My faith in humanity is restored by the eighteen-day epic rescue mission of the twelve members of Thailand’s Wild Boars soccer team whose ages range from eleven to sixteen and their twenty-five-year-old coach Ekkapol Ake Chantawong. They were trapped in Tham Luang Nang cave complex on June 23 when the exits were blocked by floodwaters. They were trapped inside the cave for nine days without water and food and limited oxygen. On the tenth day, they were located by the British man, Vernon Unsworth, who first discovered and made a map of the cave. They were all brought out to safety on July 10 with the combined efforts of world-renowned divers, cavers, Thai Navy Seals, rock climbers, farmers and others (local businesses which gave supplies and rendered services for free). I was in tears when they all made it out alive albeit not without casualties. Nonetheless, lives lost were not meaningless. The twelve courageous Thai boys are definitely worth the efforts and sacrifice, including their spirited coach who managed to keep the boys alive. The faith in humanity being restored worldwide is in itself worth it too.
I could not imagine how they survived for nine days inside the dark, cold and low-oxygen cave. I cannot imagine how they kept their heads together and their spirits up or at least unbroken. Because of the boys’ disposition, I tremendously admire their coach. Reports said that he managed to calm and maintain their composure through meditation. Galing talaga! Great job!
Truth is, kids, suffer from anxiety too. They too can be stressed out, mommies, just like us, adults! Do you know that tantrums, sudden flares, attitude problems and even tummy aches, low appetite and poor memory are sometimes associated with stress and anxiety in children?
As parents, it is our duty to not only provide a stress-free life or environment to our kids. We also need to guide and train them on how to combat and deal with stress properly. After all, in reality, life would endlessly throw us one stressful event after the other. If you think your kids are suffering from anxiety – maybe brought by school works or peer pressure, or if you think they are acting up due to stress, try these simple and fun activities to help them manage their stress.
Make it a weekend habit to let them blow bubbles. A study says that blowing bubbles teaches kids how to breathe properly. It helps them focus on the act of taking in a breath and slowly letting it out, which helps them relax. This breathing technique is something they can do even without the bubbles if the need arises.
Teach them how to meditate. As I said, it was reported that meditation helped the Thai kids and their coach stayed alive in the cave for nine days. Start with simple exercises. Ask them to close their eyes. Breathe slowly and think of just one object, like a flower or their favorite animal. Tell them to imagine the object in detail – its size, color, texture or scent, if any. This helps the child center its mind and attention to that object. You can add objects in that particular scene gradually. This concentration technique aims to teach the child how to cut himself out of irrelevant external factors.
Give them squeeze balls or they can pretend they have one in their hands. Either way, this will relax their muscles. And, in reflexology, certain energy points in our hands connect to other parts of our body which will, in turn, be relaxed too.
Try spinners. Spinners are proved to enhance a person’s focus by concentrating on the spinning movement of the object. It’s relaxing and somehow clears our minds from clouds and clutter. Albeit without scientific evidence yet to date, spinners are said to relieve nervous energy, anxiety, or psychological stress. Further, it is believed that it can help calm down people who have anxiety and other neurological disorders. In choosing spinners, go for the ones without holes. They are safer for kids.
Sing a song. Do you know that singing daily for at least ten minutes reduces stress, clears sinuses, improves posture and makes a person happy? Well, that’s what I’ve read and that’s what I’ve experienced. I always sing while the mister is driving and that is a total of two hours a day. I must say that it makes me happier and relieves my stress somehow.
Mommies, these are only temporary solutions. It is more important that we identify and address the cause of our children’s stress and anxiety. Until then, these activities should do the trick.