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Self-regulation resources and training to support children’s mental health

Relax Kids and the Brain

For a long time now I have been helping children and families manage their emotions and stress levels, both at school and in the home. Becoming a Relax Kids coach helped me further my skills and empower children and families in being calmer, more self-aware and generally happier.

Over the last few years I have become a bit of a neuroscience junkie, reading and digesting everything I can about the brain. We are at such an exciting time in this field with the ability to see what is happening inside the brain with the use of functional MRI scans and years of research on the effect of modern life including STRESS on our brains, in particular on a child’s developing brain.

I started to see the perfect marriage between Relax Kids and Brain Science.

The beauty of RK is that it has a profound effect when done regularly as children are learning the art of mindfulness.

Stress was thought of as something that only adults felt or had to deal with but anxiety and stress has become one of the main underlying triggers of all behavioural issues. We all release the stress hormone cortisol when we feel fearful about any situation that we feel unsure of but when this is activated at high levels for too long, the world can be a very scary and hostile place.

These high levels of cortisol can make us feel overwhelmed, miserable, threatened and colour everything we do. Adrenaline and noradrenaline can also have a strong impact on our moods as they are both telling the heart to pump faster and harder.

A well-known neuroscientist Candice Pert says ‘Each one of us has his or her own finest drugstore available at the cheapest cost; to produce all the drugs we ever need to run our body and mind’; she goes on to say that unfortunately this is interrupted and stunted by relational stress in childhood. We want opioids and oxytocin to be jointly activated in the brain as these neurochemicals can bring us the deepest sense of calm and happiness.

Over time these are the chemicals released in a Relax Kid’s session through the unique seven step programme.

Many of the children I work with have not had the advantage of a secure attachment so their internal alarm system is hypersensitive; they have never learnt to regulate. This is where RK has such an important role as it enables children to become in tune with their bodies and emotions.

It gives them the skills to regulate and therefore become happier and confident in their ability to respond rather than react to life.

I believe Relax Kids is a life skill that needs to be on the curriculum as it will give children the confidence and strategies to navigate through life in an emotionally intelligent manner.

Regulation is the key to successful relationships; everyone needs Relax Kids in their life!

Ana Arroyave – Home School Link Academy Worker