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Lesson 1:  Calm Mind and Body

Quote: Stop and calm down – for every minute you are angry you lose 60 seconds of happiness.

Statement: Upset feelings are our body’s warning system that something is wrong. Not everybody feels the same about common situations. There is nothing wrong with having strong feelings. Our feelings are what make us unique. However, if we don’t learn to manage our feelings and think helpful, growth thoughts, then we can lose control of our choices and quickly find ourselves reacting to conflict or challenging situations in unhealthy ways that may hurt others or ourselves in the long term. Being able to calm our body and mind down is a sign of maturity and strength.
Research: A study on ‘Supporting Conflict Resolution in an Early Childhood Montessori Environment’ found that children who had difficulty calming down struggled “to apply the [conflict] resolution strategies during real moments of conflict”. Teaching children and having them practise calming down skills, such as slow breathing, is critical. Scientists, Dr Krasnow and Dr Yackle, from Stanford University discovered the value of “how controlling breaths can be so calming”. Their research indicated that “taking deep breaths is calming because it does not activate the neurons that communicate with the brain’s arousal centre”. There are many ways of helping children to learn how to calm down. Explore these on the BRIDGE BUILDERS® Online Program Lesson One. Rehearsing these and creating a plan can lead to being be empowered for life.
Tips to teach this skill at home:
1. Help children to recognise what changes happen in their body when they get upset. These are a reminder of the need to start to use a calming down plan.
2. After your child has been upset, discuss what they might have been thinking. Help them to reframe unhelpful thoughts into helpful thoughts; such as: • “I’m not going to lose my cool over this.” • “Is there another side to this problem?” • “I am ok.” etc.
3. Practise calming down skills such as slow breathing, muscle relaxation and counting to distract their mind.
4. Talk to your child about times you have to use these skills. Their greatest lessons are learnt not by what you say but what you do, so provide opportunities to see you calming down.
5. Visit with your child the BRIDGE BUILDERS® Online Learning Program Lesson One and do some of the fun activities as a family. Validating this learning empowers your child with valuable skills to learn to Calm Down and be empowered for life!
By Jocelyne Chirnside
Empowering Life Skills