How to help your child overcome anxiety.
Chronic Anxiety Disorder or Generalised Anxiety Disorder is an issue that a lot of children are facing these days. They simply worry too much. Their childhood is wasted worrying about the smallest of things. You can try protecting your child from their fears, but in the long run, overprotecting would make it worse. Here are some ways you can help your child cope with anxiety.
What is Generalised Anxiety Disorder?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, GAD usually involves a persistent feeling of anxiety or dread that interferes with how you live your life. It is not the same as occasionally worrying about things or experiencing anxiety due to stressful life events.
It is a very common disorder in India, with 10 million cases per year.
Some common symptoms of Generalised Anxiety Disorder:-
- Constant Overthinking
- Excessive worrying
- Mild Insomnia
- Lack of Concentration
Factors that cause GAD in children:-
Generalised Anxiety Disorder can purely be genetic. A parent with excessive worrying habits can pass it on to their child. The study suggests that almost half of the GAD cases are completely genetic.
Serotonin is a Monoamine transmitter that relays signals from one area of the brain to another. Dopamine is also a neurotransmitter that acts as a chemical messenger between neurons. These two are very important neurotransmitters, disturbance in the production of Serotonin and Dopamine can cause Anxiety and Depression.
An experience with trauma can lead to GAD. Disturbing events like parents fighting in front of their kids, divorce, and death in the family are all common reasons for Chronic Anxiety Disorder
We all can agree that change is scary. It is uncertain and unpredictable. Change of country, school, or neighbourhood can be extremely scary for children and make them anxious and nervous.
A child can have anxiety attacks having to stand up and speak in front of the whole class. This here is an example of Social Anxiety Disorder. The competition of acing in every subject, and the pressure of getting good grades are all common causes of chronic anxiety disorder in kids.
How to manage Anxiety and Panic Attacks:-
- Deep Breathing Technique-
Deep breathing is proved to be very helpful. It increases the oxygen supply to the brain and gives a sense of relaxation and calmness
- Physical Activity-
A study suggests that even just 30 minutes of exercise every day can help reduce the amount of anxiety and panic attacks.
- Healthy Lifestyle-
Having a healthy lifestyle, that includes an adequate amount of sleep, eating healthy food, and exercising daily on a routine basis is the key to reducing anxiety and panic attacks to zero.
- Happy Thoughts-
Ask them to go to think about a person, place or a memory that calms them down, and makes them happy. This method helps a child relax and go through an anxiety attack.
How to help your child overcome Anxiety:-
1. Identify their triggers –
Sit with them, listen to them, and help them recognise what the problem is. Tell them this, “If you know what the problem is and you can do something about it, then get and do something about it. If you have no control over the situation, then why worry about it? Whatever happens, happens for a reason.”
2. Validate their feelings-
Talk to your child. Whatever their reason may be for being anxious, do not brush it off or laugh at them. Listen to their feelings, validate them and help them calmly and efficiently. They should be feeling very safe and comfortable when you are talking to them. Make sure they hear you loud and clear.
3. Worrying is pointless-
Tell your child that you understand why they feel the way they do, but also why worrying is pointless. Most of the time, the instances we worry about are of the future, they are uncertain. They have very little possibility of occurring, hence why worrying is of no use, whatever happens, happens.
4. Spend quality time with your child-
Whenever you get some free time, spend it with your child. Play a board game, or a sport, or a video game or anything that makes them happy and forget about their anxiety. Make sure you become the person they go to when they feel anxious.
Find a well-trained therapist that can solve your child’s anxiety. Tell your child, that going to a therapist is completely fine. Everything might not seem good right now, but with time, everything is healed. Talking therapy or taking medications can help your child overcome anxiety.