12 Dec

Our brains love stories! Some brains are more active storytellers than others😉

For example, my oldest and I have big imaginations- which can be useful- but it can also cause us trouble when the stories our brain tells us are not true or are scary. Like how after I watch a scary movie I convince myself someone or something is right outside the house and coming to get me.

Or when my brain tells me that people don't like me or that I am not good enough.

Or, as we are heading into the holiday season, my son's brain sets really high expectations for what is going to be under the Christmas tree (a 3D printer so he can make his own toys😬)

The strategy that we use in our house when any of the above examples pop up is to imagine our brains have a remote and WE are in control of that remote. When our brain starts telling a story, we can PAUSE, REWIND, FAST FORWARD, or STOP it all together.

Pausing gives us a chance to fact check the story. Rewinding gives us a chance to look for clues about the story's truthfulness. Fast-forwarding allows us to move past the scary part (but be careful, because our brains also can't tell the future - more on that later).

This strategy has been a lifesaver for me personally and my son as we both navigate anxiety.

About 2 years ago as we were nearing my son's birthday I could see him getting agitated and I asked what was wrong and he replied "I think my brain is telling me a story that is not true. I keep thinking that I am going to get XXX for a present, but I don't know." It was an awesome moment and gave me insight into how his little brain worked and the fact that he does better when he has MORE information. So, there are fewer surprises for him, but that also means less anxiety.

How do you manage anxiety or expectations in your home? Would a strategy like this work?

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