The classroom buzzes with tension on a test day. Many students handle the situation serenely, but others are absolutely freaking out. Nervous kids tend to trigger a chain reaction of anxiety, and sometimes even the calmest children can be drawn into the vortex of negative energy.
If you're a teacher, you know what I'm talking about. Maybe you've experienced a similar situation as a parent of an anxious kid. Of course, we all feel stressed and overwhelmed at times. Perhaps you've had moments when your plate seems impossibly full with responsibilities, schedule demands, and chaos. Any parent of a young child has likely lived through this scenario!
Let me suggest a strategy for helping your child and yourself manage a stressful situation. This is a mindfulness activity I use in the classroom. I also share this in my online course, "The Parent's Guide To Surviving Adolescence."
The next time you feel a great deal of stress or anxiety, close your eyes. Picture a television remote control. Pick it up, and "change the channel" to one of three channels you have created in your mind. Each channel represents something that is peaceful, meaningful, funny, supportive, or inspiring. Spend a few minutes watching this new channel. Allow yourself to be completely immersed in what you see and hear. In time, you will feel your mood completely change. Your mind will relax, allowing you to ace that test or conquer the challenge before you.
Sometimes I ask my sixth grade students to share their "channels" with me and with each other. These may be real or imagined. Here's a brief sample of their responses:
- Food Network
- The Beach Channel
- The Family And Friends Channel
- Playing With My Puppy
- The Mongolian Throat Singing Channel (seriously!)
- The Tranquility Channel
- The Baseball Channel
- Sunset In The Mountains
- The Skiing Channel
- Animal Planet
- The Rain Forest Channel
- Ending World Hunger
- The Prayer Channel
- The Channel Where UNC Loses All The Time (this is not one of my favorites....)
- A Time-Lapse Of Flowers Blooming In A Large Field
- Scoring The Winning Goal
- The Fishing Channel
- The Cookie Channel
As you can see, there are many possible "channels" that bring us inner peace. If you try this activity with the kids in your life, I'd love to hear how it goes! Feel free to share your feedback and experiences with me on Twitter and Facebook.