A Special Gift for Parents of Children with Special Needs: A Deep Breath

The best gift you can give yourself is a deep breath.


Deep breathing is the most natural way to manage anxiety and stress. It is with you at all times, does not require a prescription, and can be used again and again without any side effects. Deep breathing is healthy and anyone can do it – parents, kids, teachers, bus drivers, babysitters, grandparents and even your pets can take deep breaths (Yes, my cat takes deep breaths).


In the midst of a crisis in your family what is everyone typically doing? Yelling? Crying? Stamping feet? I bet no one is taking a deep breath.


But what if you did ? What if someone stopped and just breathed in a long and slow and let the breath out quickly with a “whoosh?” If you just stopped talking, yelling, crying and took a few deep breaths what would happen?


First, everyone would slow down. You cannot yell, nag or cry when taking a deep breath.


Second, few words would be swirling around allowing people to collect their thoughts and maybe proceed a little more logically.


Third, you would feel more relaxed, your heart rate would slow down and you would feel much less stress and anxiety. As the parent, when you model deep breathing in the midst of difficulty your children will follow your lead. You will feel calmer and able to think things through a little ore rationally, and so will your children.


Of course, deep breathing will not take away emotional or physical pain, eliminate stress, anxiety or grief, make homework or bullies disappear. A deep breath or two will allow you and  your family to face these challenges more calmly. The ability to stop, take a breath and think gives you more control over any situation.
I wish you the gift of many deep breath