School-anxious students should use mindfulness techniques

Back to school can be a stressful and anxious time for students, but a local psychologist has some helpful tips.

“I have a lot of patients who worry about their kids going to college,” said Dr. Valeria Martinez-Kaigi, a clinical psychologist at St. Vincent’s Medical Center.

Martinez-Kaigi says this is the time of year when parents should take stock of what’s going on with their children.

“Just validate their children’s concerns and then provide compassion and support for their concerns,” Martinez-Kaigi said.

Martinez-Kaigi says there are mindfulness techniques that students of most ages can use.

“One is called a body scan. This can take anywhere from two to 20 minutes, during which they register and start at the top of the head and work their way down the body to the toes and just in the moment, check in, and it kind of helps regulate their whole nervous system,” Martinez-Kaigi said.

She says the other is deep breathing exercises that can help children focus and reset part of the nervous system.

Martinez-Kaigi says that since COVID, it’s especially important for kids to be back in school.

“Children do better when they socialize,” Martinez-Kaigi said.

Doctors say if you’re looking for more information on this, UCLA has its own mindful app you can download. There is also

Doctors say that if parents feel stressed and anxious, their children will too.

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