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  • Kristen Stuppy, MD FAAP

Scaredy Cats Are Survivors and you can learn to conquer anxiety too!

Dr. Kristen Stuppy talked to our parent and ADHDKCTeen groups together about anxiety. You can watch a recording of the talk, view the slides, and read the transcript below.

During the talk it’s mentioned that the next talk will follow this one for an in-depth focus on mindfulness. There was just too much to cover in one talk about anxiety, so we’ll spend an hour on mindfulness.

Learn about the two opportunities you can hear the mindfulness talk, Mind Tricks - one will be this weekend and one is the next ADHDKCTeen July event. You can learn more and sign up for one that fits your schedule from the link: Mind Tricks. It will be a lot of fun!

Slides for Scaredy Cats are survivors and you can conquer anxiety too!

AI Generated Transcript - please excuse errors

Welcome to everybody [on Zoom], and welcome to those of you who are here. I am going to be watching kind of 2 screens here, and so a little disorganized with the people who are on screen. And then the people who are here. I do want this to be participation oriented, though so feel free to raise your hand if you're here, and we're going to talk about that for those of you that are on Zoom again. If you want to change your name. You can go hover down the bottom of the zoom and look at the participants. Then find your name and hit the little 3 dots to change your name. and for those of you who are at home anytime, you guys or people at home see the little? Oh, it's not changing. You know what? Because I'm so used to just doing this thing. Hello, I'm gonna have to get too creative here, changing my newness here. Okay. So I have to change the screen for them.

But anytime you see those little chat boxes that's where I want participation. That kind of warns you for that.

And for those of you at home, please stay on mute. For those of you here, try not to have too many little conversations, because the room gets noisy, and then it's really hard for anybody to talk. If you want to talk, certainly raise your hand, or in zoom, you can either raise a hand or make some noise, turn off the mute for a second to ask a question.

Alright, and then the CHADD disclaimer ADHDKC is a CHADD chapter. That means we have to follow all the CHADD rules. And CHADD basically does not endorse any product services or anything. I'm not trying to sell you anything. Nothing I'm saying tonight is really going to be solicitatory if that makes sense.

Alright. So why is this called scaredy cats?

It's called scaredy cats are survivors because we are made to survive. The way we survive is by being scared of things caveman days. If I saw an apple on a tree, and I just ran over to that tree to pick the apple because I was hungry. I could die, right? There might be a tiger in the tree. And so the people who were a little bit nervous and thought about it, hesitated, made a few like assessments of the area first before they got to the tree survived. Then they were able to pass on their genes because they survived. So we are designed to be a little bit scared.

All right. So we're going to look in an example of how this natural instinct that a lot of us have works, and maybe why it's not so good for 2024. Right?

So okay, let's say you're here in the Kansas City area, and you're outside and you see a tiger doesn't make any sense. You don't know why you see a tiger, but it freaks you out right. What happens when you're freaking out?

You are maybe saying, Oh, no, no, no! I see a tiger. I see a tiger right? You're getting ready to run away. Your heart might start, might start racing you. Your eyes get big, your pupils get dilated. You start sweating. Your breathing gets really fast. You might get a headache or a stomachache. [I forgot to change that one. Sorry. It's gonna take me a minute to get used to these two screens.]

… headache or stomach ache. And then, believe it or not, you might even have to pee.

And all of these things get us ready to run away from that tiger, or whatever else is out there. That's gonna make us die, right? And unfortunately, those don't help very much when it's you're getting scared of here.

So when your brain gets triggered, sends warnings to your body to get you ready to run, gets your muscles energized to go. It starts sending oxygen by breathing faster, and your heart rate getting faster.

Alright! So here we are. We're scared about this cat - or the tiger. We're yelling at the tiger, and we're saying, Oh, no, no! It's a tiger, and then your friend comes up, and he's like what's going on. That's a cat. And at 1st your brain is thinking. No, no, it's a tiger, and you really believe it's a tiger. So you're thinking it's a tiger.

But then you do some things to calm your brain down. And you're like, oh, yeah, it's just a cat right? But your mind was triumph, and you thought it was a tiger, because our brains can do some weird things like that, but once you're calm down and your heart slows, your breathing rate slows all of those things. Slow down.

