Imagination is a powerful tool in helping children achieve relaxation in times of stress and anxiety. According to Dr. Charlotte Reznick, an educational psychologist and associate clinical professor of psychology at University of California, Los Angeles, "children can create pictures from their mind...to heal their troubles." From dealing with a bully to being painfully shy, a child can envision himself as powerful and outgoing with the help of guided imagery scripts.
Create an animal friend for your child to help ease anxiety and guide her to viable solutions to problems. As Reznick states, "It's often safer and easier for animal friends to offer solutions to problems in creative ways. ..." Animal friends provide security for a child who may doubt her ability to fix an issue.
For a child struggling with sleep issues, the following script can help:
Lie back on your bed and close your eyes. Here comes Ruby, your red bird friend. Listen as she sings a sweet song to the beat of the wind. Tweet, tweet; tweet, tweet. Music notes rise above her head as she sings. As she tweets each note, imagine your sadness floating away with it in the air. Ruby's song is coming to an end, and she wants you to be happy and sleep. Breathe deeply as the song ends and you have sweet dreams. Thank you Ruby.
Reznick stated gifts are symbolic and what your child needs in the moment he is struggling. A gift can represent a quality your child feels he is lacking or a power he needs for success. Make this even more powerful for you child by providing a tangible representation of the imagined gift.
For a child struggling with bullying, the following script may help:
Close your eyes and imagine you are walking down a path in the forest. You walk for several minutes and see a shiny object in the brush ahead. You quickly walk toward it and pick it up. It is a crystal, reflecting the sunlight and creating a rainbow. You look down again and see a small scrap of paper. Written on the paper are two words--strong and safe. This crystal has the power to protect you from the hurt of words or disappointments. You are safe from sadness when you hold this crystal in your hand. You put the crystal in your pocket and a smile on your face. You know when you have this crystal, you are safe from the meanness of others and strong to move forward with your dreams.
Colour is a useful tool in healing physical and emotional pain. Many children will associate colours with various feelings, such as red for anger and yellow for happiness, according to Reznick. Creating guided imagery scripts to help understand a child's feelings and the representative colours can quell stress for her.
For a child dealing with depression, the following script may be helpful:
Right now you are imagining a dark sky with black clouds. Your body and mind are telling us they are sad. We need to find a happy colour to move the dark clouds away. Let's take a walk. You are walking on a beach, with the yellow sun shining on the blue water. The white sand is between your toes, and you see red and orange umbrellas all the way up the shore. You continue walking on the beach, watching all the colours dance around you. Turn around and see the dark clouds far away on the horizon. Continue moving with the beautiful colours around you. You feel relaxed and happy knowing your sadness is behind you.
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