Jabari had completed his swimming lessons and was ready to jump from the diving board, but as he stands in line, he’s not so sure anymore. His dad tells him that he himself feels a little frightened sometimes, and that it is okay, he just takes a deep breath and things feel better. Jabari takes his dad’s advice to heart and bravely dives from the board, overcoming his fear.
Using this simple picture book during our Book Club Hour at Thorntree Prep today, the kids learned all about nervousness, anxiety and fear.
What does F.E.A.R. stand for? Forget Everything and Run? Forget Everything and Relax? How do these attitudes resolve the problem? FEAR might stand for Finding Excuses and Reasons (anything NOT to do the task at hand, because of fear!), it may also reflect the true statement Failure Expected and Received, because we usually get what we expect! Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real and Forgetting Everything’s All Right. It robs us of our joy and peace and makes us feel utterly powerless. Even though fear is a normal feeling at times, we should learn to deal with it so it doesn’t get to control us, preventing us from accomplishing our goals and dreams and purpose in life.
When faced with fear, we should Face Everything and Recover, or Focus Energy And Respond.
The kids learned about Adrenaline, the “fight-or-flight” hormone released in our bodies when faced with a stressful situation, and about the physical manifestations in our body when it is released.
They also learned that our minds are very powerful and can let a situation seem real to our bodies, that Adrenaline is released even then, and that the physical manifestations may be the same as when facing a real danger situation.
They learned that it causes Glucose to be released in the body, and that excessively high levels of glucose due to stress without real danger can cause heart damage, insomnia and nervousness, and it affects the way we act.
They then learned 5 relaxation strategies to help them deal with fear or stressful situations: deep breathing, relaxing the muscles, grounding (using the senses), talking back to their fear (stopping negative thoughts in their tracks), and writing about their fears and how it helps us.
They learned that
- courage doesn’t feel the same inside as it looks like from the outside
- being courageous doesn’t mean we don’t ever get scared
- it is okay to be afraid or scared sometimes, but that being brave means to not let those fears control how we live or act
- courage is an internal driving force that helps us push through fear, self-doubt and anxiety to do the things that feel hard or risky or frightening