Then you can use the front part of your brain to actually think about it and realize it's just a cat. So we're gonna talk today about some of these things that we might recognize whenever we're scared of things, and then also what we can do when we do recognize it, to help calm that brain down to turn it off.

Wer’e going to talk a bit about science. Because I love science, right? It's not just how you feel. It's really things that are happening in your body. So neurotransmitters are chemical messengers in your brain or made in your brain, that help bring messages to your body.

There are 4 that are really big with feelings that affect mood. So dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. We're going to talk about these four.

Dopamine is involved in movement, attention. Executive functions, which is like how our brain organizes tasks and has short term memory and things like that reward and motivation. It's low, naturally, in people with ADHD. And that's why people with ADHD really crave dopamine. They get dopamine from doing things that they enjoy doing, which is why people with ADHD can stay focused forever on Legos or video games or reading books, or whatever it is they like to do. And they really struggle with doing the things they can't do cause they need that dopamine right?

To raise dopamine you can do things you like get enough sleep. Sleep is key for so many of these things. Eating healthy foods, especially proteins helps raise dopamine.

It has, or tyrosine rather, is a building block of dopamine. And so tyrosine is found in proteins. So you really need healthy foods with protein. And then other things like meditating can definitely help raise the dopamine levels and finishing tasks. You feel so good. I mean to check it off your list, right?

And then oxytocin is the love hormone, and I'll send out slides, you guys don't have to take pictures. Oxytocin is the love hormone, and it promotes trust and connection, attachment and relaxation. So it really helps when you're anxious to get some of that oxytocin and we can boost levels of this by interacting with people and pets. That's why, you know, dog therapy is so good. Petting that dog or that cat can be really really good! Yoga is great. Eating the foods also rich in protein for a different reason. But then vitamin C, which is in fruits, and magnesium in foods like greens and nuts and seeds, dry beans, wheat, germ, oat bran. And Vitamin D, which we can naturally get from the sun. How many times have you heard “the sunshine vitamin”? Vitamin D is so good for us, except the sun is not, so put your sunscreen on and take your supplement.

Then serotonin. Serotonin affects our mood by increasing a feeling of confidence and regulating mood. Low serotonin can lead to anxiety and depression. And that's why a lot of medications for anxiety and depression are SSRIs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. But you can also boost it with exercise, positive thinking, cold showers, massage, B vitamins, and foods with protein again.

And then endorphins are our final neurotransmitter. They help reduce feelings of pain. So sometimes you have hear people say, you know, push through it when you're exercising, push through the pain because your endorphins build when you exercise. It's not always a good thing, because if your body's injured, you shouldn't really injure it more by pushing through. But a lot of athletes will talk about pushing through the pain, because when they get those endorphins going they can actually decrease the sensation of pain.

And you can see a theme here. With all 4 of these there is a combination of some sort of healthy habit that you've been told to do sleeping right eating, right exercise, those self care things, your parent or your doctor tells you to do. They’re not just telling you to do it for the fun of it, or because they don't have anything else to say. It's because these things really do make a difference. I think sometimes we forget that.

Alright. So we're gonna talk about a little bit about the brain, and I know that the title is scaredy cats, and we're gonna talk a lot about cats. There's gonna be cats on the slides. But first we're gonna talk about 3 other animals that I really love when we talk about anxiety. And we're gonna talk about other parts of the brain, too.

I don't know if you guys can even see this little model, but the cerebrum is kind of the biggest part of the brain, the bumpy part that we all think about when we think about the brain. It helps you think and speak, and it has different parts to it. So the frontal lobes. This is what I call the wise old owl. That is gonna make it easier if you remember that the wise old owl is in the front of the brain. That's where we do our thinking. We can problem solve, we can focus and put our attention to things when we're using our brain in the front. The prefrontal cortex also helps with decision making. And it's the last part of your brain that matures. So not until mid twenties. So that's why sometimes teenagers make choices that aren't necessarily super good.

And we know that it's not because you're a bad kid. It's just your brain isn't quite there yet. This doesn't give you free reign to do whatever you want, but it does mean that adults in your world will understand that sometimes you mess up a little bit, right?

So then the parietal lobes are near the middle of the brain. They help with sensory things like taste, pain, temperature, textures. And then the occipital lobe is in the back, and that's what takes in the information from your eyes to give you visual senses.

The cerebellum kind of in the bottom it looks like smaller little grooves. It helps with coordination and balance.

