By Teacher Lucia, Spanish Teacher
Currently, the accelerated pace of life we lead and the pressures children are exposed to can lead them to suffer from childhood stress, anxiety, or an inability to properly express their feelings and emotions. Self-knowledge and a quality of life are not often given the priority they deserve, and are therefore not taught frequently at home or school.
Pausing, breathing and listening to our body and our emotions has become a luxury and is not something we do daily. That is why today it is more important than ever to learn some relaxation techniques, gaining mindfulness and meditation that will help us in the integral development of the physical and mental health of our children.
1. Learning to breathe consciously
There are many benefits proven by science, so in this article I will focus more on the emotional and psychological benefits of conscious breathing.
First, the technique. Imagine that you have a balloon in your stomach that inflates from the bottom up. Without lifting your shoulders, inflate and deflate this balloon slowly.
You can also try to imitate the sound of the waves in the ocean as they come and go, inhaling slowly and when exhaling, trying to pass the air in a scratchy way through your throat as if you wanted to fog a mirror but with your mouth closed.
Breathing has the power to quickly change the mood, in situations of stress, anxiety, anger and sadness. It is true that proper breathing acts beneficially for your health, but it also helps change your thoughts and will.
The way you breathe and your mental state are closely connected. You just have to think about the regularity of deep breathing during a dream, versus the panting of someone who is very scared or the lack of breath in someone who is traumatized. Breathing is a good way to be aware of the present and of the body itself. The regularity of a slow and deep rhythm of breathing has a calming effect and slows down the thought process, helping us to live fully.
2. Cultivate the garden in your mind with positive thoughts and uplifting words
The thoughts and words we use are the seeds from which we reap our reality. If you don’t believe me, I invite you to watch the documentary “The hidden messages of water from Dr. Masaru Emoto.” In previous years, I have seen this documentary with the children and it helps them reflect about the language they use and teaches them to choose their words and thoughts more carefully. In the classroom, before starting work and after performing the breathing exercises, I invite students to give me three positive thoughts for that day or three things for which they are grateful. I believe this helps to unify and “equalize” the different moods with which students enter school.
3. Empty emotional content before going to sleep
Some children go to bed worried or stressed about academic, social or family issues that they lived during the day. This prevents them from resting fully and generates patterns of repression, anxiety or anger. Taking a moment before bed for self-knowledge. Analyzing positively how the day was and what could be improved, expressing feelings of gratitude, expressing anger, disapproval or frustration, describing how these emotions look and feel — all of this helps us identify our emotions more easily and thus in the future we’ll also be able to handle and express our emotions assertively. There are many stories, games and techniques that allow us to go beyond words; sometimes feelings and emotions are a bit too abstract to be described by children of certain ages or personalities. I recommend you create this habit in your children, so as to take care not only of their physical health but also of their emotional well-being.