Olson's Martial Arts - February 2020

VALENTINE’S LESSONS

TALKING TO YOUR ADOLESCENT ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS

boundaries. “One of the big lessons we want to be sending to kids at any age is that there are two people to consider,” he writes, explaining that adolescents tend to only focus on their own feelings and need to learn to consider how their crush may feel about them. This awareness might prevent them from overstepping someone else’s comfort zone. RESPECTING THEMSELVES At the same time, kids and teens should know the importance of respecting their own feelings. Setting boundaries can be especially important when your child is confronted with an unwanted Valentine’s Day card or request for a date and feels pressured to reciprocate. “Boundary setting is imperative to learn during adolescence because it is a time of identity formation,” writes Dr. Marilyn Price-Mitchell in Psychology Today. “Healthy boundaries allow teens to feel respected, valued, and empowered to build positive relationships in their lives.” It also helps them handle uncomfortable social situations with grace and maturity.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, stores are filled with chocolates, stuffed animals, and cards for significant others. Love is in the air! Even though you may not realize it, your kids may also be feeling the pressure. Crushes, dates, and broken hearts are part of their lives, too, but they may struggle to talk with you about it. Thankfully, developmental experts have weighed in on how to approach these important and delicate conversations. NO LAUGHING MATTER Judith Myers-Walls, professor emeritus of child development at Purdue, urges parents not to treat their kids’ crushes as silly. We may know these early expressions of love aren’t that serious in the long run, but to an adolescent, the emotions are very powerful. “They are very easily embarrassed about those feelings,” Myers-Walls observes, “so parents and other adults should be respectful and not tease about those issues.” Rather than make kids feel ashamed of these early romantic feelings, let them know you’re there to talk to them about it. RESPECTING OTHERS Dr. David Anderson, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, believes it’s especially important to talk to adolescents about respecting

BREATHE IN, BREATHE OUT THE BENEFITS OF CONSCIOUSLY DRAWING BREATH

Breathing is something we do subconsciously, and that’s a good thing. If we had to concentrate on inhaling and exhaling throughout the day, it’d be hard to focus on anything else. But there are moments in our lives where focusing on and learning to control our breathing is helpful. REDUCE STRESS AND ANXIETY When you experience stress and anxiety, it increases your heart rate, raises blood pressure, and makes it increasingly difficult to focus on everyday tasks. This is why it’s a good practice to take a few minutes after work to sit somewhere quiet and focus on your breath. Instead of focusing on what caused you to stress that day, focus on the present moment, on each breath you draw in, and on the exhale. Hopefully, this repeated action is all that’s needed to melt your troubles away. BREATHING TECHNIQUES There are many techniques people can practice to improve their breathing. No matter which one you use, it’s important to start with attention breathing — when you notice the way your body naturally breathes. Every person has a different way of breathing, and when you observe the way you breathe, it gives you what you need to shape it consciously. First, sit somewhere quiet where you can focus on your breath. Pay attention to the way air enters your body, fills your lungs, and

is then expelled. Become aware of the rhythm of your breath, and you’ll not only relax but also pinpoint any breathing habits you have, which you can then alter. DEEP BREATHING One of the best methods of breathing is known as deep breathing. Like it sounds, this is when you take several deep, cleansing breaths. The key to this type of breathing is to draw breath deep into the stomach rather than the chest. Your breath should come in through the nose and into your stomach, which should expand, while your chest moves very little. Exhale through the mouth, expelling as much air as you possibly can. Deep breathing is used not only as one of the most impactful means to relax but also to help focus people training in martial arts. The students at Olson’s Martial Arts Academy learn how to breathe through the many forms we teach at our school. To benefit from our classes in physical and mental health, call our office at 423-926-9161 and enroll today.

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