The temporal lobes are the sides of the brains. They are responsible for short-term memory and understanding sounds, speech, and musical rhythm.

The brain stem is the things you don't have to think about at all. That's gonna help your heart beat and breathing. You don't really have a choice in those. And so those automatic things that happen during anxiety a lot of times are gonna be driven through that brain stem.

And then we have the elephant. The elephant never forgets. If you guys heard that saying, so that's the hippocampus, and it stores memories.

Then the last animal is the one we're probably going to talk about most tonight. And that's the watchdog. The watchdog is your amygdala, and your amygdala is really important with anxiety, because it's looking for things all the time. It's what's watching for those dangers. But have you guys ever seen a dog bark at? Nothing right? It's sitting in the house, and person walks by your yard, and the dog throws a fit right? It's going crazy for no reason, and we have to learn to calm that dog down because it scares away the owl alright, so scares away the owl and the hippo or the elephant. Sorry I was thinking hippocampus, but it’s the elephant. But the dog scares those things away, so we've all probably been in that situation. Who's been in that situation? You guys on Zoom can just raise your hand through the little icons who has ever been in the situation where you're so worried about something you can't even think straight.

You can't problem solve. You can't remember things you're supposed to remember. I got a hand on Zoom. And you guys all, I think, here raised hands.

So yeah, we've all been there before. It's all natural but we can learn how to calm the dog down.

How do you guys calm a barking dog? Does anybody here have a dog?

How do you train a dog? [participant answers] Repetition. Yeah. Maybe some rewards. Give him some treats, right?

Interestingly enough, people with ADHD get what's called amygdala highjack more often where that barking dog just goes crazy. We know from studying the brain that people with ADHD, their amygdala develops a little more slowly. A lot of the things in their brain develop a little more slowly. So kids with ADHD are much more likely to have these over reactions to small things. They can learn how to handle them. But it might be a little harder for them to learn than some other kids that don't have ADHD. And that's okay. We can learn it, but we are going to learn how to manage that dog.

Repetition and rewards are the 2 things that we talked about. And that's how we train the amygdala - we have to practice. Even if we learn about some of these tools today, you're not going to be good at them unless you practice. So when little things happen in your life that just wigg you out. For whatever reason they trigger you, you need to recognize 1st what it is that's happening, and then what to do about it.

We're going to learn to calm that barking dog down. I already said when that dog is barking, the wise old owl and the elephant that remembers things leave.

So what are things that you guys could do? And for you guys at home, you can put in the chat box. And for you guys here, maybe, what are things you can do if you're freaking out? How do you remember the tools?

Whatever tools you're using. What could you do?

[participant answer] Deep breaths.

Deep breaths. How do you remember to do that? After a while it becomes natural through practice. But before you get to that stage, before it becomes something you do… maybe it's just that one thing you do and that could help. But what else? What other memory tools do you guys use?

[participant: you can write down the things you need to do.]

Yeah, write them down. I love that. You can write them down and put them on your school notebook if you tend to freak out at school about things. Or you could put them on your bathroom mirror, you can put them in your kitchen. You can put them wherever you tend to have things that trigger you. You write them down and use visual cues. You can also use other people. Maybe your parent or a friend is there for you. When you start to freak out, they can help remind you to breathe. Because if you just take those 1st couple breaths physiologically, that changes those hormones in your body, and you start to calm down.

And the more you do it the more it becomes natural.

And for you parents out there, if you start to have some sort of triggering something where you start to feel your anxiety coming on, make it a big thing taking a big breath. Make it a big something so that people can see it, overdo it a little bit, because sometimes we just do it. Enough that you know, we are getting that big breath, but make it over exaggerated. So that models the behavior - kids tend to do what they are shown to do, right?

Alright. So what kinds of things do you guys notice as your very 1st sign of anxiety? Or maybe, if you don't want to get personal, maybe something you've seen that somebody else does when they get anxious.

[participant: it's like I can sense the heart rate and the blood pressure] You notice your heart rate and the blood pressure. Yeah, anybody else?

[participant: pacing] Pacing, you see yourself physically moving, [participant… with a move kind of feeling like my eyes growing bigger, too, I can't even close my eyes because they're like cartoonishly big. So cartoonishly big eyes.]

