I woke up this morning in one of my favorite places in the whole world – Maui. In fact, as we speak, I can see giant sea turtles popping up and down in the surf just feet away from the deck where I’m sitting. (I know, it’s pretty pathetic to be working on my computer in a place like Maui, but I’m an early riser, so I get to talk to you before the rest of the family is up and about).
This spot on the deck, where I can hear and see the waves rolling in and out is the epitome of calm for me. Whenever I feel stressed or anxious, I can take some deep breaths and mentally “see” and “hear” this spot in Maui, and feel the calm roll over me.
Do you have a place or a memory like that? Does your child?
As you head back into the reality of school and homework, you or your child may be starting to feel anxious about what this new school year will bring. How many hours of homework will there be every night? How many tears? How many battles?
There is a simple, healthy, and well-researched technique that can help counteract, and in fact, reverse the impact that anxiety and stress has on our immune system. It restores emotional balance and clear, efficient thinking, and it is as effective for children as it is for adults.
Heart Breathing Strategy
Breathe in and out slowly, imagining the breath flowing around the area of your heart.
- Repeat 3 times.
- Continue the heart breathing and “think a happy thought.” Guide the student in remembering a time when she felt deeply appreciated or have her imagine a place or event that makes her feel really calm and good. (For me, that’s this spot in Maui).
Heart breathing is an excellent technique for reducing anxiety and controlling stress. It provides a strategy for consciously slowing down one’s heart waves or heart rhythm, which also slows down brain waves to produce a calmer, clearer state for thinking, learning, emotional balance, and decision making.
The Heartmath organization has developed a product that can be loaded onto an iPhone or iPod Touch called the Em-wave. We use it with Heart Breathing to help students actually see their progress in slowing down their heart rhythms and gaining a sense of calm and focus.
Learning to self-monitor and control stress reactions supports
clearer thinking for learning, relationships, and problem solving.
I hope this new school year is full of joy and successes for you and your family!
If your child has traditionally struggled in school, it does not have to continue this way. Join us for a Parent Information Meeting to find out what you can do to make real and permanent changes in your child’s learning and school career. Click here for details and RSVP: http://learningdisability.com/parent-info-night/.