Mindfulness Activities for Kids

Proponents say it is possible, albeit challenging, for kids to step away from screens and homework and take some time for mindfulness activities. By now, most of us have heard of “mindfulness,” the practice of focusing attention on the present moment without any judgment. Many adults practice it through meditation, yoga, walking or simply sitting still. But mindfulness is not just for adults. According to mental health experts, it can also be good for children. “Mindfulness helps kids cope with the daily stresses we all face,” says Michael Crowley, an associate professor at Yale Child Study Center and advisor for the Yale-Scholastic Collaborative for Child & Family Resilience. “Mindfulness skills offer a simple but profound way to be present, manage one’s thoughts and emotions, and get more out of life. These are healthy ways of thinking that are incredibly helpful in childhood and adulthood.” Experts say that mindfulness can help... Read more

Prolonged Grief Disorder

Prolonged Grief Disorder

Loss of a loved one and grieving their absence is a universal, yet deeply personal experience. For adults, the death of a partner, parent, child, sibling, or friend can be devastating. For a child, death of a parent, sibling, grandparent or a beloved pet may leave an indelible mark - and cast all the today's and tomorrow's in unrelenting heartache. After a death, many experiences unfold. First is grief, a personal response to the loss. As the emotional and physical experience of loss is expressed, mourning occurs. And finally, bereavement is the period of time where grief and mourning are deeply experienced - and adaptation to life after loss begins. Taking time to grieve and mourn is a widely accepted way to move through a death. But for some, the experience is marked by enormous emotional and physical pain. Instead, the bereaved child or adult is overwhelmed by a profound,... Read more

Good Medicine For Healthy Child Development: Nurturing Relationships

Yet, in recent years it has become clear that families need and deserve support to care for more than just the physical health of their children. What if pediatric care could be transformed to actively partner with parents to better support children’s healthy social and emotional development, too? That is the question that drives the Pediatrics Supporting Parents (PSP) national funder collaborative. To date, six national funders (the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Einhorn Collaborative, Overdeck Family Foundation, Perigee Fund, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation) have committed a total of $13.25 million over five years to invest in aligning clinical practice with a mounting body of evidence that demonstrates the benefits of leveraging pediatric well-care to support improved social and emotional outcomes in young children and to strengthen parent–child relationships by partnering with providers and parents. Significance Of Healthy Social And Emotional Development The first... Read more

“Simple Tasks Seem Overwhelming to My Child”

Take your pick — the misconstrued labels for children with inattentive ADHD (once called ADD) are as vast and varied as the symptoms they manifest. Often misunderstood — or worse, neglected — at school, children with ADHD face unique challenges complicated by outdated ADHD stereotypes. Here, ADDitude readers share the biggest challenges their children with inattentive ADHD face at school and home. What struggles does your child with predominantly inattentive ADHD encounter? Share your stories in the Comments section below. “Mind-wandering is a challenge for my daughter when she needs to complete schoolwork, especially reading. She has a hard time focusing and will fixate on sounds around her (ticking clock, hallway conversation, foot-tapping classmate, etc.) rather than the one sound she needs to hear: Her teacher’s voice. However, her inattentiveness and mind-wandering are a total asset when she’s drawing, writing, or creating because it allows her to be fluid, make... Read more

“How I Calm Down My ADHD Brain: 14 Quick De-Stressors”

“How I Calm Down My ADHD Brain: 14 Quick De-Stressors”

I use these stress-relieving strategies – from breathwork and EFT tapping to mindfulness exercises and laughter – to quickly reduce anxiety and improve my emotional regulation. ADHD emotions are not only unstable and mercurial; they overlap, butt heads, and fight for our attention. Those of us with ADHD can feel a dozen emotions in an afternoon. We can also feel immature, out of control, and ashamed at the same time. The fight to rein in our emotions is emotionally and physically exhausting; it also chips away at our self-worth and overall well-being. Over time, I have developed several tools to address this by reducing my restlessness, agitation, impatience, and explosive anger (to name a few emotional challenges). Along the way, my relationships, career, and friendships have benefited as well. The next time your blood boils or your tears flow, try one (or all) of the following micro-techniques – which take... Read more

What Is Attachment Trauma?