But yeah, all those things that we talked about when that kid in the blue shirt, the cartoon earlier… the heart racing, the breathing fast, all those things that get us ready to either run, which is the flight, get angry and irritable, which is the fight part, and then freeze, which, when you're frozen of like anxiety, paralysis kind of thing. You're not really calm. Your body's on high, alert, but you just can't do it.

So all of these things again, not just in your head, and not just something you can just make go away instantly, because these are real hormones that act on the organs of your body, they act on your eyes, they act on your gut, they act on your heart, they act on your muscles. All of these things happen, and sometimes just naming the feeling like when you 1st recognize it. Name that you're anxious, and that has a way of helping when you recognize those I want you guys to watch this video here.

As you're watching this video, think about how it makes you feel and what you're thinking.

[video of kitten in someone’s hands, getting pet and the kitten playfully nips at the thumb of the person holding it]

Alright. So you guys in zoom can put in the chat box. How does it make you feel?

I think I heard you say happy.

What else? feel calm.

The cat video makes you feel calm, and your thoughts are cute kitty cat. [from chat] Very cat cute, Kitty cat.

Okay, think about this, though. Our experiences are going to impact how we feel.

So you guys all had happy feelings, positive feelings, all cute kitty, happy feelings, soft and warm.

What about if you were bit by a cat, you know you got half your face chunked off when you were a little kid, and you had to be in the hospital. Do you think you're gonna have those feelings, especially when he was like biting on the guy's finger?

Right? We would not be happy. You wouldn't have those warm, cuddly feelings if you had a bad experience or if you're really allergic to the cat.

You might not want to be around it, so maybe not scared, but just avoid it if you’re allergic.

You could also be indifferent. The cat gives no positive or negative feelings. It just is.

Knowing what triggers your anxiety can help you manage your anxiety. Learning your triggers are important, because if you can identify what your triggers are, and prepare and plan. Like, if you are allergic to cats or afraid of cats or dogs, or whatever, and you're going to a place that has that trigger in it, you can emotionally prepare, or maybe warn the people of the house you're going to. If it's the cat or dog type thing, and they can keep the pet away. So change the environment to what you can change but listing out, not necessarily this list that I put down. These are just kinds of things that can trigger people. But listing things, and how you react to them can help you really make an action plan for what you're going to do when you're triggered.

Alright. So in this example, I am a teenager. I’ve got a big test coming up, and I'm worried. I'm gonna fail. And if I don't do well on this test I might not pass the class, and then if I don't pass the class oh, my goodness, maybe I don't know. So I've got to study, right. I'm gonna get the good grade on it, so I can do a good job and pass the class. If anxiety helps me move forward with a plan that's where anxiety can actually be a bit a little bit of a good thing, because if I didn't have any worries at all, and I just went to the class without studying. That doesn't usually turn out very good, either. Right?

So we have to have a little bit of worry as long as that can help us formulate a plan. But the difference happens when we're stuck in a cycle that we keep just thinking about the worries. And then all I can think about is, what if? What if? What if? What if?

And I'm not gonna study cause I'm so worried every time I try to study, I get more worried. So then I'm like, I'm just gonna avoid it. I'm not gonna do it. I'm gonna do these other fun things. And then I'm not have to worry about it. But then it comes time for the test. And I'm probably more likely gonna bomb it right? Because I didn't study.

So when worries like this, we have to be able to recognize that for what it is.

So remember the owl and the barking dog?

So in this example, where I'm just worrying about what-ifs all the time? That dog is barking so loud that I can't use my prefrontal cortex to make some good choices? We're going to talk about the calming things that we can do.

And there are 2 big things that people use for anxiety.

One is medications and medications are kind of that quick fix. People want the medication, and that's my job. As a doctor I prescribe lots of medications, and I do think they work but they're not perfect. When you stop a medication, it stops working. Unless you learn the tools, it's not going to help as well.

And when you take medication sometimes there are side effects. Sometimes they affect your appetite, sometimes they affect your sleep in a negative way. Sometimes they have other issues there.

Tthe best thing with medications, I guess, is they can make your brain more open to some of the tools that you can learn during therapy. So if your brain is really stuck, then starting medication can help make your brain open those ideas to learn the tools and then the tools can be taught in therapy, by self-learning, coming to things like this, reading books, doing workbooks. And those can help.

