Anxiety and stress - Are they useful?

Anxiety and stress - Are they useful?


The simple answer is yes. They do not always feel good, but they are feelings that can help.


They can help when you are aware of what they do to you physically and mentally.




Imagine a time when your parental anxiety and stress was 11 out of 10.



Maybe you cannot see the littlest one at the beach.


Perhaps the tallest one has just fallen out of a tree and isn’t moving.


The middle child is running towards the road.




All of those circumstances would cause anxiety and stress. You cannot prevent this, it is the flight or fight response that the body creates through releasing a multitude of hormones and chemicals, such as adrenaline to prepare you to respond to an intense situation. The release increases breathing and pulse rate, this allows an increased reaction time as the brain and muscles are primed for action. They make you ready to deal with any situation.


The fight or flight response is a double-edged sword, you can get too primed for action, you can act without thinking or it can lead to panic. Instead of helping it can hinder.


It is important to be able to take a deep breath as the flight or fight response kicks in. The deep breath allows for a few seconds to decide on the correct course of action. A deep breath will always help in any situation where you feel stress and anxiety rising, it does not need to be a life-threatening moment, it could be because Mr 4 years has gotten out of bed for the tenth time or poured maple syrup on the dog.


Take a deep breath and allow yourself some thinking time.


How does the fight or flight response effect you?


If you lost sight of your little one on the beach, how would you act?

Would you scream and run in a random direction grabbing at children on the way?

Would you head towards the water, find a lifeguard, ask people to help look?

Which way would be more productive?


If you saw your child fall from a tree, how would act?

Would you shout at the nearest person for help and then shout at the child to wake up?

Would you be able to follow a structured approach (as taught on Little CPR courses) to get help and treat any immediate issues?

Which way would be more productive?


The take-home message from this is to be aware of how anxiety and stress affect you. Practice taking a deep breath, imagine what you would do and how you would feel in stressful situations then practice deep breathing again.


Questions to a 5-year-old.


What makes you stressed?


When I get pulled, at school. Someone on one arm then the other pulls pow, super strong. *Demonstrates being pulled.


Editor’s note – I believe this was stretched not stressed. *Deep breath