Breathing Decreases Anxiety

Children can be introduced to breathing for relaxation at a very young age. Children can use breathing to improve concentration, promote well-being, and decrease stress, anxiety, and anger. This is an easy way to actively involve and empower children in creating their own stress free lives. Parents and children will benefit from the added calmness.

All children today are exposed to  large doses of stress. Anxiety in children is one of the leading health care issues we face. Anxious children are extra sensitive to life’s stressors. Some may seek a lot of reassurance, and their worries may interfere with activities, everyday life, and sleep.  The more you practice this technique with your child, the more confident they will become in using this technique  when challenging situations arise. It is best to introduce breathing for relaxation during calm peaceful moments.

Proper breathing is very important for creating relaxation. Diaphragmatic Breathing is one technique that is effective in creating relaxation and clear thinking. This technique is effective for all kids but extremely beneficial for those with anxiety disorders because it can help children avoid panic attacks, meltdowns, and other symptoms of anxiety.

Wikipedia defines the following: Diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing, deep breathing or costal breathing is the act of breathing deep into one’s lungs by flexing one’s diaphragm rather than breathing shallowly by flexing one’s rib cage. This deep breathing is marked by expansion of the stomach (abdomen) rather than the chest when breathing. It is generally considered a healthier and fuller way to ingest oxygen, and is often used as a therapy for hyperventilation and anxiety disorders.

Children can be taught to relax quickly when faced with stressful situations.

Below is an exercise that you can do with your child: At first its best to have your child lying down to learn the proper way to breath. Then you can expand this exercise having your child sitting upright in a chair or couch.

  • Have your child lay on their back and put their hand on their belly.
  • Take a slow deep breath in through their nose and let it out through their mouth with a gentle ah-h-h-h-h-h-h sound. (They should feel their belly rise and fall).
  • Breathe in slowly through their nose and out through their mouth like they are trying to move a feather up in the air.
  • Breathe in slowly to the count 2, 3, 4 and out 2, 3, 4.
  • In 2, 3, 4 and out 2, 3, 4.

Do this several times and then ask your child how the exercise makes them feel. Practice this over and over again and use this technique in everyday situations so they are ready to use this when they begin to feel anxious. Talk about when they can use this technique and how to practice it at school, playing sports, going to sleep or in the car. The more situations you can practice Diaphragmatic Breathing the more confident they will become in the technique.


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A Relaxation Story, introducing deep breathing to decrease anxiety, stress and anger while promoting peaceful sleep

Children will love to experience belly breathing with playful sea otters and a sea child. This effective, self-calming technique also known as “diaphragmatic breathing” can have a positive impact on your child’s health. Proper breathing can lower stress and anxiety levels. It can be used to decrease pain and anger. Delightful characters and easy breathing encourage your child to slow down, relax, and fall asleep peacefully. This is one of four stories featured on the Indigo Ocean Dreams CD.

Sea Otter Cove and A Boy and a Bear are both available as eBooks on our website and many partners.  Teaching your children to relax by introducing proper breathing is now easier than ever.

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