children with anxiety

Sadly, our nation is facing a mental health epidemic with 1 in 4 children living with anxiety and/or depression. 

The cause for me, and for so many people, was the slow detachment from my emotional self.  When we are kids, we begin to detach from certain emotions and cling to others, because of the positive and negative feedback we get for expressing ourselves in different ways. For example, getting a frown or a punishment for expressing anger. Or, getting a huge smile and a treat for expressing joy.

Being a sensitive person myself, no wonder I felt anxious! I was avoiding all of my natural human instincts and was afraid to fully express myself. 

WE ARE ALL EMOTIONAL BEINGS, that is what makes humans so special. Over time, we have adopted a way of living that promotes emotional detachment, judgment, self-criticism, and perfection. Now we are seeing the negative impacts.

The good news?! We are learning the importance of emotional awareness and acceptance, and we are making changes in the way we treat ourselves, our children, and our students. The result is a deeper connection to ourselves, and also to one another. This is exciting!

This week, let’s practice emotional awareness and acceptance.

This week’s practice: 

  • Take time throughout your day to do an emotional check-in. Ask yourself, “how do I feel right now.”
  • Let your emotions guide you this week – do you need to rest, take a walk, breathe, slow down, speed up? 
  • Notice how social media influences your mindset – there is a lot of information out there on how to do better and be better. Notice when your feelings are influenced by information from social media. 

In the classroom: 

  • Take time in the morning to do an emotional check-in. Students can share, or you can take a few minutes to let them draw or journal about how they feel.
  • Model emotional acceptance by being honest about how you feel and taking care of your own emotional needs. 

Example: If you are tired and need a break, tell the students that and then take 5 minutes of quiet so you can re-group.  Model REST! I know there is a lot to do, but if you express fatigue, show them how you care for yourself when you are exhausted. This teaches them, without having to actually teach them, self-care. 

At home: 

  • Model emotional awareness and acceptance by expressing your feelings out loud, and by taking care of your own emotional needs throughout the day.

Looking for more?  Use the Family / Classroom Resilience Kit to support emotional recognition and acceptance in simple ways.

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