How to scare the scares away

You may have seen the video “Scared is Scared- of things you like”.

This audio and imagination exercise builds on the ideas of “scaring the scare away by thinking of things you like”.

Things we feel come from thoughts we think.

Things we feel, come from thoughts we think.

What does that mean? Well, if we think something is a bit scary, we will probably feel scared.

Sometimes that can be really useful – for example, if we are walking in the bush and we see a snake, it’s a good thing to feel scared, because then we won’t walk up to the snake and pat it. But we don’t want to be too scared – so we can still think clearly.

Sometimes we have a thought that scares us when we don’t need to be scared – say if we read a book about snakes, and then we have a thought of being really scared and begin to feel very anxious, even though it’s just a book. That wouldn’t be useful either.

Sometimes we can feel scared when we think of something we don’t really know about, like the first time we went on a plane or maybe about going to sleep for an operation.

Sometimes people tell us what to expect about that thing and that makes us feel a bit better, but we can also still feel a bit scared.

So how can we get rid of scared when we don’t really need to be scared?

A great way is to think about what scared you and then think about something you really like. Let’s show you what that means.

First of all, we need to think about the scary thing. One way to think about things is to see a movie in your mind of what scares you. And we do this in a really special way.

Imagine a big screen TV on the wall, playing a video about your scary thing. It’s OK because we’re going to make it better. Maybe you’re scared of spiders or coming to hospital. So, in your mind run the movie on a big screen TV of your scary thing.

Now, take that big screen and shrink it down, make it the size of a small TV, then shrink it down even further, to the size of a tablet computer and then shrink it down to the size of a smart phone. And put that movie playing on the tiny smart phone down on the ground in the far corner of the room. And now, make it really fuzzy and blurry like an old black and white movie. Now its small, distant, fuzzy and blurry – you have trouble seeing it, it’s so fuzzy and small.

Now think of something you really like – maybe playing with your friends, maybe riding your bike or maybe just curling up in your bed feel safe and warm. Whatever it is, close your eyes and make a movie of your favourite thing – and notice all the colours, or the shapes, all the textures you can feel, any sounds or noises that are there, and then when you feel that good feeling or doing your favourite thing, really notice how good you feel.

Now here’s the special part – think of the thing that scares you, then think of your favourite thing and notice how you feel. You feel different? Great.

Let’s send that scary thing back to the corner of the room, shrink it down to the smart phone screen, fuzzy, blurry and small.

Now think of another favourite thing – maybe it’s swimming in a pool with your friends, maybe it’s something really funny that makes you laugh or maybe it’s your favourite food like ice cream? Maybe it’s thinking about your pets, puppies or kittens? Again, can you see it – the colour, the shape, can you feel it, can you hear it and maybe even taste it – depending what you are thinking of.

And when you feel so good thinking of your favourite thing, think of that scary thing again. Notice how you feel. Does it feel even better? Sometimes people find it hard to find the scary thing scary anymore as they think of their favourite things. It as if the scared is scared of things you like.

Let’s do this a third time. Send the scary thing back to the corner. Small. Fuzzy and Blurry.
Now thing of something you really like – it could be riding your bike, going on a swing, a slippery dip or something funny watching a you tube video or just being with your family and friends feeling good. Can you notice your smile, notice how your breathing feels now, notice how good you feel?

Now think of the scary thing and think of all your favourite things. It’s probably getting hard to find the scary thing? Think of your three most favourite things, and feel that good feeling, then think of the scary thing, and notice how you have scared the scare away.

Well done. You’ve used your good thoughts to scare the scary thoughts.

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