition or expectations. Encourage them to take the time to relax and meditate. Help them establish anxiety coping mechanisms: while they focus on their diaphragmatic breathing, have them imagine a safe place where they are calm and encourage them to go to that place. You can’t always be around to help them when they face anxiety, so encourage them to use calming methods like this one for when you are not there.

Anxieties are real and serious issues that you and your child can face together. However, anxieties are not as easily defeated as stress. Many fears and phobias have a way of persisting despite your best efforts. But you have to keep at it, you have to remain positive and supportive and you have to know when to seek professional help if the anxiety is debilitating. Always remember to breathe right and to remind your children to breathe right. Deep diaphragmatic breathes are healthy, calming, and important tools to use when dealing with anxieties big and small. Learn how The Dolly Lammy can help you and your family.

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