Since the Covid-19 pandemic till date, there has been a increase of anxiety cases amongst children and adults. Both parents and children are faced with uncertainty about their future.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health concerns in the United States an ddue to the fact that long term exposure to stressful events contributes to the risk of developing an anxiety disorder, it’s important to avoid letting anxiety persist unchecked, especially in children.
Thankfully, families can help ease anxiousness, restore connection and joyfulness at home. When family members spend time together, actively engaged in the anxiety-relieving activities, it creates opportunities for open dialogue, strengthen their bonds and increase joy in the family, however, without consistency all this may be short lived.
Here are 4 activities families can do together to manage stress and ease anxiety
Start a daily gratitude practice
A gratitude chalkboard allows everyone to see what each of the family member appreciates. Research shows that people who participate in activities that foster a sense of gratitude experience an immediate increase in feelings of happiness and decrease in negative emotions; however, without consistency, the positive effects dissipate over time.
Families can cultivate this habit by incorporating the attitude of gratitude into shared daily routines which can be accomplished by family members verbally expressing something they are grateful for during meals, hangouts or through a journal, whiteboard or communal gratitude jar.
Practicing gratitude offers parents means to strengthen the bond with each other.
Exercising as a family is a great way to stay in shape and manage stress. And, with the United State Center for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that obesity rates have tripled for children and quadrupled for adolescents over the last 30 years, it’s important for families to increase opportunities for everyone to get moving.
There are myriad studies on the mental health benefits of regular exercise, but when it comes to specifically dealing with anxiousness, the most effective forms of exercise focus on the mind-body connection such as Yoga.
Family exercise doesn’t have to be complicated but must be consistent. It could be as simple as taking a walk all together or as involved as doing a fun, family workout. Whether it is a walk, yoga or workout, make a commitment and hold every member of the family accountable to participating several times a week.
Being outdoors helps to alleviate stress and anxiety, but participating in a family activity such as gardening can help even more.
In a study conducted in the Netherlands, participants reported being in a better mood after gardening and showed lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Not only is gardening a fun family activity, it can bring about other healthy habits such as healthy eating if your family plans on growing their own fruits and vegetables.
These steps towards a healthier lifestyle in both hobby and diet can lead to reductions in stress and anxiety for families.
There’s a reason child psychologists encourage children to express their feelings through drawings, teachers use coloring activities to conquer pre-test jitters and some dentists use coloring before appointments to ease dental anxiety. The anxiety-busting benefits of artistic expression are undeniable.
Children have this care free concentration when coloring and the pride they exude when showing off their completed works of art. However, this does not mean coloring is for children alone, adults can have fun coloring too.
Over the past decade, research supports art making therapeutic value for people of all ages, showing that it can reduce stress hormone cortisol, alleviate anxiety, facilitate focus and increase mindfulness. Whether you have the skills or can barely draw, pick your preferred art tool and start creating alongside your kids.
With all the uncertainty in the world, families possess potential to provide much needed solace and support.