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Intervention of yoga and meditation in school effective in reducing stress and anxiety in children
Mar 08 2019

Intervention of yoga and meditation in school effective in reducing stress and anxiety in children

Mental Health

Children experience anxiety during their growing up years as they learn new things every day and are still getting accustomed to the growing up process. However, it should be a matter of concern if a child exhibits symptoms like fear, nervousness, or shyness, and/or avoids certain places, activities, or interacting with others in general or with specific people. All these symptoms may indicate an underlying anxiety disorder.

Past studies have suggested that practicing yoga and mindfulness in schools can effectively help children overcome their anxiety symptoms. As per the study conducted by the Tulane University, incorporating intervention sessions that include breathing exercises, guided relaxation, and several traditional yoga poses appropriate for children, can help third-graders exhibiting anxiety symptoms improve their emotional health and overall well-being. Notably, third grade is a crucial time of transition for elementary students as they experience an increase in academic expectations for the first time, thereby leading to early onset of stress and anxiety.

To identify the effectiveness of such interventions, the study screened third graders in a private school in New Orleans for symptoms of anxiety at the beginning of the school year. The researchers then randomly divided the students in two groups. The first group consisted of 32 children, who were administered usual care that included counseling and other activities led by a school social worker, while the second group had 20 children, exposed to yoga/meditation activities for eight weeks using a Yoga Ed curriculum. At the end of the eight weeks, the researchers found that yoga and meditation intervention improved psychosocial and emotional quality of life scores for students, compared to their peers who received standard care.

Mental disorders in children – a silent epidemic

Surprisingly, the prevalence of mental disorders in children is as common as it is in adults. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), nearly 13 percent children, aged between 8 and 15 years, experience a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. The most commonly occurring mental illnesses in children include anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Tourette syndrome, behavior disorders, eating disorders, and depression.

Amidst, the presence of an anxiety disorder in a child not only disrupts their childhood, but also affects their adulthood, as untreated anxiety can keep deteriorating the quality of life with each passing day. The illness becomes a hindrance in the way of their career as well as leading a healthy life.

However, it is difficult to determine the presence of an anxiety disorder, especially in children. While the condition is commonly confused with regular anxiety, its signs are also neglected assuming them as regular childhood tantrums. Hence, it is important to educate, train, and guide teachers and school staff to identify suspected children. Training teachers and school staff is more important than guiding parents as children spend most of their active time in schools.

Need to break silence and seek treatment

Currently, a lot of people are unaware of the possibility of children suffering from an anxiety disorder. As a result, most of them are living with an undiagnosed condition, let alone seeking treatment for the same. According to the 2018 Child Mind Institute Children’s Mental Health Report, though 30 percent children and adolescents were affected by anxiety at some point, nearly 80 percent do not receive treatment for various reasons.

Untreated anxiety can lead to depression, poor performance at school and dropping out of school. Further, children and adolescents suffering from anxiety are twice as likely to indulge in substance abuse. Therefore, if you suspect your or a loved one’s child to be battling an anxiety disorder, do not hesitate to contact the ADEONA Healthcare for professional assistance. We offer comprehensive evidence-based anxiety treatment programs, tailored to suit adolescents and teens aged 12-17. Call our 24/7 anxiety treatment helpline (877) 636-0042 or chat online with our experts to get in touch with the finest inpatient anxiety treatment for teens in California.