Those of us who find it easy to access the creative sides of our brains often use that creativity for positive ends, but sometimes we can turn those talents to worry and anxiety.
For example, a recent leak in the roof of my house started out in my mind as…
– Oooh, that roof doesn’t look right…I’d better keep an eye on it.
– Hmm…there’s water coming down the inside wall. Better mop that up.
Then panic and anxiety snuck in…
– What if we can’t get a builder? What if the roof blows away in the wind? What if I can’t afford to fix it? What if the plaster gets too wet to support the window? What if the window falls out (why would it)? What if the house falls down?
Quite quickly I’d used my creative brain and its fairly constant supply of curious ‘what if’ questions to send myself into a downward spiral of panic, anxiety and sleepless nights.
During one of these sleepless nights, I got thinking about using my ‘what ifs’ for good, rather than negativity. As educators, parents and human beings, what would it be like if we asked ourselves some alternative ‘what if’ questions. Here are some to get you started:
- What if my children (either your own or in your class) were perfect exactly as they are?
- What if my children/colleagues are doing the very best they can, given the resources/experience/expertise etc. that they have?
- What if we talked to our children/colleagues about the things they are doing well?
- What if we assumed that inside each and everyone of us we have everything we need to be amazing? Inside a tiny acorn lies a great oak, so why not in us?
- What if I was kind to myself today and acknowledged just how great I am?
- What if I only said positive things today?
- What if I trusted my children/colleagues?
- What if I allowed myself to have fun today?
- What if I just gave it a try?
- What if I went with the rhythm of my children today?
- What if I dared to be different?
So far, I’ve been playing with this idea and seeing where it takes me. It’s fun, refreshing, sometimes a bit scary, but always full of possibilities.
Have a play with ‘what if’ and see where it takes you.