How the Heart-Brain Connection will Increase Resilience and Reduce Anxiety for Families (HPC: E93)

We’re all about connection at Kids Cook Real Food, and today we get to learn about how to connect the heart and the brain to improve your physical, mental, and emotional health!

The HeartMath Institute is all about the heart, not mushy-gushy stuff but real science-backed strategies to bring more heart to the world.

In today’s conversation with Director of Education Jeff Goelitz, you’ll learn:

  • How the heart plays a role in people’s lives.
  • What heart-focused breathing is, why it helps, and how to do it (so simple!).
  • How stress affects kids (and what they really need from their parents).
  • Some simple strategies to increase resilience and GRIT in our kids

FREE DOWNLOAD: 10 Foods that Fight Depression

  • Why we need to keep the heart in our habits, not just our reactions
  • How heart-focused strategies help kids in school (and why this is direly needed right now)
  • One practical step (ok, he begged for two) that you can take TODAY to get your family started on healthier mental habits and resilience

No time to watch the whole video? Here are the notes!

Heart-Brain Connection Video Time Stamps

  • 0:35: Today on the Healthy Parenting Connector I’m talking to Jeff Goelitz, the  Director of Education at the HeartMath Institute.
  • 1:58: Jeff shares his background and how he became interested in stress education.
  • 5:04: HeartMath is an interesting name. We get into the background and the mission of the company.

Your heart is defined as “the center of yourself.” It is a source of wisdom, comfort and compassion. -Jeff Goelitz

Your heart communicates with your brain more than your brain communicates to your heart. -Jeff Goelitz

  • 7:36: Neurocardiology is the study of how the heart and brain connect. Your heart secretes hormones and the electrical rhythms of the heart communicate its physical and emotional status.

Using Your Breath to Reduce Stress

  • 8:38: HeartMath uses the phrase “heart-centered breathing.” What does that mean? Jeff walks us through how to do it.
  • 11:33: As anxiety increases in children, they’re having difficulty focusing and learning. Self-regulation and social-emotional education is more important than ever.
  • 12:49: Using your breath to reduce stress can be helpful in the moment, but it also needs to be a regular habit to get regular benefits. You can also use breathing to prepare yourself before heading into a stressful situation.

It is a necessity these days for parents and kids to learn these skills as they cope with our fast-paced lives. -Jeff Goelitz

  • 14:19: We’re filming this interview during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stress is high among parents and kids.

Identifying Stress in Kids

  • 14:43: Kids experience stress differently based on their age. For younger kids, they can’t articulate what they’re feeling so you need to interpret their behaviors.

Encourage your kids to talk about their emotions by modeling it for them. -Jeff Goelitz

  • 16:34: Jeff gives some ideas for stress-relieving breaks: take a walk, get out in nature, focus on your breathing, or play with your kids.
  • 17:06: As parents are so used to instructing our kids, but we also need to listen so that they feel heard and understood.

Help Kids Relieve Stress

  • 18:25: It’s important to give kids some quiet time for a walk, board game, and face-to-face interaction. Sharing daily gratitude lists with your family helps relieve stress.

Kids need quiet time to help manage stress - even if it seems boring. -Jeff Goelitz

  • 20:34: It’s easy to default to negativity and blame. You have to work to focus on the positive. Small daily habits can help integrate positivity and gratitude into your life.

We want our kids to have grit, strength, and the ability to bounce back from disappointment. That’s where we grow. That’s where our character develops. -Jeff Goelitz

  • 21:55: Having specific strategies to alleviate stress and anxiety is so helpful for kids and teens. School is a huge stressor academically and socially. Jeff is seeing more and more schools incorporating self-regulation skills in their programs.

FREE DOWNLOAD: 10 Foods that Fight Depression

  • 25:50: HeartMath just launched a program for 4-6-year-olds called HeartSmarts Adventure. Jeff tells us a bit about the program and how it can benefit your kids.
  • 29:33: We leave you with two practical steps you can take today for better heart-brain health.

Resources we Mention for Heart-Brain Health

I’m an affiliate for HeartMath, but that doesn’t change your price!

Jeff Goelitz

Jeffrey Goelitz is currently Director of Education at the HeartMath Institute. He regularly consults with education professionals, mental health specialists, and parents around the U.S., Mexico, and Canada to improve youth well-being, parent-child communication and classroom climate and performance. Part of his ongoing responsibility includes curriculum development, training, and research collaboration.

He has created and contributed to numerous educational curricula and programs designed to improve social and emotional learning. Goelitz is the co-author of Using emWave Technology For Children With ADHD, The College De-Stress Handbook, Transforming Stress for Teen, The Smart Brain Wise Heart online program, and the new preschool-first grade program, HeartSmarts Adventure.

Currently, he is the lead interventionist for a Center for Disease Control federal research grant to curb violence with middle school students in partnership with the University of Chicago and the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Relieve stress with the heart-brain connection

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