Alison suffers from Migraines and has headaches that are very painful and hot. She describes them as pressure and pounding on her head. Her headaches went away after she learned to visualize a loving white light to cool down her head while learning to relax her body. Then, there’s Josh who suffered from test anxiety at age 16. But through his imagery of staying calm and focused on exams, he scored higher on his tests. These are just a few of my young clients who are using the power of their imagination to feel better and thrive.
Children continue to feel stress at home and at school. Our kids deserve to be equipped with tools to help them better cope. As for parents and teachers, raising happy, healthy, well-adjusted children often feels overwhelming. Parents and educators deserve to know and practice mind-body tools, as well.
Through learning Guided Imagery and visualization, kids will develop emotional self-care to better meet challenges. Research shows children who use Guided Imagery have better focus and attention—even those children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.) They score higher in school and on tests. Imagery also has been shown in studies to help children heal quicker with less pain from surgery and chronic stomach problems.
Parents and children practicing these techniques together bring more powerful results and it can be a great bonding experience. If parents successfully teach their kids effective imagery techniques to solve their problems, their world could be transformed. If teachers could help children access their learning potential, through imagery, education could thrive.
For the next few blogs, I will discuss some techniques that you may try at home or at school with your children to help them with calm.
#1: The Balloon Breath
This is a technique of breathing slowly and deeply into the belly while focusing attention around the navel. We begin filling up deep into our belly. This type of diaphragmatic breathing centers and calms children.
You can breath in slowly…filling up with air…then let it out very slowly… Once more breath in deep, slowly, then let it out. (Do this for at least two minutes.)
One teen, who was frequently upset, was able to calm himself and reduce his stress from an 8 to a 2 by practicing his balloon breath several times a day. He found it made him feel especially peaceful when he focused his attention on his heart. You may feel like you are breathing in and out from your heart. Gratitude is so important to feel when doing this special breathing.
# 2: Relaxing the Body
Progressive relaxation of the body is a gentle way to calm yourself. You begin with a light from above—it can be any color that the children wishes. Then the light pours in from above through the head, face, neck, shoulder, and gradually moving into the legs and arms peacefully, lovingly…with relaxation spreading into each part. Once the children are physically relaxed you can go into a script that will help the child feel loved, be more at peace, change unwanted behaviors and beliefs, and be ready for new discoveries.
In our next segment, we’ll talk about some other ideas for imagery and stories for stress-relief and healing. (Please note that patient names were replaced.)
Vicki Atlas is a Certified Guided Imagery Practitioner and Meditation Coach. Atlas is passionate about bringing more peace and healing to children and adults. Find her at HeartTalkNow.com and CalmingCorner.com for kids. She’s helping children, educators, and parents awaken to their best life. You can email her at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com