Stress at high levels is very damaging to the developing brain. When a threat is perceived, adrenaline is released, causing blood to flow to the lungs and muscles making energy available for fighting or running away. It's so disruptive, she won't be able to think straight.
But, Sally can’t run out of the classroom. So, what can she do? She can relax her muscles by squeezing her legs together or pressing her feet into the floor and holding for a count of 5 then slowly releasing.
Warmth will flow into Sally's muscles making her relaxed. Shrugging her shoulders tightly or stretching her arms achieves the same effect in her upper body. If Sally slowly blows out air through her mouth and then takes it in slowly through her nose, she can avoid hyperventilating.
Sally can use all of these techniques without anyone knowing.
Stress can make Sally sick. If she learns how to manage it now, she’ll have the confidence to cope as life’s demands increase. Moving the stress response from feelings to thinking can reduce Sally’s fear of being afraid, also known as anticipatory anxiety.
Stress in children is so powerful that it reduces their life span. They've got a really long way to go. Help them learn to cope with stress in healthy ways.
Do the best you can, Claudia
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