Beating Back to School Stress and Anxiety

By - karengray
08.05.21 02:15 PM

Kids (and parents) have experienced a lot of change, uncertainty, and stress during the last year and a half. Many have felt some relief during the summer months as guidelines were relaxed and life began to get back to something more familiar. Now that it’s time to think about returning to school, you may be noticing an increase in stress and anxiety.


The start of the new school year is exciting for most kids. But it can also prompt a spike in anxiety. Even kids who are usually pretty easy-going get butterflies, and kids who may have had difficulty in school in the past, or who may already be prone to anxiety may have more symptoms than usual. 


Regardless of age or school type, as parents, we can equip our kids with proper coping skills and supports. It’s important to keep in mind that kids are resilient. For the most part, at least anecdotally, many adjust easily and are glad to be back.


If you or your child are experiencing an increase in stress and anxiety as we get closer to the start of school, there are ways that you can lower stress and anxiety so that returning to school can be a more positive experience.


A great tool to start with is abdominal breathing. Getting your body to relax on a daily basis for even brief periods can help decrease your baseline stress level and lower your stress responses. It can also help your body’s natural relaxation system be more effective. You can trigger your body’s relaxation response by stimulating the vagus nerve, and one of the easiest ways to stimulate the vagus nerve is by using abdominal breathing.


Sit up comfortably and push your abdominal muscles out. Did you notice that as you did that you took a breath in? That’s because when you push the abdominal muscles out, your diaphragm drops, allowing your lungs to expand.


Now, push your belly out again, and this time take a nice deep breath, filling your lungs as deep as you can. Now hold it for just a moment, and let it out nice and easy.


Perfect. That is an abdominal breath, and it will trigger a parasympathetic - a relaxing response in your mind and body.


To get the most out of this technique, you can use that abdominal breath in a pattern called square breathing. Square breathing does two things. It uses a deep abdominal breath, triggering the vagus nerve that turns down stress, and it shifts your focus from whatever you’re thinking or worried about to pay attention to your breathing.


Take a nice, deep, abdominal breath as you count to four. Hold that breath as you count to four. Exhale as you count to four. And hold that empty space before the next inhale as you count to four again. It doesn't matter how slowly you count. Focus instead on the quality of the abdominal breath and the steady rhythm of your counting.


Good! You’ll do that four times to complete the set.


As you're doing this, you’re already beginning to notice that your body is beginning to relax, you can let go of the tension in your shoulders and muscles, and your mind begins to clear. 


Practice this at least four times a day, throughout the day. You can use this method when you’re feeling good, when you’re feeling stressed, and even as you’re falling asleep. The more often you do it, the better you are training your mind and body to activate your relaxation response, and the better you feel!


Hypnosis for Anxiety Relief

Anxiety is an exaggerated response to stressful triggers, often things that have happened in the past that we don’t want to experience again.Anxiety symptoms can range from mild nervousness to more severe feelings that may prevent someone from doing certain activities or going to certain places. Anxiety can also cause physical symptoms like headaches, nausea, chest pain, and body aches.


Hypnosis works to resolve symptoms of anxiety by lowering overall stress levels and changing the way we respond to stressful or anxiety producing situations. These changes are made through a variety of techniques that can include language strategies, reframing, and subconscious suggestions that allow you to resolve the underlying causes of anxiety and stress quickly and easily.


Over the years I’ve worked with many kids who were having trouble at school because of bullies, academic pressure, social anxiety, or some other reason to decrease their stress and eliminate their anxiety. If you’d like to know more about hypnosis for anxiety, I look forward to hearing from you!🍥