I was just talking with my dear friend, Jennifer Walsh, the brilliant creator of www.TodderToddler.com,
and she related that she has been practicing relaxing in the car by limiting her car time to only thoughts
that feel good. When she enters the car, she closes the door on all worries and complaints, and decides
to, just for the moment, to focus on things that she LIKES, on relaxing thoughts that feel good. I thought to myself, this is an awesome practice for kids too!
I started talking with my own daughters about Relaxing Thoughts in the car. And we have been using
the car time to share things that we like and things that we value about each other. It is the perfect
container of time to focus on feeling good. Of course, sometimes it is more difficult than others to find
things that we like. On those occasions, remind yourself that you can continue with your worries or
complaints if you want when the car stops, you are just taking a mini break from the train of thought.
The more we focus our minds and rehearse thoughts that feel good, the more the mind becomes
trained to look for “feeling good” things.
Ideas for Group Practice
You don’t actually have to be in a REAL car to practice this. Use the car theme when you meet with
students in a small group—they love it. Activating your imaginations, sit in formation as if you were in
a car. Decide as a group what your pretend destination will be. Now have everyone pretend to close
the door and put on a seat belt. Finally begin your discussion while “driving.” (This is where you can
add a few special effects like turning down the music so that you can hear everyone or pausing to allow
a cow to cross the road, or turning a corner really fast and having everyone hang on tight). Getting
focused back on the journey, have each student share something that they like. Next, share a memory
that feels good. Finally share with each other something you value about the other person. Pretend to
arrive at your destination and check in with how everyone feels inside. Discuss how paying attention to
things that we like tends to lead us toward feeling good.