5 Positive Suggestions for Managing Physical and Mental Stress

Watching children grow from curious, wondrous toddlers and elementary school-aged children to teenagers and independent young adults ready to take on the world, it’s essential to equip them with more than academic knowledge.Children need the tools to maintain their emotional and physical well-being as they face new challenges. Understanding and managing physical and mental stress is essential to responding to the challenges and stresses children face as they grow up. 

Here are 5 positive suggestions to help children understand how to manage physical and mental stress throughout their lives. 

  1. Understand the role of the nervous system in managing stress. The nervous system is the control center that helps children cope with stress. It’s what keeps children alert during an exam and calms them down when the challenge passes. However, as children transition from elementary school to middle school, from high school to college, or from college to the post-college career market, the accompanying stress can keep them in a constant state of “fight or flight.” When children’s bodies are out of sync, their nervous system is considered deregulated. This can lead to a range of emotional and physical problems, from anxiety and sleep disturbances to difficulty concentrating and making decisions. These are common challenges faced by children at every stage of development. Recognizing signs of stress is the first step in taking charge of children’s nervous systems’ health and restoring balance.
  1. Understand that it is important to find a balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic. In the midst of new academic pressures, social challenges, and the ongoing quest for independence as children grow up, it’s vital for children to learn how to balance their nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system prepares children for action, which is essential. But it’s the parasympathetic nervous system that helps children rest and recharge. Together, these systems work to keep children’s bodies in balance. Exercise, proper nutrition, and employing mindfulness techniques can help children keep their bodies in balance and help them manage stress. 
  1. Understand the physical and mental benefits of exercising. The most successful children have managed to create a balanced lifestyle. This includes their exercise routine. When children have an emotional connection that is tied to a positive experience, it helps them develop positive habits. Parents can help children create  habits, including fostering a healthy lifestyle, throughout their childhoods. Something as simple as walking after dinner will positively impact children’s blood sugar, mental clarity, sleep patterns, moods, and metabolism. Movement has an emotional purpose. Children can learn to associate movement with warm, enriching, loving relationships. As children grow up, as they move onto college and beyond, these positive patterns will become part of their lifestyles. By establishing these patterns early in life, parents teach children that regular exercise routines create balance, reducing physical and mental stress. Eventually, children build their own momentum, recognizing how their bodies feel and how they can take control of shaping their bodies rather than allowing their bodies to shape them.  
  1. Understand the physical and mental benefits of a balanced diet. When parents establish a nutritional program that works for their whole family, they are establishing important and vital nutritional habits. Teaching children about nutrition, teaching them to read labels, teaching them to cook with natural, whole ingredients, can help them develop a personalized commitment to eating nutritious foods. Parents can transform children’s meals, making healthy foods delicious and appealing. This creates positive habits, which leads to positive lifestyle choices and physical and mental health benefits. As children head to college, showing them how easy it is to substitute healthy foods rather than grabbing the mac and cheese or diving into Raman noodles in their dorm rooms, can be a gamechanger. By establishing healthy patterns at an early age, children can develop lifelong positive relationships with food that benefit their physical and mental well-being.
  1. Understand the importance of being mindful. Children today lead busy lives, often without any downtime and time to reflect. Yet, the healthiest children learn to live in the moment. They are taught to focus on learning tactical solutions that positively impact their mental well-being. Children need to learn how to unhook from a negative emotion or experience. And the most effective way to teach children to unhook from a negative emotion or experience is to have parents model a healthy emotional lifestyle. If parents model a healthy lifestyle, incorporating practices like mindful breathing and meditation and having conversations about healthy disagreement, establishing healthy boundaries, and learning to create offensive strategies to regulate their bodies, children will be able to manage stress effectively. As children develop mindful practices, they will have higher emotional IQs and their physical and mental selves will be healthier.

As children grow up, they need a strong foundation to become resilient and to manage physical and mental stress. Lessons learned at home can be invaluable tools as children grow up and become more independent. 

GAMECHANGER Tutoring Connection is honored to team with Diana, owner of MaxPact Health. Diana teaches busy parents the most effective fitness and nutritional practices to support mental clarity, resilience, and positive sleep and nutritional habits. Teaming with Diana, parents and children will develop the most impactful tools to thrive in the face of new challenges. 


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