I recently read a post in the Yoga Calm blog about childhood stress. The ways that yoga helps relieve stress are numerous but today I am not writing about yoga. What caught my attention when reading this post though was a paragraph on how important it is to feel socially connected. Feeling alone translates to feeling helpless and feeling helpless leads to stress.

Last year my son had a socially tough year. Always thinking himself part of the soccer playing recess crowd, he suddenly had to find a new group when his asthma got out of control and the game became a negative experience due to running to the nurse struggling for breath repeatedly. Because of a couple of extra-curricular activities, my work schedule and allergy shots, play dates were just not possible which did not help the friend situation. After almost the entire school year of shadowing the tough kid in the class during recess, he decided to break away from him as he realized that he didn’t want to have that kind of reputation. So he was, by Springtime, more or less alone.

This feeling of lack of connection absolutely lead to feelings of stress. He would say his life was stressful and I would think about his school work and swimming and drum lessons and wonder how? Is he too busy? No, he was feeling alone.

Summer hit and he spent the first three weeks at sailing camp. He started to go to the adult sailboat races with his dad as crew and got to know some of the kids that raced at camp. He was accepted into this very cool group of sailboat racers. He felt connected to a new community. He then went to sleep away camp and was the youngest camper to race sailboats as a hobby and again was accepted by these older campers in their community.

By the time the school year began, my kid was a new boy. He has started this year with a confidence I have never seen before and has taken on student council, safety patrol and band. These new activities, although requiring extra time are not adding to his stress at all. The new activities all create new communities for him to feel a part of and he is off to a year of feeling in control and on top of his world.