Attachment trauma comes from a rupture in the bonding process between a child and their primary caregiver. Its effects can last well into adulthood. If you struggle with relationships, there’s a dominant cultural narrative that assumes there is something wrong with you. But science offers us a more expansive view: Our relationship challenges may be rooted in what’s known as attachment trauma. Attachment trauma is “a consistent disruption of physical and emotional safety in the family system. It is not what happens to you, but what happens inside you,” says Heather Monroe, a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in Nashville, Tennessee, who specializes in treating relational trauma. A child’s early life experiences shape their adult life, and the relationship with their primary caregiver is among the most important for their development. If a child doesn’t have their early relational needs met, this can show up later in life in their... Read more

Health and Wellness: How stress leads to pain

People are dealing with more stress than ever right now and it’s impacting people in different ways. Many folks I speak with have been experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions — and their bodies are reflecting that. Stress impacts everything from your gut, to your immune system, to your mental health, to your musculoskeletal system. When it comes to musculoskeletal pain - common areas in your body that easily get impacted include your shoulders, jaw, head, and lower back. Stress is your human response to physical, emotional, or mental changes in your body or living environment. According to internal medicine physician Richard Lang, MD, PhD from the Cleveland Clinic: “Stress doesn’t necessarily cause certain conditions, but it can make the symptoms of those conditions worse.” And it’s easy to fall into a vicious cycle - whereas your physical symptoms worsen - your stress increases - and so on and so on.... Read more

8 Mistakes Made By Couples With Childhood Emotional Neglect

When you grow up emotionally neglected, you miss the "emotion training course" that other kids naturally get from their families. Families that ignore or discourage the children's feelings may teach their children how to ignore their own feelings as adults. Spouses who lack the necessary emotional skills to argue effectively can tend to shut down, avoid, and misrepresent their own feelings. The biggest test of any relationship is not how compatible you are or how much you love each other. The true test is how you work out problems together. If you or your partner were raised with childhood emotional neglect, your ability to communicate as a couple about emotional things will be greatly undermined, especially in situations where there are negative emotions involved. Childhood Emotional Neglect Growing up in a family that under-discussed meaningful or emotional issues can have two effects that are bound to affect your marriage decades... Read more

The ADHD Guide to Naturally Flowing, ‘Normal’ Conversations

There’s a general assumption that people know the unspoken, unwritten, often mysterious rules of social engagement. These assumptions do not account for the experience of living with neurodiversity. Either way, it’s never too late to learn how to have a conversation. Communication can be tricky for people with ADHD, who may interrupt too much, speak too quickly, or space out unintentionally and miss key elements of a conversation. As a result, many individuals worry that they will say something stupid in conversation, or that they’ll try so hard to appear “normal” that they end up looking strange. The task becomes so daunting, people may question their ability to engage in naturally flowing, comfortable conversations. There’s a general assumption that people know the unspoken, unwritten, and often mysterious rules of social engagement. These assumptions do not account for the experience of living with neurodiversity — some people with ADHD, learning differences,... Read more

Heartbroken? There’s a scientific reason why breaking up feels so rotten

When her husband left her after more than 25 years together, science writer Florence Williams says her body felt like it had been plugged into a faulty electrical socket. "I can almost describe it like a brain injury," she says. "I wasn't sleeping at all. I felt really agitated." Williams wanted to understand her physical reaction to the breakup, and so she began speaking to scientists in the U.S. and England about the connection between emotional and physical pain. Her new book, Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey, investigates the ways in which extreme emotional pain can impact the heart, the digestive and immune systems and more. Williams notes that falling in love actually stimulates the parts of the brain responsible for producing stress hormones — perhaps as a way to prepare for heartbreak. The brain creates these stress hormones, she says, "so that when our partner leaves or sort... Read more

Mental health in the workplace: The coming revolution

Lenny Mendonca, the former chief economic and business advisor to California governor Gavin Newsom, went public with why he had suddenly resigned from that position on April 10. Mendonca, a former McKinsey senior partner, revealed his struggles with debilitating depression in a deeply personal column that also probed the pervasiveness of mental health issues among the general population and the public-policy implications of untreated mental illness. Three weeks prior to his resignation, suffering severe depression, Mendonca had checked into a hospital for an overnight stay. But, acting in his position of great responsibility, in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, Mendonca had “told myself and my team that we all have to operate at 120 percent. . . . This meant 80-hour work weeks and barely sleeping.” Reflecting on his diagnosis and months-long process of recovery, Mendonca wrote: “What does it say about me that I have a mental health... Read more

Follow these tips to help your children deal with negative body image

If we don’t over think the aspects of our appearance that we don’t like and accept them as they are, we are more likely to have a positive self-image of ourselves. A positive self-image leads to healthy lifestyle choices as well as positive thoughts and behaviours. Certain teenagers are body shamed at school or by their families, which can change their relationship with their bodies. Teens are frequently influenced by their peers and family members, and they tend to adopt their views on what constitutes an acceptable body image. A person’s physical and emotional health can suffer as a result of a negative or distorted body image. It can lead to a variety of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, OCD, and eating disorders. A poor self-image can lead to frequent mood swings, social isolation, and dysfunctional relationships. Fear of rejection and non-acceptance due to a person’s physical appearance... Read more

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