Stress is part of life and can be a good thing. It’s the first line of defense in dangerous situations, and many of the effects of stress are positive, such as heightening our senses and giving us adrenaline. But it’s meant to be temporary.
Excessive or chronic stress can be very detrimental to our health, affecting how we think, act, and feel.
Like adults, children too can feel stress. Rates of stress in children are becoming even more widespread, and it can be hard to tell when those levels of stress are becoming overwhelming for our kids.
Stress can have physical effects as well as emotional ones, leading to obesity, chronic inflammation, and increased blood pressure. Chronic or prolonged stress in children can damage their lifelong health and cause changes in the brain architecture that increase anxiety, change moods, and decrease memory and mental agility.
The good news is that there are ways to battle stress and show children how to cope. As well as teaching kids more empathy and improving their relationships, reading has a significant role to play in reducing their stress and improving their psychological and emotional wellbeing.