Tips on how you can reduce your child’s anxiety

21st July 2021

Written by Justin Goddard

Many children, not just those with autism and other neurodevelopment and neurological conditions, experience anxiety and stress. To help set-up your child’s day for success, consider getting up early and going for a 10 – 30 minute walk outdoors. It doesn’t need to be very long, nor does it need to be vigorous. It’s not a cardio session, its just forward movement in an early light outdoor environment.

Studies have shown that:

  1. Walking (or even riding a bike) where you generate forward motion yourself  ie not getting pushed or carried and the optic flow that comes with it (ie the images passing by that generate lateral eye movement) reduces neural activity in the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for feelings of fear, anxiety and stress;
  2. Exposure to early morning light (not through windows, but actually being outside) starts the circadian clock, which is important for the health of every cell in your body. Some of the benefits of early morning light exposure include: better focus in the morning; setting up the melatonin pathways (which will help with sleep that night); and triggering production of serotonin and dopamine (which helps you feel good).

Try it out for a week and see if you notice a difference. The good news is that not only will your child benefit from this as a before school preparation, but you will too!

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