Writing can be a relaxation tool that can be accessed anywhere and everywhere! Use it to feel better when there are thoughts swimming around inside. Model for your child how journaling can relieve stressful thoughts or feelings that want to be released. Show your child how the thoughts can be freed from inside the mind, transferred to paper and let go. Here is a little activity for you and your kids to do that can make relaxation practice fun and easy to do when tense moments arise! Remember how fun it was as a kid to get or make secret messages? We can make relaxation messages in a bottle and send them to ourselves when we are feeling tense, other less good-feeling emotions, or un-focused.
First, find a pretty little bottle of some sort. It can be glass or plastic, but it is better if it is transparent and you are able to see what is on the inside. You can tape the words “relaxation” to the outside as a reminder. This will be your relaxation message bottle. Next, complete the following guided imagery exercise.
Use Your Imagination to Relax
Tell your child that you are going to imagine that you are alone on an island. There is no one else for miles around. Picture yourself sitting on the warm sand with your notebook, staring out across the rolling waves as the wind gently rocks the palm trees back and forth. Everything is completely peaceful and restful. There is nobody around for miles, simply relax and allow yourself to feel completely safe and secure. Feel how relaxed and completely still you are. Listen to yourself. Listen to the thoughts that are present in your mind. Notice how you are feeling. Know that there are no wrong or right thoughts and feelings, just thoughts and feelings that you like or don’t like, preferred or not preferred. Everything is okay right now in this moment. Allow everything to be okay. Let go. Relax.
As you are sitting there, begin to write your relaxation messages and place them in the bottle. Later, when you are feeling tense, pull one out as a reminder that you can choose to relax in the moment and feel better.
Relaxation Message Ideas:
I am calm and relaxed.
I breathe and let go.
I breathe in, feeling peaceful. I breathe out, feeling love.
I am loved.
I am safe.
I imagine my special place.
Love is all around me.
I imagine all my muscles melting like butter.
I imagine someone or something I love very much and hold it in my heart.