Feeling overstimulated and overstressed? Does your heart sometimes beat rapidly and you find you’re having more headaches and stomach aches? Believe it or not, these symptoms do not solely belong to adults. Experts are finding more and more anxiety related conditions occurring in children. Our children are often bombarded with visual images and messages, more so than in previous generations. Technology has been able to bring us a long way, but it hasn’t come without a price. And one of these consequences falls upon the youth of today. Children are often unable to connect their symptoms as being related to anxiety. Yet another reason that introducing mindfulness techniques into their lives can help to navigate these often tumultuous seas.
One of these very effective mindfulness approaches is often referred to as guided imagery. Here, visualization and imagination are combined in a meditative process which brings heightened awareness to the mind-body connection. As children are naturally imaginative, these can often consist of fun and engaging activities which allow them to access their intuition and personal powers of healing. Even recent studies are showing that these types of activities are having very positive effects on a number of stress related health problems, such as chronic stomach issues. It has also proven beneficial for test anxiety, learning disabilities, depression and more.
Guided imagery begins with a mood. It should be conducted in a quiet environment, free of distractions and loud noises. Playing soft music can often enhance this mood. Next, an adult softly reads aloud using a script. This script verbally nudges the child into visualizing themselves in a congenial setting, such as a beach or a lake. Depending upon the specific issue at hand, the script will help the child visualize how to give over their fears to a neutral, non-threatening entity. Another tactic is to envision oneself being successful, either in school or home life. For more detailed examples of some guided imagery scripts, check out the following link.
As you introduce guided imagery to your child, you are helping to create within them the ability to define safe places which they may visit anytime the need arises. It is also important to encourage your child and provide them with multiple opportunities to process and reflect upon what they discover about themselves during these ‘tours’ of the imagination. You can either discuss what they’re learning with them, have them write it down in a journal or even draw pictures about their guided imagery journeys.
Such approaches have formerly been utilized but were generally considered as an alternative to modern medicine. However, as we continue to search for new ways to teach our children how to cope with an often overstimulating and overwhelming world, such mindfulness and visualization techniques are becoming more and more utilized and accepted. As Dr. Seuss once wrote, “sometimes the questions are complicated, but the answers are simple.”
Don’t forget to click below to get the 5 Important Mindfulness Tips for Kids.