So that brings us back to how are you gonna call him this barking dog?

So I like this banana, because it explains the whole anxiety CBT model of therapy. It is from Heidi Pickett, who is an illustrator and psychologist in the UK. It's kind of a symbolized visual imagery of thinking and processing. So in her diagram she calls them NATs. I like to call them ANTs. We're gonna talk about ants a lot. But automatic negative thoughts, or she has negative automatic thoughts. These are the most easily accessible things. And so they're used in therapy a lot because you can see them. They're like the outer layer, the unpeeled banana. They're frequent. They pop up in response to everyday things. And we're going to be talking a lot about that in a second.

The next layer, the peel is kind of the underlying assumptions which is kind of they protect us from our core beliefs which we're gonna get to their assumptions that we use to navigate our lives. Like, if I make a mistake, I'm gonna get rejected.

And then at the center is the banana, the core beliefs. And these are things that usually we start when we are in childhood, and they're deeply held about ourselves, so that could even be our view on the world. Kind of thing. They're hard to identify. They're hard to challenge, and they're hard to change. You can make changes to them. But working with a therapist that you really trust would be important with that.

Here are the ants, the automatic negative thoughts is the outside of the banana, the unpeeled thing. And there's a lot of automatic negative thoughts, but you don't have to actually know what it is. You don't have to name it necessarily, but just recognize them for what they are, because we all have them sometimes.

The all or nothing, otherwise known as the black and white. This is where everybody hates me, or I always mess up, or you know any of those things that always happen, or 100% of the time negative.

The focusing on the negative is not being able to see the good about a situation. Maybe you're having the best day ever your worlds of fun. You're having fun on the rides. You're seeing your friends. You're having a great time. But then you puke on a ride and it ruined your day, and when anybody asks how your day was, you say it was horrible. An otherwise perfect day, ruined by one moment. It happens because our brains are wired to remember the negative things. We can train our brains to think more positively, but they're wired to just see the negative.

Then there's the mind reading. When you presume you know what somebody else is gonna think. Oh, I'm not even gonna ask Mary if she wants to come, because I know she's gonna say, no. And I think a lot of kids are afraid to ask people to do things because they try to read their minds, and you never know what anybody else is thinking.

Then the bully ant and this is not the bully at school. This is the bully inside us all, because we're mean to ourselves. You think about it. We're the meanest person to ourselves. Usually right? We tell ourselves we're not good enough. We are stupid, we are, whatever a whole lot more than we would ever tell another human being. We're mean, we're bullies.

Then the rule maker where you are telling yourself things like I should have done this. I must do that. You’re trying to make rules that aren't really necessarily there.

And then the blaming others. This is the opposite, like: it's my teacher's fault that I failed that test because she didn't teach it right. Or it's your fault that I got angry at you. You made me angry. Nobody else can make you anything. You make yourself what you are.

And then there's fortune telling. This is where you think you know how things are. Gonna play out before it happens, which none of us can really tell the future.

And we're gonna talk a little bit about that, too. But something like, I know my group project isn't gonna go great because we don't work well together.

Obviously, these are awful, and we need to learn how to work on them. And we will.

Alright. One thing I want you guys to all be cautious of is negative coping skills.

Now, these are things any of us can fall into the trap of doing at any given time but they never turn out well. They are things like yelling, blaming, violence, fighting, or punching, avoiding things, self harm, drugs, alcohol, isolation, shutting down, procrastination, destroying things, getting revenge, unhealthy eating habits, either eating too much, too little, or the wrong kinds of foods.

All of these things might initially make us feel better. That's why people do them, because they feel like it's going to make them better. But in the end it makes it a lot worse. So we’ve got to stay away from these things. Instead, we're going to try to use healthy cupping skills. And that's what we're going to spend the next amount of time on.

These are all things that you can do to help calm your brain. Calm that barking dog so that you can use the thinking part of your brain.

So one of these is to challenge those ants and making time to sit down and think about what is the truth?

What are the facts supporting this thought?

And what are the facts that don't support it?

And then is the thought true and helpful.

What's the worst thing that could happen?

What is the most likely thing that would happen?

Because those usually aren't the same.

And then trying to flip a negative thought to a positive thought.

So until you're really well practiced at doing these things, physically write these down. And again, I will send out the slides. But physically writing these down and kind of going through it bit by bit and asking for help from a trusted adult if you need it, cause that can help just physically going through it. And the more you do this exercise the easier it becomes.

