Anxiety

Dear Dr. Woodchuck,

     I get really nervous when my teacher, Mr. Foozle, asks me a question in class...I just freeze like a turkey. What can I do so I don't get so nervous?  

Signed, 

Ralph R.

Dear Ralph,

   Start practicing big balloon breaths when you're feeling nervous:

1.  Breathe in through your nose for three seconds so your belly slowly fills up like a balloon.

2.  Hold your breath for three seconds.

3.  Breathe out through your mouth for three seconds so your belly loses air like a balloon.

Practice these big balloon breaths when you are feeling the most calm.

This worksheet might also be helpful when you are feeling really nervous. 

 

Dear Dr. Woodchuck,

     I'm having a hard time falling asleep at night. I usually have to watch two hours of T.V. until I can finally fall asleep. Any tips?

Signed,

Philomena P.

Dear Philomena, 

     NO MORE T.V. BEFORE BEDTIME! Bright lights at night get in the way of our body's natural, daily rhythm. Try to turn off all screens (i.e. iPhone, iPad, computers) at least one hour before you want to fall asleep. 

     This worksheet might also help you feel less worried at night.

 

Dear Dr. Woodchuck,

     Ever since I started the first grade, I get really, really bad stomachaches. Sometimes I get headaches, too. I feel like I'm always in Ms. Bougainvillea's office. My mom says it's just a case of 'bad nerves' but I don't know if that's really true. What do you think? 

Signed,

Leopold L.

Dear Leopold,  

     Starting something new can be really scary. I remember having the same bad stomachaches when I first started my bowling league. Sometimes we get so worried about what has happened in the past or what can happen in the future that we forget to practice our big balloon breaths and just stay in the moment. The more you practice relaxing and being in the moment, the less you will feel that nervousness in your body.

     This worksheet might also be helpful to keep track of how worried you are every day. 

 

Dear Dr. Woodchuck,

     I always wake up in the middle of the night and then have a really hard time falling back asleep. I'm pooped!

Dear (a very tired) Ralph,

     It might be helpful to listen to ocean sounds when you are having trouble falling back asleep at night. Slow, whooshing sounds are very peaceful- almost like they're telling your body not to worry. Works like a charm for me!    

 

Dear Dr. Woodchuck,

     I feel really nervous anytime I have to talk to someone. I just want to bury my head in the sand. I'm actually really nervous writing this letter to you...I'm worried you'll think I'm silly.  

Signed,

Ollie O.

Dear Ollie,

     Sometimes when we get nervous talking to others, we think they are thinking the worst of us. That's usually not the case. If you can change your bad thought, "Dr. Woodchuck thinks I'm silly," to a more positive thought, "Dr. Woodchuck thinks I'm fine just as I am," you might feel a lot less nervous.

     This worksheet will also help you see that you are fine just as you are. 

 

Dear Dr. Woodchuck,

     When my mom drops me off at school, I get really nervous and don't want her to leave. I hate going places without her. My sister told me that makes me a big baby...

Signed,

Allen A.

Dear Allen,

     Brothers and sisters sometimes say stuff that can really hurt our feelings. I can definitely understand how difficult it must be to go to school and other places without your mom. I wonder if it might be helpful for your mom to give you a small object you can keep with you that reminds you of her. I remember when my mom dropped me off at school, I'd carry around a picture of the two of us and anytime I was scared I'd look at the picture and remember she's not that far away.

    This worksheet might also help you relax when you are feeling very nervous.

 

Dear Dr. Woodchuck,

     I tried the big balloon breaths but I still get really nervous when Mr. Foozle calls on me in class...am I always going to be this nervous, Doc?

Signed, 

Ralph R.

Dear Ralph,

     You're not always going to be this nervous, but it will take some time to feel less nervous. Besides practicing the big balloon breaths, you might also want to use this worksheet to help relax your muscles when you are feeling very nervous. I know it's really hard to feel this way every time Mr. Foozle asks you a question, but remember: you're doing the best you can.

 

Dear Dr. Woodchuck,

     I know you said I shouldn't watch T.V. at night, but it's really hard not to. I love watching T.V. and my thoughts are racing when I'm not watching my favorite shows...

Signed,

Philomena P.

Dear Philomena,

     I can understand how hard it must be not to watch your favorite shows and try to quiet your mind at night. As much as you might think the T.V. is helping you, the bright light of the screen could really be keeping you up! Instead of watching T.V., I like to practice big balloon breaths right before bed and focus on my breathing. It's really hard to do at first because other thoughts come into my mind, but the more I practice the better I get at it.      

