04 Jan Martial Arts Help Children and Teens Manage Stress
As adults across the nation feel more stress these days, it is no surprise that children and teens are also feeling the effects. Stress is expected in life, and our bodies are designed to handle stress when threats arise. The “fight or flight” survival response is intended to help the body survive and escape danger. However, in today’s social media and gaming arena, stress can elevate from positive and negative occurrences or upcoming events. Still, the body in prolonged stressful states can adversely affect the psychological and physical conditions of the body. This is where anxiety comes in, and sadly, younger and younger children are experiencing heightened levels of concern about school, social situations, and home life. Families must support children and teens as they find ways to manage and process stress in a healthy environment. Families have found one of the most effective ways to help their children learn to manage stress is through a family-friendly martial arts program. Martial arts’ distinctive approach to body and mind connectivity in movement develops excellent and unmatched stress management skills for children and teens.
Kids and Teens Experience Stress Differently Than Adults
Children and teens often feel stressed when preparing for an upcoming event. Children develop skills when forced to adapt to a change or prepare for something. Their fight or flight helps them protect themselves against the unknown, especially when something is important to them. Any change can trigger stress response from the body, but some children and teens need help to develop these skills, so they do not stay in a chronic state of stress for prolonged periods.
Since children and teens do not have the decision-making skills or abilities of adults, they may feel less in control or trapped, which can add significant stress levels to any young person. In the short term, stress helps people prepare for something coming, but prolonged stress puts the body in an exhaustive state that can affect sleep, mood, and emotional outbursts.
Not All Stress is Bad for Kids and Teens
In a supportive environment, children and teens can become excellent at processing stress in healthy ways. Good stress helps young people achieve goals, focus on what they want, and meet deadlines in school. Building up inner strength, more commonly called resilience. Naturally, children develop more of these skills as they age, but having them train in martial arts reinforces and enhances those skills. A family-friendly and supportive martial arts studio like SwiftKick Martial Arts provides a way for families to encourage and support their children and teens as they manage life’s stressors.
Master instructors working with a reputable studio have likely been through the programs offered and offer a unique perspective to young people going through the same process to achieve goals and move up in rank and belt color. When families and extra-curricular activities like martial arts training align, positive stress responses are encouraged by multiple influences. Children and teens require additional stability and support when something stressful happens. Parents work closely with knowledgeable and understanding instructors who help young people overcome these traumatic events. The loss of a loved one, starting a new school, moving, bullying at school, or sports injuries are a few of the things that warrant extra support and love.
Prolonged Stress Can be Harmful to Children and Teens
Intense and prolonged stress can take a toll on young people emotionally and physically. Without the executive brain processing skills that adults have, children and teens can experience extreme anxiety and depression and develop unhealthy eating habits if unable to cope with stress or feel they can’t get away from it. Pressure can come from home, school, and social situations, including online chatting and social media connections.
If your child or teen is struggling with stress management, listening, and talking to them is essential. Remind them they are loved and safe and that you support them through the stress. Establishing routines and regular engagement with peers in a healthy environment, like martial arts training, allow children and teens to find their way with peers going through the same things.
Some Stress Management Requires Additional Resources
In some situations, it is best to speak with your child’s doctor about their stress to explore other options, including therapy. Parents of younger children may find various treatments to be a segway to supporting their child or teen. It is critical to place children and teens in positive environments and engage them in things they enjoy. Trauma and stress can leave children and teens feeling insecure, vulnerable, and anxious, so finding something they can excel at helps balance some of what they are working through.
If you have a child or teen that would benefit from learning stress management in a fun and engaging atmosphere, contact SwiftKick Martial Arts in one of their two San Diego locations for a free trial class.