Worried your child is stressed? You’re not alone. Today’s youth lives under enormous and constant social and academic pressure. Add to that the pressure to succeed and achieve in a raft of extra-curricular activities and it’s perhaps no wonder that they feel stressed and anxious.
Although in our society children are aware of such feelings and are, for the most part, allowed to acknowledge them publically, they are often ill-equipped to deal with negative emotions like stress or depression.
It is however, absolutely within our power to help children manage negative emotions. Guided imagery is a relaxation tool that is completely accessible, easily taught and especially useful when seeking to help your child manage stress. Often included in mindfulness sessions, guided imagery involves helping the mind to visualise and focus on positive images in an attempt to combat negative thoughts or emotions.
Although there are many practitioners and teachers who offer classes, there are many scripts and downloads available online which you can follow at home. YouTube, for instance, is a great starting place. If you have a particularly vivid and creative imagination, can speak fluidly and in a soft and gentle tone, you could even write and memorise your own scenarios for use with your children.
Here are some examples you could use:
When you’re ready to begin:
2. Ask your child to sit in a comfortable position or lie down on the floor, with eyes closed.
3. First, ask them to concentrate on their breathing before asking to embark on a journey. Walk them through every step of the journey and describe the location in detail for example if you were to pick a beach you could say ‘you are walking on a beach…the sky is blue…the water is crystal clear…you hear the sound of gentle waves lapping the shore, the white sand feels warm on your bare feet and silky smooth as it slips between your toes…as the warm breeze caresses your skin you breathe deeply, inhaling the smell of fresh ocean air. You lie down and allow your body to totally relax, sinking into the warm, soft sand. You feel a sense of peace and freedom.
4. To end the exercise, ask your child to gently open their eyes and come back to the present.