Managing anxiety

I have just had a conversation with my seven year-old daughter that I have to share. We are moving house soon, which means she is going to start at a new school in September and, naturally, she is feeling rather apprehensive. The last couple of nights she has climbed into bed with me in the early hours of the morning and woken me up sharing her fears of what it will be like at the new school.

In keeping with my efforts to teach her mindfulness and inspired by something I read on Facebook the other day, at bedtime tonight, I filled a glass with water and gave it to her. I asked her to pretend that the water represented all her worries, and I requested that she hold the glass out in front of her. Very quickly she complained, “it’s heavy Mummy”.  So I asked her to imagine how heavy it might be if she held it out in front of her for 10 minutes, or an hour or even all night. Unsurprisingly she said, “I couldn’t! It’s way too heavy for me”.  So I said to her – “ok, so what do you think you could do with all these worries making the glass so heavy?” She thought for a minute, and then smiled. She poured the water down the sink and then beamed at me. “They are all gone Mummy,” she said.

How brilliant is that? So simple, yet such a valuable thing for her to learn at such a young age. We talked about how thoughts pop into our heads all the time, and that we get to choose whether or not to pay attention to them. So tonight, if she wakes up at 3am again, and starts to feel anxious, she has promised me she is going to imagine pouring her worries down the sink and instead think about eating chocolate ice cream every day of the summer holidays. Fingers crossed for a full nights sleep tonight and a happy little girl in the morning.

 

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