With summer on its way, we thought we’d pick a super fun and inexpensive soother the whole family can enjoy: bubbles! A particularly good technique for helping young kids manage their anxiety, blowing bubbles forces you to inhale deeply and exhale powerfully—which is exactly what everyone is trying to get you to do when you are anxious or overwhelmed (or delivering a baby).
Besides encouraging deep breathing, bubbles are colorful and relaxing to look at. And they can really be fun to do with your kids (or even other adults). There are all kinds of bubble games you can play, including contests to see who can create the biggest, longest-lasting, prettiest, shaped like a heart, bubble-within-a-bubble, etc.
Another way to use bubbles to diffuse anxiety is to visualize blowing your anxiety away. We have used this method with kids and teenagers, and it is really effective. In fact, we often encourage teachers to keep bubbles in their classrooms for an anxiety break.
When you want to teach young children breathing exercises, use bubbles. Explain to them that when we are anxious, we take rapid, shallow breaths so one way to calm anxiety is to take slow and deep breaths. Let them use bubbles to practice inhaling and exhaling slowly. (This way when they don’t have bubbles in front of them, you can refer to the breath pattern and they can blow invisible bubbles).
If you still aren’t convinced, blowing bubbles is also a terrific distraction from obsessive thinking and worry. Believe it or not, it requires some concentration to blow a good bubble—enough to guide your mind away from anxious thoughts.