The stress treadmill
The more people I talk to, the more I hear about children suffering from stress. This never used to be the case.
Everyone seems a lot more stressed these days.
I think that children are especially having a tough time.
When I was growing up there was no threat of terrorism. It was safe for me to walk the streets and go to the park by myself.
I talked to friends face to face.
There were no computer games.
The biggest problems I had to face were pimples and an unruly fringe.
Jobs were much easier to come by.
I think that today we are exposed to so much more negative media. Children are more exposed to it too.
Today, life is much faster. We are being bombarded with so much information. We have to process so much more. Children have so much more to learn at school.
I believe that many people, including children, are living in a constant state of stress.
A little stress can be a good thing, but constant stress can lead to mental and/or physical health problems.
When you are stressed your body produces different chemicals.
These chemicals increase some bodily functions, such as strength, intuition and brain power, so that you are able to deal with a perceived threat to your well being. There are many examples on the Internet of people performing the seemingly impossible when under stress.
When under stress other bodily functions such as hunger or pain are automatically shut down and ignored. For example, if you were hungry before a stress event, you suddenly lose your appetite under stress.
When you are stressed your focus is survival. Your will to live becomes paramount. You are functioning on primal instinct.
This is known as the ‘fight or flight’ mode.
If you are constantly in ‘fight or flight’ mode, you will eventually suffer from health problems, which may lead to death.
It’s possible that some children are constantly in the ‘fight or flight’ mode because of a perceived threat.
The threat may be real or imagined. Either way, the body produces the same chemicals and the ‘fight or flight’ mode is invoked.
One way to break out of the ‘fight or flight’ mode is through regular meditation.
When you practice meditation you control your breath. Your breathing becomes slower, which helps to release different chemicals in the body. Your body no longer has to worry about survival, it can concentrate on repairing itself.
There are many proven benefits of meditation, including reduced stress, reduced blood pressure, reduced anxiety and depression, and an increased immune system.
If you practice meditation regularly you can break out of the ‘fight or flight’ mode and improve your health and well being.
Mediation in schools
Personally I think compulsory meditation classes should be included in both the primary and secondary school curriculums.
The sooner children learn to meditate to break out of their ‘flight or fight’ mode cycle the better, I think.
If children learn to meditate when they are young they will take this habit with them through their adult life. This should reduce the number of mental illness cases we are seeing, and vastly improve the world in which we live in.