Skip to content


Thinking Errors

Do you ever find yourself thinking thoughts like everything is terrible?  Nothing is going right? Everybody is mean? Words like everything, nothing and everybody are extreme words that, while they certainly express how you are feeling, aren’t the reality. They fall under the category of Thinking Errors. These all or nothing thoughts often happen when we are feeling upset or unhappy…and they are not very helpful!  Here are other thinking errors that we sometimes make:

  • negative glasses – when you only see the negative things that happen
  • positive doesn’t count – you down play the good things that happen
  • blowing things up – negative things become bigger than they really are
  • mind readers and fortune tellers – you expect things to go wrong

Take a look at the following examples and see if you can spot the thinking errors:

  1. People are always unkind.
  2. John went on a field trip to the water park. When mom asked him if he had a good time he said, “No, I didn’t like my lunch.”
  3. My friends will think I look silly with these shoes.
  4. Joanne scored a goal during her soccer game. When her coach said how well she had played, she thought, “that was just lucky, I am not a good player.”
  5. Sean did poorly on a math test and he got really upset and said, “I’m so stupid! I hate school and I’m terrible at it!”

Now go back and see if you can reword the thinking errors into facts, like this:

  1. People can be mean sometimes.
  2. John: “We got to slide down so many water slides!”
  3. I like these shoes, and I bet my friends will too!
  4. Joanne: “I did really well at soccer today!  I will keep practicing and get even better.”
  5. Sean: “That was a hard math test. I will need to talk to my teacher to see what I did wrong and study harder for the next one.”

Sometimes these thinking errors are called Automatic Negative Thoughts or A.N.T’s (see chart below). We often repeat these negative thoughts, these thinking errors, without realizing it.  As you go about this week, try to be more aware of how you respond to situations and if you notice that you tend to fall into these thinking errors, see if you can work at changing your thinking from negative (unhelpful) to positive (helpful).  If you have a journal, writing down the things you notice can be a great tool to help you on your way!



Coping Activities Part 1

Coping: to deal with and attempt to overcome problems and difficulties

I have found myself really missing the connections with my people – I mean actual, physical connections. Looking people in the eye and noticing small things about them that we miss when we are texting or video chatting. Things like new shoes, the way they laugh spontaneously, the smell of their hair. (Is that weird? Maybe.) I miss hugs from my family and my friends. I miss sitting next to my co-workers and fist-bumps from my students. I even miss bumping into random strangers…I just miss being in and around community. I know I’m not the only one who is finding this social (physical) distancing hard, a number of you have commented on that as well. So this week I thought I’d take a few days and post some ideas on how to make this “stay home season” a bit more bearable.  We can’t change the situation, but we can do things that help us to cope.

Today’s idea is one that can tap into your creative juices. Being creative can help you feel better – sometimes words just aren’t enough. Either we can’t find the right words to describe how we feel, or we don’t want to say how we feel out loud.  Art can help you bridge that open, sometimes scary – sometimes just really wide – space between you and another person. So here’s a fun idea that you can do by yourself, or with your family.

If you are missing someone in particular, you can create something that shows why you think they are special and then gift it to them. One idea is to create a shadow box filled with bits and pieces that remind you and them of times that you spent together – a special rock, a picture of you together, or a poem.  It can be anything that reminds you of some special memories. This website has a few good ideas on how to create a shadow box. You can make a shadow box out of a variety of things – shoe boxes, wooden boards glued together, store bought shadow boxes (here) or even a quart jar…many, many options.  Here are some simple steps to get you going:

  1. Find a container (shoe box, wooden box, jar etc.)
  2. Decide on your theme.  You might want to make one for a friend and your theme might be favourite movies you’ve watched together.  If it’s for a grandparent, your theme might be favourite activities you’ve done together.  Maybe it’s simply a collection of words that describe your person.
  3. Collect your items.  You can use pictures from magazines or online, photographs, little mementos like seashells, ribbons, feathers, rocks, pieces of wood – you decide!
  4. Arrange it. Depending on what you are using for your shadow “box”, you decide if you will glue your items inside, just arrange them, put them in sand etc.

The key is to make it personal and be creative. Once you have created your shadow box, wrap it up (or not) and deliver it to your special person. Letting your creativity flow is a proven way to cope with a hard situation. Finding unique ways of connecting – like making shadow boxes – also helps people feel happier and less alone.

If you made a shadow box, take a picture and email it to me!  I would love to post pictures of some of your crafty coping ideas, so when you email your picture to me – let me know if you’d like me to post it.

Til tomorrow – stay safe, stay positive and stay home 🙂


When Worry Takes Control

What is worry? Merriam Webster describes worry as a concern about something that might happen, and worry in and of itself isn’t really the problem. But, worry can be a bit bossy, and the problem comes when worry takes control of your thinking, making you feel anxious or sick.  There is some science behind worry.  Let’s start with taking a look at your brain:

There are different names for the different parts of the brain.  There are the actual medical names, like prefrontal cortex, limbic  system, amygdala, hippocampus etc. etc. Then there are terms like upstairs brain and downstairs brain, wise brain and emotional brain, or one of my favourites, wizard brain and lizard brain.  Basically, they are all saying the same thing…we have the thinking part of our brain, and the  feeling part of our brain.

When worry takes control, what has happened is that the feeling part of your brain has taken over – and is over-riding – the thinking part of your brain.  When worry takes control, our feeling brain, our lizard brain, doesn’t really care if the thing you are worried about is real or imagined, it just recognizes the feeling and jumps into action – whether it needs to or not!

What can you do? Well, I like to think of dealing with worry the same way you might handle a bossy friend.  Worry can actually be your friend – your brain is designed to warn you if there is something truly dangerous or concerning.  Then you need your lizard brain to help keep you safe. But, when worry is bossing you around, and getting all involved when it doesn’t need to, you will need to talk back to worry.  You will need to tell your worry to settle down, because it’s not the boss of you! Here are some ways you can do that:

  1. Make a worry character: Giving your worry a name, maybe even drawing a picture of your worry character, helps you learn how to talk back to it. When you say, “Oh, Mr. Worrybug is at it again! Let’s give him a talking-to!” you are externalizing your worry – making it less scary and more manageable.  It might feel a bit silly, but silly is better than worried!

  2. Be Bossy: When your worry shows up and tries to boss you around, be bossy right back!  Speak truth into your worry’s lies!  Worry likes to tell you that if something happens, you won’t be able to handle it!  That’s one of the lies it likes to tell – actually, you can handle it! You need to be bossy and tell worry to get lost, you’ve got this!

  3. Be Opposite: When worry tells you that you can’t sleep in your own bed because there are scary things under the bed, you play the opposite game and tell your worry character that, actually, you can sleep in your own bed! Worry wants to be the boss of you, and you need to make sure that you don’t let it!

These are 3 simple things you can do to help you win the struggle with worry.  Remember, sometimes worry is necessary – but usually it’s not, and the important thing to keep in mind is that you need to be in charge!  Taking control back from worry is not easy, and doesn’t always happen right away. Like anything else it will probably take practice. There are a ton more strategies and ideas that can help as well – but these three are a beginning.

Many of these ideas can be found all over the internet, but one of my favourite authors on this subject is Lynn Lyons.  She works with anxious kids and families and the 3 points above are inspired from her videos and blogs.  If you are looking for more inspiration, and more ideas, you can find her at . As always, if you have any questions, shoot me an email! I’m here to help.

Skip to toolbar