Alright. So we're gonna actually spend a minute doing this.

So pretend I am, or you are asked to do an oral report but you hate doing things in front of people. You're really nervous about it.

So if that's the case, what do you think your negative thought would be?

If you're told, you have to give an oral report. And you don't like public speaking.

[participant: heck no, i’m not gonna do it]

alright. Anybody else?

[participant: I’m gonna mess it all up. I’m gonna humiliate myself.]

You're gonna humiliate yourself. You're gonna be the laughingstock.

Yeah. Anybody in the chat box here? I don't see anything.

but I like those answers. Those are good negative thoughts. Well, those are good examples of negative thoughts.

So for this example, I put, I'm not good at this. I'm gonna look stupid, which is right along what you guys were saying.

So if you have this thought, how do you think that makes you feel? Thoughts and feelings are linked, but they're not the same thing.

You feel nauseous like you're gonna puke.

What else?

It makes you feel bad about yourself? Yeah.

[participant: I slip into avoidance avoidance.] Yeah, that's a big one.

Scared, nervous, and inadequate are the 3 things that I chose up there. But yeah, you're not gonna feel empowered or anything.

So if you're having this feeling, what do you think your behaviors are going to be? And you already said one of them, is avoidance.

What else?

What do you do when you're scared to do something?

[participant: My mom would… If somebody else supports me, I do it, and I do it despite we'd be nervous.]

Okay, so that's actually using one of the coping strategies, asking for help, which is good.

And in the chat box we have do it poorly.

You're probably not going to do well, because if you're avoiding practicing and doing the project itself, you're not gonna prepare. And so when you're not prepared, you're gonna get up there. And you're gonna notice that you're not prepared.

[participant: I’d think, So what's the point?]

What's the point? I'm trying my best after this? Yeah. So the comment was, what's the point? You're not even gonna wanna try. Which is basically what she said, like avoidance like, you just kinda shut down. And there's actually a term called anxiety paralysis, where you just kind of freeze. You can't do it. You want to do it, but you just can't so when you're having the talk, you feel not prepared. So you get up there. Your heart might be pounding or breathing fast, so you can't speak clearly. You get confused, and then it doesn't go well, and that feeds back into the thought that you don't do a good job.

So it kind of is a reinforcing prophecy right? Like you don't prepare because you're too worried. And then you don't do a good job because you didn't prepare. And then it reinforces that you don't do a good job.

So now we're gonna try to flip this thought to something more positive.

And you know that it's a negative feeling or a thought that you have. You don't want to do it. But you're gonna try to flip the thought to a positive thought. Now, the rule is, you can't lie to yourself. You can't just say I'm the best speaker ever, because that's not gonna help anything right? You're lying to yourself, and you know you're lying to yourself.

So what can you tell yourself that's a true but positive?

in the chat box. You guys can answer, too.

[participant: I did a report 2 months ago, and it ended up, okay, so do you want to be okay?] Yeah, you can use a past experience. I did a report 2 months ago, and it turned out, okay, this is going to be okay. Love it. Yeah.

[participant: Saying, Look, just because I don't think I'm gonna do well, and I'm nervous doesn't mean that I I won't necessarily do it badly that my fault would be like, oh, I might not. I just have to try.] Yeah, you might not do badly. You just have to try. Exactly.

[participant: Don't have anything.] It's hard sometimes, if you have a hard time thinking what you could tell yourself, think about what you would tell your friend if they're struggling with something, because again, we're mean to ourselves. But we're usually nicer to our friends. So think about what you could tell your friend if they're struggling. If they feel like they're going to do a bad job.

Yeah. The things that you might say would be I'm not good at this yet, which is kind of like what you were saying. I can practice until I feel confident I doubt the other students even care what I do.

These are all things that are truthful statements that might help you feel what -


[a little calmer]


Feelings I put on here are more capable, empowered, calm, and motivated.

So then, when you're feeling these thoughts that are a little more positive, how do you think that's going to change your behaviors?

If you're feeling more capable and empowered and motivated. You're gonna probably try right? You're gonna practice. You're gonna rehearse. You're gonna maybe ask for help. If you need it. When you do these things, you practice and prepare, you will probably do a better job, which then brings the thought to the next time where you can have that thought. I just did this 2 months ago. I can do it again.

