One of my very young (7-year-old) students was experiencing a variety of worries and anxiety symptoms. We learned and practiced a number of strategies, including identifying red thoughts that increase anxiety, and green thoughts that lower anxiety.
One of his more challenging symptoms was panicky sensations, such as sweating, shivering, shaking, breathing heavily, heart beating fast, feeling hot, etc. He’d get these symptoms randomly, and sometimes in response to having to practice something he was very uncomfortable and afraid of doing, such as going to a friend’s house or going to a birthday party.
The problem with the onslaught of these symptoms was that he now had two problems instead of one:
Having to practice something anxiety-provoking
Panicking about his panicky symptoms
We played the game of coming up with different thoughts and stories you can tell about your physiological symptoms, especially the green stories. (He liked the word “physiological” so we used that term.)
I didn’t see him for a few weeks as the holiday schedule had gotten in the way. But when he came back last week, he and his mom reported that the panicky symptoms had subsided for several weeks already. He appeared calm and confident, and I was more than a bit surprised as I knew how much of a struggle it had been for him. So I asked him for his tricks that really did it. And this is what he proudly, confidently, and smilingly shared! (He helped me decorate and design these mini-posters.)
Here’s a shout-out to the very brave and generous Maurice who gave me permission to share his tricks! I’ll share some of his other strategies over the next few weeks.
Have a calm and confident week!