Dealing with feelings is a whole lot of fun

I promised a post on all the fun stuff we do at Headspace Guildford. The way I figure it, if you’re going to give up 50 minutes of your life to come and see us, on a regular basis, then it should be worth it.

So, here are just a few of the things we do and why they make sense.

Given that I’ve been going on and on about breathing in blogs recently, it might be worth saying that we use balloons, bubbles, dragons, fairies, rag dolls, spies and kitchen roll tubes all to help us practice breathing. You might wonder why we need to practice breathing since we’re all doing it all day (and night) every day (and night). But actually, learning to use breathing to calm down or help us manage big feelings is a skill, just like learning to ride a bike or play football or reading. We have to practice and we can learn ways that help, and the more we practice the better we can get.

Balloons also get a look in when we are talking about what can happen in our brain when we’re stressed. When our ‘threat system’ gets big it is like a big red balloon blowing up and getting bigger and bigger and blocking out the other stuff.

We also play games – the emoji game is one of my favourite because it’s a great way to start thinking and talking about feelings. But I also like dominos, jenga and a brilliantly obscure game called Hex which is about 60+ years old and I found at a jumble sale.

And then there’s the craft we do – we make pompoms to talk about the ‘warm fuzzy’ feelings that we want to get from others, and the ‘cold pricklies’ that we often ask for instead. We make worry dolls and feelings jars and thought baskets and many other things.

Learning in creative ways, through play, through craft and through methaphor means that we’re attending to that old proverb

What I hear, I forget

What I see, I remember

What I do, I understand

So, nothing we do is frivolous – it’s all to help children, young people and parents to understand themselves and their thoughts and feelings, their hooks and their exits. Because knowing ourselves is a powerful tool in changing the things that we can change and accepting those we can’t or don’t need to. And if we can have a whole lot of fun whilst we’re doing it, well, that just means that our brains will be open and we will learn a whole lot more.

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