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Mental Health

How to Relax & Improve an Anxious Brain in Children: A Guide to Dealing with Anxiety


The journey of assisting children in managing anxiety is akin to navigating through a labyrinth, with its complexities and unanticipated turns. Anxiety is a testament to the robustness of a child’s brain, capable of offering protection even when danger is a mere illusion. As a significant adult, your approach can be instrumental in soothing an anxious mind and unveiling the strength that resides within each anxious child.

Understanding Anxiety in Children

Children, much like adults, can be submerged in anxiety, causing certain brain regions to dominate while disconnecting from others. This is a survival mechanism, activating during perceived threats, leading to an automatic fight-or-flight response, overseen by the primitive areas of the brain. Understanding the inner workings of a child’s brain can empower you to create environments and experiences that fortify their mental wellness and cognitive connectivity, thus mitigating anxiety.

Comprehensive Brain Connectivity: The Foundation of Mental Wellness

A. Building Stronger Interactions within the Brain

The human brain’s functionality is multi-faceted, necessitating the harmonious interaction of its various regions. The essence of human responses, learning capabilities, and developmental strides is hinged on the robustness of connections between different brain segments. Fostering stronger interaction between the logical and impulsive sections of the brain is crucial, as is enhancing the connection between the brain’s analytical and emotional hemispheres.

B. The Role of Sleep in Strengthening Connectivity

Adequate sleep is paramount, especially for anxious children. It amplifies the connection between the brain’s right and left hemispheres by up to 20%, enabling the formation of new links and the development of myelin, which accelerates the transmission of information between nerve cells. The emphasis on sleep is to ensure the consolidation of these neural connections, enhancing cognitive coherence and mental fortitude.

Nurturing a Resilient Mind: A Step-by-step Guide

1. Embrace Calmness and Offer Comfort

  • Create a Soothing Environment: Create a nurturing atmosphere, regardless of the child’s behavior. Being calm, supportive, and encouraging will be pivotal in managing anxiety-related behavior, such as tantrums, violence, avoidance, and clinginess.
  • Be Present and Attentive: Your presence, warmth, and assurance are the anchors your child needs during their emotional turbulence. Make your support unequivocal, reflecting it through your voice, body language, and actions.

2. Enhance Emotional Communication

  • Acknowledgment and Labeling: Acknowledge and label the emotions the child is feeling. This practice reduces activity in the amygdala and fosters emotional understanding. Initiating conversations about their feelings and experiences promotes emotional intelligence and a sense of control over their emotions.
  • Encourage Expressive Conversations: Facilitate dialogues that allow children to articulate their experiences in their own words. It’s a bridge between emotions and reason, assisting children in making sense of their experiences and feelings, thus reinforcing the inter-hemispherical connections in the brain.

3. Employ Mindfulness and Deep Breathing Techniques

  • Introduction to Mindfulness: Mindfulness can augment brain structure and function by improving the connection between the reasoning frontal brain and the reactive lower brain. Regular mindfulness practices can be integrated into daily routines, offering long-lasting benefits.
  • Practice Deep Breathing: Empower your child with deep breathing exercises to trigger the relaxation response, neutralizing stress-induced neurochemicals. Regular practice ensures the re-engagement of the frontal brain, offering tranquility to the reactive lower brain.

4. Strategizing and Problem Solving

  • Involvement in Planning: Involve children in crafting strategies and developing solutions. This proactive involvement fosters a sense of ownership, making them more likely to adhere to the devised plans. Their involvement in the planning process, when they are calm, fortifies their ability to adhere to solutions during anxious states.
  • Encouragement and Positive Affirmation: Regular encouragement and affirmation are instrumental in bolstering children’s confidence and resilience. Praise their efforts and encourage them to face their fears, emphasizing their strength and ability to overcome challenges.

Understanding the Structural Dynamics: The Left and the Right

The left and right hemispheres of the brain are conjoined by the corpus callosum. The left hemisphere is logical, sequential, and informative, while the right hemisphere is emotional, holistic, and introspective. Fostering smooth communication between these hemispheres is imperative for a well-rounded perspective and emotional regulation. This bilateral interaction lays the groundwork for the holistic functioning of the brain, enabling individuals to perceive, comprehend, and respond to their environments effectively.

Educating About Anxiety: Instilling Knowledge and Confidence

Educating children about anxiety when they are relaxed is paramount. The goal is to equip them with an understanding of their physical symptoms and emotional turmoil, thereby fostering a sense of control. Knowledge acts as a shield, alleviating fear and building confidence, making children less daunted by their experiences and sensations. Creating a dialogue around anxiety enriches children’s perspectives, offering them clarity and enabling them to distinguish between real and perceived threats.

The Ultimate Goal: Harmonious Brain Integration and Robust Mental Wellness

The journey to alleviate anxiety in children is not a solitary battle; it’s a collective effort that requires time, patience, and unwavering support. Integrating various brain regions enhances the child’s overall well-being, fostering healthier relationships, problem-solving skills, emotional intelligence, and resilience. It is not about isolating or suppressing emotions but embracing them, understanding them, and integrating them to cultivate a balanced, resilient, and mentally robust individual.


Empowering children to overcome anxiety involves a meticulous amalgamation of understanding, support, education, and holistic approaches. It is about kindling the flames of resilience, fostering neural connectivity, and building robust mental fortitude, enabling children to rise above their anxieties and embrace their fullest potential. The journey might be intricate, but with consistent effort, compassion, and a comprehensive approach, we can sculpt a nurturing environment, paving the way for the holistic development of every child grappling with anxiety.