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The anxiety epidemic

Anxiety can be a pretty normal experience and reaction to stress and tension or a perceived threat , a danger. However if it starts inhibiting actions or stops us from moving or meeting people , stepping out , participating in normal age appropriate activities, makes you question your relationships and impairs normal life then it needs to be attended to soon. Some of the symptoms that you as a parent or a care giver can watch out for are:- ⁃ being clingy especially in smaller children ⁃ Crying or wanting to miss school ⁃ Fear ⁃ Nervousness ⁃ Nausea ⁃ Stomach pain or discomfort ⁃ Sweaty Palms ⁃ Edgy and restless ⁃ Choking ⁃ Teary eyed but not necessarily crying ⁃ Shaky voice ⁃ Wanting to stay quiet ⁃ Staying aloof and indoors ⁃ Avoiding people in general ⁃ Losing interest ( often temporary ) in things or activities they loved ⁃ Erratic sleep patterns ⁃ A pattern of worry One of the major things to notice and keep a check on is the intake of WATER and ADEQUATE SLEEP in kids and teens and lack of nutrition and DEHYDRATION are known to cause anxious thinking patterns !!

It is also very effective when as a parent you understand your child’s predicament and not brush it aside and become dismissive !!! Having a mature talk while intently LISTENING to your child is a very good start .. acknowledging your child’s situation and mind space really helps so please try not to be judgemental and dismissive and instead have a chat and ask them “ HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT THEM”. Often anxiety is learnt behaviour though not always and thus introspecting and changing your way of being can be a big help .. Creating and providing them a safe space to talk and express is what a parent can start with ...create that and your child will be willing to talk !! Do question your self as a parent about your readiness to talk to your child... and comfort them by telling them that you as a parent are there always and will listen to their concerns without rubbishing them or make them small or insignificant. Your strength and ability to process his or her breakdowns with you yourself breaking down goes a long way as your calm gives him the required dose of strength at that time. Often in my clinical experience I have noticed parents getting angry out of fear of not knowing how to handle the child’s state and that snowballs the whole experience so keeping a check on your ability to react calmly to your child’s state is often a great start ..

Techniques that can help :- ————————————- ⁃ progressive muscle relaxation ( tensing the muscles of the hands for a few seconds and releasing them and then moving to the arms and so on and so forth ... ) ⁃ 444 breathing .. lie down in a safe place and start by placing your left hand in the upper chest area and the right on the naval and breathing in slowly and deeply to the count of four , holding your breath to the count of four and then slowly releasing it to another count of four... and your hand on the naval always slowly and gently rises and falls as u breathe ... do this for about eight to ten times daily till it becomes innate ⁃ For children this can be done with a stuffed toy in d right hand ... rest is the same ⁃ Making your stress busters with large sized balloons and stuffing them either with sand or mustard seeds and tie them up and sue them as and when required ⁃ Drink plenty of water ⁃ Create your own worry jars and write down your worries fears and put them in the worry jar ⁃ Talk with someone you trust ⁃ Use your hands and fingers and some paints to express non verbally what ever comes to your mind ⁃ Help little children and teens identify three or four people as their support system whom they can go to ans talk when anxiety comes knocking ..

We are all living in challenging times with so much activity around that it can get difficult to stay centered and stress free!! There is a steep rise in anxiety among youth particularly due to changing times and bigger external and internal expectations and aspirations!! The societal changes and cultural shifts are confusing and demanding both and for the teens to strike a balance is a hard task combined with over exposure to media and the internet. Labelling the children as , for example - brilliant , hardworking , sincere, lazy , slow, aggressive , demanding , honest , and a lot more names... is permanent in nature and can subconsciously cause a lot of anxiety and stress.. we start to live that label which is a huge burden to carry.

“Imagine u have a control button or a stop button and thoughts that become problematic and repetitive, bothersome and worrying just freeze them, put a frame around them and replace the frame with a more acceptable and happier thought and when u do this a few times you will get the hang of it , the deal is keep practising....”

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