I was a middle school French teacher for 12 years. In my last year of teaching, I decided to incorporate Mindful Breathing Activities with the students at the beginning of every period to address their social and emotional needs more effectively. The students liked the ‘break’ that this offered them from their stress, but they needed to know more about the ‘why’ to continue more fully with the daily habit.
To help explain the ‘why’, we decided to use ‘T-Rex’ as a symbol to represent our strong emotions and repetitive thoughts. We would ‘watch out’ for T-Rex and try to ‘catch’ him early. We practiced becoming mindful, or aware, of our feelings when they were still relatively small and minor. We tried to ‘find’ the T-Rex before he grew so big that he would ‘take us over’!
Mindfulness is not about fixing anyone or changing anything.
Mindfulness is simply about noticing and accepting what already is.
At home, we use the T-Rex symbol to help my young daughter manage her big emotions as well. When she becomes agitated, we explore what is causing it. What is T-Rex telling her? Is she feeling scared? Left out? Hungry? Sleepy? Confused?
By accepting that whatever she is feeling is real, the T-Rex does not have as much of a chance to take her over. I know I need to help her manage these emotions while she is young so that she will be able to self-manage when she is in middle school and beyond.
We all have ‘T-Rex’. A mindfulness practice helps us ‘Tame T-Rex’. When we no longer ignore, deny, or wish away how we feel, we can learn to work with our strong feelings, emotions, worries, hopes, fears, anxieties...and choose our own path forward. Do you know your T-Rex?