Stress is in the air as we get ready to go back to school. We need to help our children navigate this stress, and we do this best by first learning how to bust our own stress. Keep reading for a time tested strategy to help manage our stress.
UNDERSTAND & UTILIZE DEEP BREATHING:
The body can live many weeks without food, days without water, but only a few short minutes without breath. The Hebrew word for breath can be translated as “Spirit” or “Mind.” In other words, through God’s breath of life we have been created! In the Gospel of John (20:22), Jesus breathed on His followers and gave them His Holy Spirit (Jesus’ very life)! Breath is very sacred, to breathe is to pray!
One of the greatest blessings in my life is that I have been a part-time stay at home dad since 1999. What a gift. I remember the baby stages (I love babies, but the sleepless nights are nasty…God bless all the parents of infants reading this right now!)
When an infant sleeps, what part of the infant’s body moves?
The tummy, and very rapidly because the infant’s heart rate is higher than an adult’s heart rate. Why is that important?
Because when we are fresh from God, as an infant, we know exactly how to breathe! We take full body breaths and it goes deep down into the lung which moves the diaphragm (a parachute shaped muscle that separates the chest from the gut). As air is forced to the bottom portion of the lung the diaphragm expands and the belly button pops out.
This is important because it can increase oxygen absorbption and help the heart (and every other organ in the body)!
The strategy of deep breathing is so rooted in our bodies and in Scripture that it feels too familiar to be helpful, but that is not true! Taking deep breaths can be an amazing way to help manage and lower stress.
Once we understand that the deep breaths are important we have to utilize this knowledge and teach our children. Here is how you can do it:
Lie down on your back and put a hand on your belly button and a hand on your chest. When we take a deep breath, the only hand that should more is your belly button hand. I teach count to three: 3 seconds in, hold for 3, and 3 seconds out. Once you know how to deep breath you can teach your children to pop their belly buttons out as well!
Then, take and teach the next step: when you feel any stress take a couple of deep breaths. It sounds like a cliché, but I just explained why it is critically important. It can slow our heart rate, it can interrupt the stress hormone sequence in the body, and it can help our thinking become sharper. All this from deep breathing! No wonder why it is hard-written into the wisdom of the infant!
God bless your deep breathing. Peace.