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Week 2, Lesson 9- Relaxing Thoughts

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Now that we have all had some practice with the current way of life, we hope you are all settling into the new schedule and system of school at home. As multiple days have gone by, the daily expectations can start to become our new temporary “normal”.

Before getting too accustomed to the new way of living, take the time to write down the memories that have been created from this unique experience (eating foods that are not typical due to the limited supplies at stores, playing games together that aren’t usually played, creative ways of connecting with loved ones outside of the home, etc.).

Today’s target skill is relaxing thoughts. The purpose of this skill is similar to the goal of positive thoughts. There is a connection between our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. If we change our thoughts, it can help us change our feelings which will make it easier to manage everyday tasks and challenges. Relaxing thoughts involve identifying a relaxing place and using all senses to imagine being at that place. This visualization activity can help calm our bodies and minds. The relaxing thought can be an actual positive memory (special vacation, favorite place outdoors, etc.) or an imagined place. For example, visualize being at the beach on a beautiful day by using all of your senses:

● See: sun, water, sand, toys, family, etc.

● Hear: wind, waves, voices, etc.

● Smell: salty air, sunscreen, etc.

● Taste: favorite snack, drink, etc.

● Feel: feet in the warm sand, water, etc.

● Feelings: happy, relaxed, loved, calm, etc.

Other relaxing places may include playing on the swings on a sunny day, going on a nature walk, climbing a tree, being with a special relative, etc. In our current situation, we may be feeling isolated as we are being prohibited from going to many of our favorite places and seeing people outside our immediate family. Although we can’t physically go to these places, we can still take a “virtual field trip” in our mind to think about and enjoy a special place.

Suggestions for using this skill:

● Brainstorm relaxing places with your child and ask them to identify their favorite relaxing place.

● Guide your child through a visualization. Have them get in a relaxing position where they can feel most comfortable and encourage them to close their eyes. Guide them through all of the senses as they picture it in their head.

● Have your child draw a picture of their relaxing place with as many details as possible.

● If your child is experiencing a low energy level, sadness, or lack of motivation, try to identify motivating thoughts. Maybe this is a memory from an accomplishment or maybe they are pretending to be a superhero, famous athlete, or racecar driver. This may help to shift their mood and energy level.

● Encourage your child to use visualization to take a break when work gets frustrating or when chores seem overwhelming.

● Have your child to use visualization when falling asleep or if waking up in the middle of the night. A heightened level of stress can interfere with typical sleep patterns but some comforting thoughts may help them to feel safe and secure.

● Go to a short visualization activity.

During this time period, your child may be missing activities that have been cancelled or postponed (sports events, participation in a school play, etc.). There may be some fear or anxiety about losing skills or abilities that they previously had. The technique of visualization can be used to mentally practice the activity. This mental practice still trains the brain and body to retain the skills. Provide validation for feelings of loss for this activity but also provide reassurance that EVERYONE is in this position so together, everyone will work to get back on track

-Marissa, Farah & Lilly

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