A while back, I shared an analogy that I found in a children’s book, based on sorting through thoughts as you would household clutter.
I’ve taught this now to children of different ages and its’ always gone down really well. In fact, when I’ve explained this strategy to adults, it’s gone down really well there too.
To illustrate, here’s an example of what this looks like in the classroom, with a modeled example that we talk through first:
And today, as I felt the nerves of working at a new school and heard the unhelpful mental chatter alongside it… “What if they don’t like me?” “What if they don’t think I’m worth the money?” “What if I do an awful job?” “What if I’m not enough?” I found myself mentally binning thought after thought. I was literally picturing me throwing paper into a bin, again and again, with gusto.
Somewhere along the way, I’ve actually begun to practice what I preach.
I’ll admit that a little part of me wishes I’d been taught this when I was eight, rather than learning a version of this in therapy, in my mid-twenties.
But then again, if I had…then I doubt that I’d be writing this now or that I’d have such a clear purpose of what I want to do and why I must do it.
If you’re interested in the practicalities of this approach, see my latest business blog for more guidance as to how this might actually play out as an activity with your own children or students.
If you fancy trying this yourself, what are you waiting for? Pick up a pen and write down the thoughts that come into your head. Then simply decide, what’s useful right now, useful later and not useful at all.