There are 3 powerful ways to stimulate in children their own natural healing mechanism. That is, the parasympathetic branch of their autonomic nervous system that causes immediate relaxation and calm.
1. Sleep: Our children need more sleep. Sleep is what lowers the brain and body’s stress hormones that have accumulated throughout the day. When sleep is delayed, disrupted, or shortened then cortisol remains elevated causing agitation to the nervous system and a decreased ability to cope. Eliminate media and too much sugar before bedtime, and have a structured before-sleep routine that will ease them into their slumber peacefully.
2. Nature: Spending plenty of time outside in nature triggers a deep feeling of wellness and connection that is necessary for healing. Too many of our children live in urban sprawl without enough opportunity to be outside. They spend too much time in front of the television or a video game instead. Media is naturally limited when our children spend more time outside, and it’s good for us too! So please, join your child, breathe in the fresh air, and teach them to orient to the beauty of the world around them by noticing the colors, scents, and critters of the park, beach, or any other outdoor space you’re in.
3. Pets: The neuroscience has taught us plenty about the multitude of benefits that come from developing a relationship with an animal. We know that petting an animal reduces heart rate, blood pressure, cortisol levels, and the need for the use of sedatives. There is a safety with animals that not every child feels with people, and a unique opportunity for connection to themselves and the world around them when children form this special kind of relationship. If you can’t own an animal, please bring your children to nature centers where they can feed the ducks, watch turtles swimming, chase the rabbits, or ride a horse.