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Penny Rayas, MFT
Penny Rayas, MFT, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  I have 20 years experience in the mental health field
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My daughter is going into middle school next year and has allot

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My daughter is going into middle school next year and has allot of anxiety, how do I calm her down about middle school and what are some technics to help her calm down on the first day?

Hello there and thanks for asking JA. Yours is a great question because most kids have a lot of anxiety about going to middle school. What I usually do is I take the kid to the middle school for a field trip. You can visit with her walk around now that there is no school so she gets used to the location. I am not sure why but this helps most of my clients who suffer from anxiety. It may be that the place seems overwhelming until the see the school. If she does not have a good time when she visits the middle school it is important that you ask her to take deep breaths while she is visiting. I would also try to rehearse the visit. You can say something like we are now driving to the middle school just imagine seeing that middle school. Imagine walking around imagine that everyone is friendly. It is called exposure therapy and it is believed that if you slowly exposed someone to something they fear it will reduce the fear. Also be open to her worries about middle school and she if any of her friends are go to the same middle school. She can start hanging out with friends who will go there and go with you and the friend to visit the school. She can try to prepare for Middle School as much as she can with things that increase self-esteem such as a new haircut and being involved in Middle School sports that she may like. Ask the school about try outs for sports and see if she is open to that. Here is also the deep breathing technique that reduces anxiety.

This exercise comes from XXXXX XXXXX, author of 'Instant Calm'. The exercise is performed while you are lying flat on your back.

1. With your palms and outstretched fingers resting on your lower abdomen, distend your stomach muscles so that the entire lower stomach area protrudes.

2. Suck in your stomach muscles as far as you can. Your chest will rise as a result.

Repeat these steps over and over again until you can perform a rocking motion: lower abdomen, to chest, to lower abdomen, to chest, and so on.

Once you have learned this muscle control, you are ready to regulate your breathing with this muscular action.

Try to make your breathing as smooth and as effortless as possible, with the breath flowing in and out of your lungs in one seemingly endless stream. Try not to hold your breath after inhaling.

Now we will add breathing to synchronize with the learned muscular motion. Do the following breathing exercises slowly with full awareness.

 

Breathe in through your nostrils as your lower abdomen rises.

 

Breathe out through your mouth noisily as your abdomen falls.

 

Breathe in through your nostrils as your abdomen rises.

 

Breathe out through your mouth -noisily -as your abdomen falls.

 

Breathe in as your abdomen rises. Now 'force' the oxygen into the extremities of your body such as your hands, feet and skull. Feel it spreading through your bloodstream to these parts.

 

Breathe out noisily as your abdomen falls.

As you breathe out, feel the tension flood out of your body and into the floor. Feel it flow through your pores; feel it dissolve through the skin of your back at those places where it comes in contact with the floor. Feel your muscles relax as this tension flows out.

 

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