How Applied Relaxation Can Help Anxious Children
Parenting and teaching in today’s world can feel like navigating a constant whirlwind. Amidst packed schedules and academic pressures, children are increasingly battling anxiety, often leaving both parents and educators feeling helpless. But what if there was a simple, evidence-based tool that could empower both children and adults to combat the storm of anxieties? Enter applied relaxation, a powerful technique gaining traction for its effectiveness in reducing anxiety in children.
Understanding the Anxious Mind:
Imagine a child’s brain like a busy city centre during rush hour. Thoughts zoom like speeding cars, worries pile up like towering buildings, and emotions flood like overflowing streets. Anxiety thrives in this chaos. Applied relaxation acts like a traffic controller, slowing down the mental traffic and creating a calmer, more manageable environment.
What is Applied Relaxation?
It’s more than just deep breathing. Applied relaxation combines three key elements:
Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Imagine tensing and releasing different muscle groups, one by one, starting with your toes and working your way up. This brings awareness to physical tension and allows for its release, paving the way for mental calm.
Deep Breathing: Slow, rhythmic breaths act as a soothing balm for the nervous system, slowing the heart rate and promoting a sense of inner peace.
Mental Imagery: Picture a tranquil beach, a cosy reading nook, or any safe haven that sparks joy and relaxation. Engaging the senses in visualization creates a mental escape from anxious thoughts.
The efficacy of applied relaxation isn’t just anecdotal. Numerous NHS studies back its effectiveness:
- Reduced Anxiety and Stress: A University of Oxford study found that applied relaxation significantly reduced anxiety symptoms in children with generalized anxiety disorder, comparable to cognitive-behavioural therapy.
- Improved Sleep: Research published in the British Journal of Clinical Psychology demonstrated that applied relaxation techniques effectively improved sleep quality and duration in adolescents struggling with insomnia.
- Enhanced Emotional Regulation: A University of Cambridge study revealed that applied relaxation training helped children with emotional dysregulation improve their ability to manage their emotions effectively.
Empowering Parents and Educators
Both parents and educators play crucial roles in helping children navigate anxiety. By understanding applied relaxation, you can equip yourselves with a valuable tool to support them