It’s a sad fact that today’s youth are plagued with pressure- high expectations to attain academic success, to excel in sports, hobbies and leadership positions and with the onslaught of social media minute by minute comparisons among peers exacerbates the problem. Isn’t childhood supposed to be the time in our life where we are carefree and adventurous? As a parent it can be a tough time supporting a child who isn’t coping well, instead of simply labelling it as a maladaptive behavior, anxiety or character traits, let’s do what we can to identify the problem and nurture our child in a holistic way so that they feel supported as they learn how to traverse the information overload of the digital age.
Stress is epigenetic, it gets passed down as a behavior, then a habit than the normalization of being on high alert. Where do they pick this up from? They model what they see, at home and at school, it’s completely acceptable that adults are stressed on a daily basis, that they deal with pressure and put things like quiet time, personal time, time for fun as the lowest priority. Are your kids mirroring how they treat themselves based on how you treat yourself? It’s time for everyone to stop, simplify, breathe and realign to what really matters. Often we take our health for granted when we have it and the moment something goes array it’s the more pressing matter in our life. Let’s appreciate what we have and support a sustainable and healthy lifestyle for our children.
When we sustain high-stress levels we are constantly operating out of a place of insecurity, we cannot think rationally if we are scared. Neural pathways are directed to the amygdala (fear center) and away from the hippocampus (logic center). You will notice short attention spans and poor concentration because neurologically the brain is trained to make impulse decisions when there is a fearful threat, there is no time for calculated decisions.
- Emotional regulation
Cortisol is released in the bloodstream in response to stress, this causes hypertension, the heart to beat faster and priming the body for an attack or an escape (fight or flight response). The neurotransmitters that are responsible for us feeling happy, serotonin and dopamine, are produced in smaller quantities explaining why we feel blue and snappy in stressful situations
- Irregular appetite
An imbalance of hormones due to a suppressed relaxation response means that our energy levels are running low, this causes us to eat more and yet feel less satisfied. Leptin and Ghrelin go out of whack when we are stressed, these hormones regulate our pangs of hunger and our level of satiety, meaning we full hungry more often and it takes us longer to feel full.
Children don’t have as many filters as adults, the changes in their biochemistry can affect them tremendously, in a time they should be happy and enjoy learning their physiological responses to chronic stress means it seriously affected their growth and development. Yoga is a great tool for stress management, it allows us to release pent up energy so it doesn’t cause emotional breakdowns and enhances our awareness to feel balanced, when our center is shaken we can quickly realize we are experiencing stress and practice postures, breathing techniques and meditation to bring us back to our calm inner center, without realizing our disposition the stress trigger can quickly spiral and affect our mood and relationships. Our personalized kids yoga programs are designed to cater to the exact needs of your child, we keep them in their comfort zone since all classes are held at home, no more fuss about shuttling them to and from activities, what’s more, is that is a personal setting either a one on one class or a small group of up to 4 friends can have the class together where it’s their time to come together to relax, have fun and recharge. We have also seen tremendous benefit from family yoga classes, kids and parents practice together, model healthy habits and create a sanctuary of peace within their own homes. It creates a virtuous cycle of valuing your health and creating a loving unit that supports each other’s needs on a mental and physical level.