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Five mindfulness strategies to help your family cope with anxiety

Posted on Apr 16, 2020

The image shows a girl journaling, which is a way to encourage mindfulness.
Taking a few minutes to write down things you’re grateful for can help you when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

Reading and watching negative events in the news can lead to stress and anxiety for adults and kids alike. Fortunately, by working to become more mindful, you can learn to recognize how you are feeling and approach these situations with a positive outlook. 

These mindfulness strategies for your entire family take only a few minutes to practice and can have a lasting impact on your long-term mood and happiness.

Practice diaphragmatic breathing

When you start to experience an increase in anxiety, or feel like things are out of your control, take a couple minutes to employ this incredible breathing technique. Diaphragmatic breathing can help slow down your heart rate, increase your sense of control and help you become calm.

Try it: Bring one hand to your chest and the other to your belly. Close your eyes and take a long inhale, trying to expand your belly to press into your hand. Fill up deeply, then as slowly as you can release the breath. Try inhaling for three to five seconds and exhaling for the same amount of time. Repeat for one to two minutes.

Take a technology break

Working from home, schooling at home and constant access to social and traditional media can intensify negative emotions and worry. Take five to ten minutes to sit or lay down quietly without any distractions, tuning in to your own thoughts and feelings.

Move your body

While it doesn’t have to be high intensity (but it could be), moving your body will make you feel better. Go through a quick yoga sequence, stretch, or do a brief circuit of push-ups, squats, planks, and lunges.

Get outside

Sunshine, grass, fresh air, no technology. There are a lot of reasons to do it, and science shows that being outside can lift your spirits. You will benefit from some bonus mood-boosting powers if you take your body for a stroll. 

Start a gratitude journal

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the things that are going wrong that you can’t see what is still good in your life. At the end of each day, or when you feel yourself getting stressed out, take two minutes to write down something good that happened and something for which you are grateful. Cultivating gratitude can immediately make you happier.

Mallory Carteaux is an exercise physiologist with Fit4Allkids, a healthy lifestyle program of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. 

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