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  • Writer's pictureApril Avey Trabucco

Healthy Outlets for Anxiety: Part II

Welcome back. Part II of our focus on Anxiety includes more insight from Bainbridge Island educators, mentors, and coaches who play key roles with youth in our community.

You can read part I here.

For a deeper dive into the issue of anxiety, join us for a screening of ANGST: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety on Wednesday, January 29 at 7pm @ Bainbridge Cinemas. Anxiety is real, common, and treatable. Let's talk about it. Tickets are on sale now.


Outlet: Sports

Ian McCallum, Bainbridge Island FC Director of Coaching

A balanced environment with time to process allows kids to be challenged and competitive without the fear of failing.

The longer I'm involved in youth sports, the more I value the importance of parents in their child's health and development. Our student-athletes have huge academic expectations from parents, peers, and themselves. Parents hold the key to creating a balanced environment. It is important that parents ensure that their children have an environment where they can be challenged while also competitive without the fear of failing.

Too often I hear false compliments or overly negative comments to children. I would encourage parents not to dive into the analysis of a sporting event immediately following the game. I encourage parents to give their child time to process their performance and then give the child the opportunity to open the discussion.

Outlet: Art

Denise M. Dumouchel, PhD, Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network Executive Director

Creating art, and making things in general, can calm the nerves.

“Between summer programs, Teen Nights, and Middle School Maker Mondays, BARN is seeing a growing interest among youth in spending time at BARN with their friends.

Studies have shown that creating art, and making things in general, can calm the nerves and build a sense of self-worth. ‘The act of creation can reduce stress and anxiety and improve your mood,’ says Girija Kaimal, a professor at Drexel University and a leading researcher in art therapy. ‘And flexing our creative side can give us a stronger sense of agency — the ability to solve problems by imagining possible solutions.’ (from NPR's LIFE KIT Making Art Is Good For Your Health. Here's How To Start A Habit January 7, 2020, MALAKA GHARIB).”

Outlet: Fun

Drew Hansen, Washington State Representative District 23

Fun is the ultimate hedge.

"There's a great line from Richard Thaler (Univ. Chicago economist): 'Fun is the ultimate hedge.' He said it in the context of advising Chicago graduates about choosing a career--don't overthink what businesses will be profitable but rather where you'll have the most fun--but it works for parenting too.

What do I know (nothing), but I'm a big fan of not over-thinking questions like "how should we spend time together as a family" or "how should we parent our kids" or "how should we help the kids deal with academic pressure" but just deciding to do stuff where everyone is going to have fun: binge-watching the Mandalorian as a family; running a Dungeons & Dragons game for your kids' friends; going to go eat dumplings in Seattle; etc."

Outlet: Singing

Shannon Dowling, BISA Vocal Studio

Expectations should focus on mental health first so we can not only build resilience, but thrive.

“Every approach is not going to be a fit for every person. We need to try on different approaches until we find the ones that works.

Some of my students tell me that singing is their therapy, while others have another favorite activity or focus on breathing exercises, sleep, or better nutrition to improve how they are feeling emotionally.

Trust them to know what they need, make sure they know you are there when they are unsure, and see and hear who the individuals you are raising are when you interact with them.

A common thread I hear from teens that refuse help from their parents is, “they don’t trust me.” Trust them to know what they need and make sure they know you are there when they are unsure. Let them know that you see and hear who they are as individuals. Let them know that you respect their intelligence and ability to self-regulate as they transition to independence. The expectations we set for them should focus on mental health first so we can help them not only build resilience but help them thrive.”

#anxiety #angst #bainbridgeislandparents #raisingresilience

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