Episode 3 Recap- Thinking About Thoughts
With everything going on these days, anxiety levels are at an all time high, for people of all ages. So much so, that a whole show was dedicated to helping us dive into thinking about our thoughts and how to battle those anxieties.
Ellen started the evening off by sharing a former student’s experience with anxiety. This student explained the difference between an anxiety and a worry with the following analogy. Think about putting your lunch into your locker and then getting seated in your classroom. A worry would be, “I hope I remembered to put my lunch in my locker.” Then, you get right back to learning. An anxiety, would be, not being able to let go of that worry. It would stop you from thinking about anything else, to the point that you couldn’t concentrate on school, on anything until you actually checked. Even then, you still might not be able to let that worry go.
Ella was our first guest speaker. She is an insightful 12 year old, who is passionate about fixing the stigma around mental health awareness. She first noticed these “wonky thoughts” at age 8. Since then, she has learned many strategies and has even written poetry and a book to help others who share similar struggles. She eloquently shared one of these endearing poems with us.
Next, we were treated to a musical performance by Seth Zosky. Seth and his group, CZN just won BT’s Canada’s Got Talent Contest and were personally invited to perform on the next America’s Got Talent by Simon Cowell! Seth spoke about his own struggles with anxiety; something he called catastrophic thinking. He encouraged us to reach out to others and speak about our own feelings. Then he performed a beautiful song that he composed to capture this sentiment called, “Just Breathe”. He shared with us that just breathing isn’t always the answer.
Leanne Matlow was our featured guest speaker. She is a teacher, guidance councillor and a cognitive behavioural therapist, who specializes in anxiety for children and adolescents. Leanne is also the Founder of ‘Mental Health Empowerment Day’; a symposium to increase the understanding of mental health issues. Through her discussion, Leanne taught us many useful coping strategies. She spoke about thinking traps, mind reading and jumping to conclusions -all negative thought patterns. She taught us how to combat them with a variety of tools, such as mindfulness training and yoga. Leanne stated that with anxiety, “There is help and there is hope”. In fact, asking for help is actually a sign of strength. Leanne showed us how anxiety can be harnessed to help you to become empowered; fundamental tools which we can apply to our daily lives.
Mia Adler, learned all about what Leanne was doing in the mental health world and knew that she wanted to do her part. Mia decided to embark on her own initiative; a project to raise funds and awareness for ‘Mental Health Empowerment Day’. Mia partnered with Sam’s Sweet Creations to make cookies and send to others to make them happy. She called her initiative, ‘Mimi for Mental Health’. This project was a way for Mia to pay it forward and help those who suffer from anxiety. What a remarkable accomplishment for such a young lady to achieve!
Final remarks were shared in our Kindness Corner by Lindsay Detsky@one2give. This week’s challenge is in support of YWS- Youth Without Shelter, who are looking for donated items such as gift cards and toiletries. Contact One2give.org for more information on drop spots and see how your small contributions can make such a big impact.
Our episode may just be half an hour but it gives us so much to think about so we can shift our thinking. See you in two weeks!