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small child blowing bubbles

Bubbling Frustration


What happens to unresolved frustration?

Feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, or anxious is unavoidable, whether age, gender, or circumstance. There are plenty of ways to experience irritation, like being cut off in traffic or waiting on hold for more than an hour on a call with customer service. In a lot of those situations, we are almost powerless to remedy our annoyance or even have any impact on it. So, what most people do, or are taught to do, is to hold it in and sit with it.

Letting frustration stew and fester can foster tremendous toxicity that was never needed in the first place. Those feelings build up more and more until those uncomfortable feelings bubble to the brim and thus must be released in one way or another. Maybe it is releasing it all at once with one big yell, having a confrontation with the next person you meet, or even feeling anxious for the rest of the day. You might think that you have the maturity, the coping tools or even general awareness to combat emotional impulsiveness. You probably do, but there is an ever-growing population that doesn’t have that or will not learn those tools until much later.

Giving children tools for self expression.

Many children will go through most of their childhood and adolescence, not knowing how to verbalize or express when they feel overwhelmed or anxious in a healthy way. I think teaching children or adolescents any exercise or method to help manage those types of feelings is crucial. One of the most tried and true methods is controlling one’s breathing. While there are numerous breathing techniques, styles, methods, etc. not too many of them help with visualizing one’s breath.


The Power of Bubbles.

Bubble Breathing is exactly what it sounds like, blowing bubbles to help people calm their breathing. While this visual is used mostly with children, I think anyone can benefit from this fun technique. Blowing bubbles is an activity that never really gets old no matter your age. There is something intrinsically appealing about blowing bubbles and seeing them pop. In order to master the art of bubble blowing and producing a satisfying collection of bubbles you must shape your mouth in an “O” fashion and blow. That specific moment right there calms your breath without even doing it on purpose. Children will need to practice this to use it on their own when feeling frustrated or anxious. You can even take this one step further and have your child practice blowing the biggest bubble they can or change it up for multiple large bubbles. That is a challenging task because it requires focusing on slow inhaling and breathing. Too fast, and it will leave the wand, too slow, and it might not gain size. Finding that right rhythm and speed can help your kid learn his or her own breathing pattern.

The reason why this exercise is so helpful is that parents or even the whole family can join in on the fun. Taking ten to fifteen minutes out of a busy workday to spend time with your child to blow bubbles can leave you feeling better about yourself too. Being able to talk to your child about the importance of verbalizing uncomfortable feelings can lead to healthier learned communication habits. Doing fun and light hearted exercises like this will let your child pick up on the fact that you care about how they feel even if they’re not happy, and that it’s safe to talk to you about their feelings. Lastly, at the end of the day giving your child the time to blow bubbles, talk, and laugh with you are priceless and endearing memories that will stick with them.

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