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Meditation For Kids Anxiety

the anxiety epidemic and how meditation can help

According to JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), 20.5% of youth worldwide struggle with symptoms of anxiety. In other words, every 1 in 5 kids globally are experiencing anxiety. This is an increase of nearly 50% since 2012. 

With limited mental health resources for kids, parents across the world are seeking alternative practices to help alleviate their child’s symptoms. 

What are they finding? That meditation may be one answer to the kids’ anxiety epidemic.

What are the benefits of kids meditation?

Meditation is absolutely a practice that kids can benefit from. Dating back to ancient Vedic times, meditation has been used for thousands of years to promote mind and body wellbeing. 

Meditation can help kids reduce anxiety and stress, increase their focus, develop better emotional regulation, and promote overall mental health. Meditation for kids’ anxiety is a valuable practice because it teaches kids how to effectively identify and calmly manage their anxiety symptoms.

Meditation is now being formally studied and researchers are beginning to understand which brain functions are enhanced by meditation. Meditation and mindfulness work through several systems of the brain, including the hippocampus, amygdala, and the prefrontal cortex to reduce anxiety.

Gray matter in the hippocampus

Gray matter is a type of tissue in the brain and spinal cord that is responsible for movement, memory, and emotions. The hippocampus is a part of the brain that is largely responsible for learning and memory. Meditation has been found to increase gray matter density in the hippocampus, resulting in better cognition, memory, and emotional regulation.

Amygdala

The amygdala helps regulate the autonomic and endocrine systems that are responsible for decision making, the fight or flight response, and much more. Although not fully conclusive, meditation may alter the neural circuitry of automatic emotion regulation, resulting in improved automatic emotion regulation.

Prefrontal cortex 

The prefrontal cortex is the region of the brain that is associated with executive control, working memory, and self-awareness. Meditation has been shown to increase the functional activity and connectivity in the prefrontal cortex. Increased activity in the prefrontal cortex enhances emotional regulation, improves focus, and increases overall self-awareness, all being functions that help reduce anxiety.

Meditation for kids’ anxiety in practice

Meditation helps kids’ anxiety because of the above-mentioned functional increases in the brain that help reduce anxious thoughts. In addition to its effects on the brain, meditation also helps kids reduce anxiety because of the practice itself.

Meditation is a relaxing practice, often involving quiet, soft music, soothing visualizations, guided meditative stories, and other calming practices. The time spent in quiet relaxation via meditation teaches kids skills that reduce symptoms of anxiety.

The skills kids learn in meditation help them better understand and identify their feelings. It also helps kids learn to manage their emotions in a healthy way.

Wee Meditate

Wee Meditate was created to bring kids the benefits of meditation, like reduced anxiety and increased emotional regulation. Unlike the random meditations you might find for kids, Wee Meditate teaches meditation through an immersive storybook world with recurring characters that meditate with kids. This means that children feel like they are meditating with a friend who they feel connected to.

Want some help getting started?

  • Before you start your nighttime routine, try listening to The Night Bridge*, a guided story meditation about peacefully transitioning from daytime to nighttime. Try listening after dinner, as kids begin to wind down from the activities of the day and get ready for bed.
  • Get cozy with Owl and the Moon*, a bedtime story where kids learn how to become friends with the night and reduce feelings of fright and worry at bedtime.

*Only available for Wee Meditate subscribers. Sign up or login to start listening.