A post on Facebook led to a link to an article with 49 phrases to use to calm an anxious child. I am going to explain how these can be used to calm an anxious adult, especially yourself: (My inner child needed lots of calming, especially when I was in counseling and remembering my past.) I am using the phrases suggested by the article and how I might apply it to myself. You might find other ways to use these phrases.
1. “Can you draw it?” In my algebra class my teacher had me draw out pictures for story problems. 50% of a solution is knowing how to define it. Can you draw it helps adults to creatively view a problem.
2. “I love you. You are safe.” This is a phrase I needed to learn to say to myself. I needed to accept that I am the adult now and I can keep myself safe. Hard to believe when my care givers as a child were the ones to hurt me. I also worked very hard to learn to love myself. No easy task when I didn’t feel loved.
3. “Let’s pretend we’re blowing up a giant balloon. We’ll take a deep breath and blow it up to the count of 5.” Sometimes I need to count much higher than 5…sometimes 10…..100….maybe 10,000. Helps to do this with children present then other adults are not looking at you oddly.
4. “I will say something and I want you to say it exactly as I do: ‘I can do this.’” Do this 10 times at variable volume. I think I can, I think I can….has proven to work over and over. Sometimes I rephrase it to “I can do anything for 5 minutes.” Power of positive thinking is amazing.
5. “Why do you think that is?” This is powerful question. Sometimes we become habit zombies and we don’t question why do you think that is and should it stay that way? Figure out the why and you might be able to figure out more than one solution. Air door (Pace in the wall with air flowing to keep the cold air in and the hot air out) were invented when they tried to find another way to get into a building without using a door.
6. “What will happen next?” Looking to the future. Think about what will happen next and you can start to anticipate and prepare for what is coming. Children do not consider the future. As an adult, I had to learn this skill. It is a skill so it can be learned.
7. “We are an unstoppable team.” Build your team…really, friends, trusted family, other professionals, adults call this networking and use your team. Froglogic explains the importance of this on their web page. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rPdft4z23w
8. Have a battle cry: “I am a warrior!”; “I am unstoppable!”; or “Look out World, here I come!” Different organizations have different battle cheers. You hear battle cries in sports.. but sometimes we forget that there are other battlefields to over come. Choose your battle cry. This year mine is “ALL IN.” In my mind I shout, “ALL IN,” that shoots me past that negative tape mumbling I’m not good enough, I can’t do this or that. Yes, I say it inside my head and not out loud because this about me and not about them.
9. “If how you feel was a monster, what would it look like?” Describe your own negative feelings. Many cultures and families teach us to suppress negative feelings. Describe what you are feeling, let it be real to you so it can be recognized, processed, and then decide what needs to be done next. Suppressing feelings only makes things much worse. Drawing pictures of what it looks like I found to be helpful. Art is a powerful way to release intense feelings.
10. “I can’t wait until _____.” Generate excitement instead of fear. After studying emotions and my reactions I discovered that excitement and fear generate very similar physical responses. Switching from anxiety producing event to one that is filled with excitement is a change in perspective, some people call it changing your attitude. I am anxious about school starting so I am getting excited about what my new challenges might be. Perspective well used is a powerful ally.
Post is getting long so I will continue with this tomorrow.