“What if I get left at school, What if I can’t breath when I am in the game, What if I throw up, What if my house falls over.” (8 year old Peter)
Anxiety, is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders in children. Approximately 4.4 million have diagnosed anxiety. These children have consistent co-occurrence of symptoms such as but not limited to behavioral problems, and depression.
This information allows us to pay attention to the seriousness of this disorder and look for ways to ensure our children get support. With many resources of treatment options for children, I look at the “whole” child to understand and support this brain/body experience of anxiety.
Peter, had spent years talking about his anticipatory worries/thoughts. What could happen and how to think differently yet his body still tensed up, he got hot, he ran away, he fought back and tantrums with family. This was very much a body based disorder!
We explored the worries not with only talking but through movement. We identified patterns in his body that triggered a sense of discomfort. He sat in ‘w’ posture, placed his fingers into his mouth throughout the day, he breathed heavily through his mouth, and he had limited interest in physical activity. We supported him to receive body input – options for helping his nervous system organize in each interaction to take in visual cues, receive physical input to his body in which he would feel grounded and safe, and provide him with support for breathing, and positioning his body, including his mouth, eyes, ears, and nose!
When his body didn’t feel safe, his mind took a physical feeling/sensation and created thoughts of the unknown. His brain was working to protect him and have adaptive responses yet his mind took it too far, and left him limited in his resources for curiosity, safety, and connection.
In movement experiences we explored his body based reaction to his worried thoughts, we changed his movement patterns in response to these feelings and found his body posture and movement profile for when he felt his best; calm and alert. Now his experience of the unknown was embodied and he had the ability to take control and make choices.
Everyday I work with children of all ages and their families to support their development, awareness and connections! For more ways to learn how to embody parenting and support your child through life, Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your time.
Please Note: These stories are based on real moments but all names, ages, and identifying information has been changed to ensure confidentiality and safety for all individuals involved. The events are a composite of related scenarios used to illustrate the work; bringing understanding to the benefits of supporting children through a mind/body connection.