Emotions can get pretty intense sometimes making it challenging to stay in control and make appropriate choices. To help your child develop emotional control when his feelings get the better of him, teach him calming exercises. Neuroscience has shown that the emotional responder in our brains (the amygdala) reacts to situations BEFORE the self-regulation part of our brain (the prefrontal cortex) can exert the emotional control needed for an acceptable response.
When your child is getting overwhelmed with intense emotions, teach him to use one of these 5-minute calming exercises:
- 5 minutes of yoga poses
- 5 minutes of silence
- 5 minutes outside experiencing nature through their senses.
- 5 minutes listening to peaceful music
- 5 minutes in a designated “calm zone” or “thinking spot”
- 5 minutes of exercise: walking, skipping, jumping jacks, running
- 5 minutes cuddling with a pet (or stuffed animal)
- 5 minutes of focused breathing
- 5 minutes of reading
- 5 minutes of writing or drawing about emotions
Calming exercises are a way to help children, and adults, control intense emotions, gain emotional control, and make healthy, safe, or moral decisions. Parents who practice these exercises model for their children healthy ways to manage emotions and save their own sanity as well.
What activities do your family find effective when someone needs to decompress and calm their emotions?