I wonder how you feel today? Wild, worried, cross, stressed, anxious, fed up, angry?
What are 'uncomfortable feelings'?
Uncomfortable feelings are negative feelings that aren't enjoyable and make our bodies feel uncomfortable and our minds feel restless. At The Wonder Tree we prefer to use the term 'uncomfortable' rather than 'bad', 'monster' or 'big' feelings as we want children to understand that we all have a range of feelings and emotions and that all feelings/emotions are ok.
Recognition and Acceptance
A wide range of uncomfortable feelings will be affect us all at one time or another. Recognition and Acceptance of these uncomfortable feelings are the first steps to gaining control. We want our children to know that it is ok to feel these feelings. Life is not perfect and it is impossible to be happy all the time. Allow your child (and yourself) time to feel and name these uncomfortable feelings. One Tool to develop emotional literacy to help children to recognise, cope with and accept these uncomfortable feelings is the 'Personal Weather Report' tool.
Recognising and accepting are the first steps to relieving the tension that the uncomfortable feeling has created. Notice the sensations felt in the body such as the heart beating fast, holding the breath or muscles tensing. The result, your child may soon begin to notice their body relaxing. The feeling will then be easier, more comfortable fo your to sit with. Accepting these feelings without judgement will help our children to cope with the vast range of feelings that we all experience. "I am feeling stressed. I can feel my heart beating fast and my chest feels tight."
How to Become Comfortable with the Uncomfortable
'I am brave' is one of our Wonder Tree affirmations. Yoga teaches us that we are brave enough to cope with the uncomfortable sensations in our body that some of the poses create when we hold them. We talk about the difference between being in pain and being uncomfortable. This helps children to relate to the idea of uncomfortable feelings and the sensations they create inside our bodies. The children sub-consciously begin to understand that life isn't always comfortable, but that that's ok.
Through the 'The Awareness Tree' tool children learn that uncomfortable feelings are usually the result of a negative experience and can lead to negative thoughts. Through the 5C's Mindset tool we encourage open mindedness and curiousity about our uncomfortable feelings:
Wonder Tool: 5C's Mindset
The 5C's: Challenge, Change and Choices = Comfort and Control
At The Wonder Tree we empower children to challenge any negative thoughts, to remember that not all thoughts are facts!
Children learn that you can also change any negative thoughts for more positive ones. One of the Wonder Powers we encourage is for children to understand that they have the power of 'Mind Control'. We teach 'I can control my mind, I will not let my thoughts control me.' We practise mindfulness, meditation and mantra's to grow this Wonder Power.
We all have choices. I wonder what you will choose to do? You can either:
- stay with this uncomfortable feeling/worry and try and cope with it;
- distract yourself from it by practising self care or by doing something more positive;
- choose to be curious and explore why the uncomfortable feeling/worry is there. The tool we use to do this is 'Worry Windows'; or you can
- make a plan and take action, this we call our Positive Planning tool.
These 5C's will help to empower children. They will help them to gain control and comfort so that they can carry on with their day.
Wonder Tool: Worry Windows - Time to be with Uncomfortable Feelings
This tools let's children know that it is perfectly normal to worry, even if we don't want to we will probably do it anyway! The Worry Window tool is a form of self care and allows children to be with the uncomfortable feeling/worry. The Worry Window time is a short period of time during the day when your child can spend time recognising, naming and accepting their uncomfortable feelings and worries. They can explore the uncomfortable feeling and negative thoughts through either: self talk, talking to someone they trust, writing, drawing or journalling. Children can either choose to have a Worry Window time on their own or they can do it with you where you might share your own feelings in a child friendly way so that they know it’s ok to have uncomfortable feelings. Worry Window time might include exploring: What am I feeling? How do I know? How does my body show it? What thoughts am I experiencing? Why have I got this uncomfortable feeling? What happened? This time might help your child to discover the facts, add clarity or help to find a resolution. After attention has been given to the uncomfortable feeling/worry, let it go for a while and refocus your child's energy on more positive thoughts.