STRESS REDUCTION EXERCISES
In Cathi Cohen’s book "Raising Your Child’s Social IQ", she offers the following games and exercises that can be effective as stress-reduction techniques. While this is written for kids, these techniques work well for adults as well.
1. Deep breathing - Teach your child to breathe slowly and rhythmically, in through the nose and out through the mouth. This slows down the heart rate and leads to an overall state of relaxation. Cohen recommends right before your child goes to bed as an ideal time to practice this.
2. Visual Imagery - Help your child create a rich visual image. Have your child close their eyes and imagine a pleasant trip, a major accomplishment or a favorite memory. Have them describe it a completely as they can, describing the sounds, sights and smells of the image. The richer the image, the more relaxing it can be.
3. Muscle Massage - Give your child a nightly muscle massage. This will help relaxation and sleep in anyone, child or adult.
4. The Back Tickle - Gently stroke your child’s back. This technique is good for children or adults who don’t like full muscle massages.
5. The Body Shake - Have your child jump up and down and wiggle their limbs. This can shake the physical tension out of the body.
6. Progressive Relaxation - Have your child systematically tense and relax all major muscles. Start with the head and work down to the feet and toes or go the opposite way. Since stress causes muscle tightness, this exercise can help you or your child feel less stressed.