Fighting the "What If Monster"
Have you ever been haunted by the “What If Monster?” This monster loves to roll around in our head and torture us by disrupting our peace of mind, our focus, and sleep. Usually, it attacks us at the most inopportune times and can develop and occasionally morph itself into full fledge phobias, anxiety and/or panic attacks. But at the root of it all is a thought; one which may or may not come into fruition, but whose negative influence tries its best to control us.
I’d love to say that the “What If Monster” doesn’t ever haunt me, but that would be a lie. I don’t think anyone can prevent negative or fearful thoughts from coming into their minds. But what we can do is begin to recognize them when they appear and remind ourselves that we can change the channel. The “What If Monster” is fear based, and where there is love, there can be no fear. We need to purposely change our focus to a more positive frequency. We can do this by choosing to practice gratitude at that moment for the blessings we have in our lives, by shifting our minds to a wonderful memory or a beloved person, or by singing or dancing around to a favorite song. Deep breathing can be extremely helpful. as can reciting a favorite prayer or mantra. One of my favorite ways to shift my focus from the “What If Monster” is by choosing to think of who I can bless instead. Maybe I can call or text a friend who is having a tough time or do something nice for someone. Nothing gets me out of my own head like serving others.
Children are not immune to the “What If Monster” and also need to learn strategies to help them as well. That’s why I wrote the story “The What If Monster” in my book, The Light Giver and Other Stories to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children, and created a corresponding activity which is in the Light Giver Stories Workbook. “The Secret Box: Dealing With the What-If Monster” is a simple and fun way to demonstrate to kids how our imagination can get the best of us, and gives them strategies they can use to better handle the “What If Monster.” We need to teach them early on how to recognize the thoughts for what they are and prevent some of the paralyzing thoughts and fears from taking root and causing any long-term damage.
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