Girl Group | Tool Box Training | Wk 3
We all have worries. We worry about the future, about the past, about what people will think, what we are doing, how we are feeling. We worry about the world, our families and friends and our relationships. We worry we won’t be up to the task of school, work, life. Worrying is normal.
In Friday’s session of “Tool Box Training” we worked to help the girls understand that while worried thoughts may persist, we have the power to change our behavior.
We began the session with some charades – acting the girls showed us their worries. As in every Girl Group, the other participants were encouraged to show agreement and understanding and shared experience by raising their hands and wiggling their fingers. These “jazz hands” provide a silent acknowledgement and create a feeling of deep connectedness. Knowing that we are not alone is one step to beginning to manage our worries. Fingers wiggled as the girls mimed being lonely, failing a test, feeling bullied and being lost.
We talked about how action might help manage worries. Working backwards from the problem is a great way to brainstorm solutions. For example: “I’m worried about failing my math test.” We talked about the action steps we might take to put this worry to bed. Worry can sometimes be healthy. It can act as a motivator. Worry about failing a math test may push us to study harder, ask more questions and be more prepared.
When action fails to manage worries, we tried DISTRACTION – we worked with tools to disrupt the spiral of worried thought. Mindfulness is a terrific tool to pull us out of the worry loop. Using the five senses, we landed ourselves in the space. We noticed the feeling of our bottoms on the cushion, took note of the color blue in the room, focused on the smell and taste of our tea. Grounding the body helps to focus the mind.
Creating a concrete metaphor is our way of bringing the mind and body together. We encouraged the girls to draw their worries on clear plastic and then put them into the “Magical Shrinking Machine” (aka the toaster oven.) The girls were delighted to watch their worries shrivel and shrink away. We watched bullies contract to fraction of their original size and classroom projects almost disappear.
Over spring break, try out one of our strategies with your family:
THINK: How can we re-frame the worry? Can it be a motivator? A question? A call to action? TALK: Ask a friend, parent or teacher how they managed or re-framed a big worry. Write: In your notebook, write a list of your worries using the tiniest letters you can write. Write them again, even smaller. Shrink your worries down. Keep them in your notebook where they can’t bother you. Do: Tighten every muscle in your body. Your arms and legs and neck and face. Tighten. Tighten. Count to five. Release all your muscles. Feel the relief. Be: As you breathe, imagine your worry is a balloon. With each breath you take, see the air leave the balloon. As your worry shrinks, your body becomes full and comfortable.
Tanya and Wesley
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