Application of Stop Think Do

Specific application: Anxiety Disorder

Specific application: Anxiety Disorder

  • Some children are prone to excessive worry exhibited as separation anxiety, panic attack, phobic reactions, social anxiety, or performance anxiety directly effecting learning
  • These children tend to be stuck at STOP or THINK; they feel too intensely and they think too much about what could happen that their ability to DO anything to cope is totally inhibited
  • To manage anxiety, the initial step at STOP is for the anxious child to gain information about the specific nature of her ‘worry problem’, the physiological signs and associated feelings, rather than the often illusive cause
  • Anxiety is depersonalized when the child understands that the physiological signs (eg. nausea, shaking, tight chest, feeling yucky) are intense but normal fight or flight reactions caused by the rapid flow of blood from the extremities to the torso to energize the body
  • Moreover, the child learns to use her stronger brain to THINK about ways to control these physiological reactions and make herself feel better again
  • There are many tricks the child can choose to DO to ‘shift the blood back to the brain, hands and toes’ to beat ‘the worry problem’; then she can relax, learn and cope more comfortably

STOP THINK DO plan for managing anxiety

STOPAs soon as a child starts to feel uncomfortable, he or she is to
STOP and identify the physiological signs

Shaking, aching/tightness in head, chest, tummy, neck, shivering, sweating, pins and needles, dizziness, blurred vision, nausea or just feeling yucky

Identify the feelings

‘Shaking (or whatever sign) means that the worry feeling is starting’

THINKTHINK positive self-talk

‘I can use my good brains and my tricks to beat the worry feeling’ or

‘It’s just a normal fight or flight reaction- I won’t die’

Self-talk may be enough to feel better, or move on to

DOChoose anti-worry tricks to DO

‘Squeezing’ trick to shift blood to hands and toes

Squeeze something tightly in your hands and toes in your shoes; let go slowly

‘Staring’ trick to shift blood to brain

Find something around you and stare intently at it, silently describing it in detail

‘Arguing with yourself’ trick to shift blood to brain

Argue with yourself whether the worst thing that could happen is really so bad

‘Go and do something else you like’ trick to shift blood to brain and limbs

If a trick doesn’t work first, keep practicing or THINK of another one to DO!

Adults can remind child to try tricks, and support efforts.