Outside of the heat of a worry moment, you can let your child know that worry is the body's alarm system causing false alarms. Maybe a situation is a little bit risky or scary, but worry exaggerates so much that you feel afraid to try at all. It's like your mind is seeing everything through worry glasses, and makes you think of all the things that could go wrong, all the what if's?. Worry makes you feel like those bad things are likely, but just because you're feeling scared, doesn't mean the bad thing is going to happen. It's like your reading a scary story-you're going to feel scared, but it doesn't mean that you are in danger. You can learn to label your worry thoughts and treat them differently from your smart or rational thoughts. Worry is no voice to trust, but you have a choice. What if you heard the worry voice to the tune of "Old McDonald" or imagined a comedian like Adam Sandler saying the worry story-would you feel scared? Once you learn how to recognize the sound of worry, you can begin to feel free to take the power away from it. Overtime, you can turn down the volume on those worry thoughts and your brain will calm down and you will have a direct line to more calm, realistic thinking. If your mind tells you the true story about a situation, you will feel more confident approaching it because you know what the real risks are and that they are unlikely.
Idea Box: Have the child make two pair of glasses, the worry glasses,
and the smart glasses have him or her describe the situation through
the different glasses and highlight the differences;Use thought bubbles
to denote the "worry story" and the "smart story."
From Freeing Your Child from Anxiety by Tamar Chansky, Ph.D. (Broadway, 2004). All rights reserved.
Brought to you by The Children's and Adult Center for OCD and Anxiety.