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. (All of them all at once is too big a post so I am splitting it over several days.)
21. “Worrying is helpful, sometimes.” This is important to acknowledge. This coming Monday I am starting a new school year. I will have a new assignment. I don’t know what it is yet. I am worried about remembering how to log in. Thinking out what I need to do to be prepared to start. I put together my back pack of supplies. Found my ID lanyard. Put my car parking hanger back on the rear view mirror. I am using my worry as a checklist of what I need to do to get ready. Other things I can’t do much about. I have a brain tumor that I am monitoring the progress. MRIs every 2 years. Worrying about it won’t help because I can’t do anything about it. I named my brain tumor Brian because we are going to be hanging out together for a long time. Two things to worry bout with two different approaches.
22. “What does your thought bubble say?” Part of the job of my counselor was to get me to pay attention and sort out my thoughts about a situation. By putting your view of your thoughts into a third person perspective you can sometimes get a better handle on what you are feeling. If I need to put my thoughts into actual words, I am better at sorting out what I can do something about and what I need to do to sit with that emotion. I miss my therapist helping me sort out my collage of thoughts. I have used Think Maps to help me out. I use these with the high school students and they work well for me too. This is a link to a printable PDF of common think maps used for organizing thoughts. http://cedar-wmu.edenpr.org/rrice/files/2012/03/Thinking-Map-Templates.pdf This article gives a brief description of each type of thinking map. http://www.dvusd.org/cms/lib011/AZ01901092/Centricity/Domain/1535/what-are-thinking-maps.pdf
23. “Let’s find some evidence.” What evidence verifies that what I am worried about? Am I worried about rain tomorrow, go to a weather web page and check out what the weather forecast predicts. Worried about my healthy, look up information and see my doctor. Worried about something happening look for evidence that this might be true. Being worried about a problem and doing nothing increases the feeling of anxiety. Sometimes more knowledge about a situation can relieve some anxiety.
24. “Let’s have a debate.” WHAT??????? When I first realized that my counselor was egging me on to argue about a problem I faced I was stunned. I thought he was supposed to help me stop arguments not start them. What is helpful about a debate is it is a more formal type of argument. I need to have my facts straight. I explore how I feel. My sister and I often debate back and forth on many issues. Testing the validity of our perspectives help us to see where we might improve our choices, do research, or ponder over what we believe. Doing this with teenagers is an amazing experience when handled with compassion. Have definite ground rules on how to disagree without being disagreeable.
25. “What is the first piece we need to worry about?” Making mole hills out of mountains. Too often I overwhelm myself by looking at the big, huge, monstrous picture all at once. Cut the problems down to size by seeing how much can be done at one time. I took a drawing class….please understand that I was terrible at drawing when I started. One of the assignments was to take a photograph draw a grid on it and use the grid to create the drawing. Instead of thinking about the whole drawing, I focused on a inch square. Yes it took 40 hours to complete the drawing but I did it a little at a time.
26. “Let’s list all of the people you love.” I used to do this with my kids. I try to remember to do this will myself, especially when I had a difficult boss pointing out my every flaw. Knowing that this negativity came from one person and other people loved me helped me to recognize that this was just one opinion. I include Jesus and Heavenly Father on my list of those that love me. Knowing that love is there makes it slightly easier for me to tackle a problem. I feel like someone has my back.
27. “Remember when…” Remembering success help me to feel like I can handle another challenge. I created a warm fuzzy box to store good events. Too often in the name of false humility I discount when I do things right. Reviewing times that I did succeed helps build my confidence. I need to be my own best cheering squad.
28. “I am proud of you already.” My friend reminded me today if this principle. She remarked that she felt more confident trying things in my presence because the outcome didn’t change my friendship with her. My counselor did the same thing, he assured me over and over that no matter what I told him or how much I failed his regard for me didn’t change. My karate teacher sets up the same atmosphere of learning without using like and dislike as a whip. Not needing to win approval is powerful.
29. “We’re going for a walk.” Take myself for a walk, dance, karate, or any other body movement works. Doing it with someone else is an added bonus of feeling distracted and focusing on the other person. Exercise is a miracle drug that many refuse to take. My daughter taught me to make it fun she enrolled me in her Zumba class. I learned the fun body movement doesn’t feel like exercise at all.
30. “Let’s watch your thought pass by.” I had to read the explanation for this one to understand what they meant. This is a simple visualization of putting your worries on a train and sending them off…..”By problems and worry, don’t come back.” Visualizations are great. This one sounds fun to try.
To be continued.