 

Dear Dr. Woodchuck,

     Lately, my stomachaches on the way to school have gotten even worse and I can't help but cry when my mom drops me off in the morning. Mr. Wooley notices it and Ms. Noodle tries to help me but the stomachaches are so bad that I spend half the morning in Ms. Bougainvillea's office. I thought that by talking to you every week I wouldn't feel this way anymore! What do I do?

Signed,

Leopold L. 

Dear Leopold,

     It makes a lot of sense why your stomachaches have gotten worse and why you are crying when your mom drops you off at school. When you first start talking to a therapist, it can actually feel worse before it gets better because you're bringing up things that you maybe haven't talked about before. Hang in there and keep practicing your big balloon breaths and being in the moment. 

 

Dear Dr. Woodchuck,

     I tried listening to the ocean sounds at night but I still couldn't fall asleep. Any other ideas, Doc?

Dear (a very tired) Ralph,

     It's really important to have a bedtime routine that you follow every night (i.e. brushing your teeth, reading a book, and falling asleep). It is also helpful to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. It is especially important to get on a routine right now when you are having trouble falling asleep at night. Here is a worksheet that will help you figure out your bedtime routine.

 

Dear Dr. Woodchuck,

     I'm trying to believe you that I'm fine just as I am, but there's a mean voice in my head that tells me that's just not true...

Signed, 

Ollie O.

Dear Ollie,

     That mean voice in your head has probably been there for quite some time so it will take some time for it to go away. Whenever you hear that voice, remind yourself that you are fine just as you are. If you keep reminding yourself that, the voice will become much quieter.

     This worksheet might also help you see how wonderful you are. 

 

Dear Dr. Woodchuck,

     I still get scared when my mom drops me off at school. I wait until the last minute when the bell rings before I can let go of her and go to my class. Is this how it's always going to be?

Signed,

Allen A.

Dear Allen,

     I can understand how you feel- it's scary to go out on your own without having your mom around! It's not always going to be hard letting go, Allen. Remember how far you've already come and keep practicing the relaxation skills you learned from this worksheet.

 

Dear Dr. Woodchuck,

     Mr. Sneely got upset with me today because I fell asleep during class. I guess I shouldn't have been up all night watching T.V. but I just couldn't get my brain to slow down. Help!

Signed,

Philomena P.

Dear Philomena,

     If you would like, I can talk to Mr. Sneely about how you might be sleepy during class because you have trouble falling asleep at night. It's still important to find other ways to slow down your brain when you want to go to sleep. Sometimes, I like to read a book when I have trouble falling asleep. Maybe you can ask Mr. Oglethorpe to help you find a good book to read instead of watching T.V. tonight.

 

Dear Dr. Woodchuck,

     This morning I was crying when I was saying goodbye to my mom and George walked by and called me a baby. I wanted to tell Ms. Noodle or Mr. Norbit but I was worried that would really make me a baby...

Signed,

Leopold L.

Dear Leopold,

     You are not a baby for crying and you would definitely not be a baby for telling Ms. Noodle, Mr. Norbit, or any adult that George was bothering you. People think that showing sadness or fear is babyish but in my opinion it is actually really brave to show your feelings and emotions.

 

Dear Dr. Woodchuck,

     Yesterday, Winston told me my neck was too long for my body. Then the mean voice in my head was telling me my beak was too large and my eyes were too big. Am I ever going to be good enough, Dr. Woodchuck?

Signed, 

Ollie O.

Dear Ollie,

     People say mean things all the time. When I was younger, kids at my school used to tell me my front teeth were too big and it made me really sad. When I got older, I decided my teeth are fine just as they are. Your neck, beak, and eyes are what make you different and unique. Anyone who has anything mean to say about you probably doesn't feel very happy about themselves.

 

Dear Dr. Woodchuck,

   I started getting really worried right before my mom dropped me off at school today so I did the muscle relaxation like we'd talked about. It worked! When I was feeling scared again at recess, I looked at the picture I carry in my pocket of me and my mom and it made me feel a whole lot better. Then Alfred saw the picture and called me a baby. Am I baby, Doc?

Signed,

Allen A.

Dear Allen,

     You're definitely not a baby for carrying around a picture of you and your mom! Sometimes kids can be really mean and it has nothing to do with us- they are just dealing with their own feelings and emotions. But if someone hurts your feelings or makes you feel uncomfortable, tell Ms. Moops, Mr. Hamberger, or any adult. It's not okay for anyone to make us feel bad about ourselves!

 

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