So practicing going through these kinds of flipping, the automatic negative thoughts can really, really help because it really changes the whole situation.

And then you have the experience that you can use for the next time.

Alright. So with all these ants sometimes it seems like you're hearing the doom and gloom show -all you hear all day long inside your head are negative thoughts.

So what do you do about that?

The radio show is doom and gloom. They're reminding you of all the bad things that happen before and worry about all the things that might happen in the future. So if you're tuned into the show, your life seems pretty miserable, you're gonna be pretty unhappy. You can't just turn off the TV because you got to still live right? You can turn the volume down and say positive thoughts.

You can leave it playing in the background, but do other things and not pay attention to those words. Kind of treat it just as background noise.

Mindfulness is something that can really help with this. It trains your brain how to kind of just put thoughts to the side and refocus on what you're focusing on. And as I was doing this, I was gonna talk more originally about mindfulness, but realized it's a whole talk in itself. So I'm gonna talk about mindfulness twice. I'm gonna do it this weekend on Sunday, and then the 1st Tuesday of the month. This talk next time. So I'll show you about that at the end.

Then you can change the channel. Does anybody know what change the channel means? What do you think I'm talking about here?

Obviously, it's not TV. It's when you get the doom and gloom show going on in your head.

What do you think changing the channel would be?

[participant: think of something else]

Thinking about something else- exactly! Or doing something else, doing something you love: exercise, drawing, painting, coloring, taking a bath. Something that you enjoy to get your mind off of it. It has to be a time limited, something, because you obviously can't waste all your time and procrastinate, and then not do what you need to do, but sometimes just doing something to calm your brain. Enough that you can use the thinking part to your brain

Alright, and then mindfulness and meditation again. I was gonna go through some of this, but it's too big. It's gonna be talked about next time. Mindfulness has been used for centuries. But it's really been shown in recent years with brain imaging and testing of how we're thinking that it makes physical changes - the grey matter actually changes when you do mindfulness. It's pretty amazing stuff and stuff you can do at home, just starting with breathing. We're going to talk about that a lot next time.

Alright, and then sensory things I brought a glitter jar. I put too much glitter glue in this, because it doesn't like ever go down all the way. But you can make these glitter jars. There's YouTube videos all over the place on how to do it. If this actually settled faster, it's really calming to watch. Don't put too much glitter glue in, because then it doesn't settle, but these are awesome. They have the fidgety things, all the sensory input things, things that are rough texture or smooth texture depending on what you like better. Lava lamps. Certain smells, smells can be very calming for some people. They can be distressing for other people. So, finding a scent that you'd like can be very, very helpful. Slime, play dough - those are all good things.

So mantras are something that can really help when you are having a lot of those negative thoughts replace the negative thought with a positive so kind of like a positive affirmation. Think about what you bully yourself about all the time, you know. If you tell yourself you're not good enough, what can you say instead, that will counter that? What's more still truthful, but more positive that you can say and then you can also say things like my anxiety always goes away. So when you are nervous. You can say I can call my brain or something like that. No one's perfect. I'm good enough as it is. I am capable. I can do hard things. There's so many of these things that you could say to yourself and put these on your notebooks. Put these on your bathroom mirror, put these wherever you need to see them. I know some people will put them as like a background on their screensaver kind of thing. But repeat them several times in the day, because the more times you say something, the more you'll believe that thought, the more you the more you hear. So if you hear the negative thoughts all the time you're gonna believe those. If you hear the positive thoughts, you're gonna believe those more likely.

Alright. Then sometimes we just can't change things. We have to learn to accept them, and that's the unfortunate thing with life. Bad things happen. And if you stew about it, it just makes it worse. So sometimes we do just have to say, this is the way it is. I need to move on. Whatever's here is here. We're going to go.

Back when we were talking about all the newer transmitters, exercise helps boost a lot of those positive things and it helps our body stay healthy. So bonus, right? It helps both our brain and our body. But exercise is amazing.

And getting outside to do it is even better. There's something about fresh air, sunlight that really helps calm our brains, rejuvenate our bodies. Natural light is just so good for us. So go to the park, go to the playground, go to your backyard, get outside somewhere alright, and then it might sound like a chore to clean and organize, but for a lot of people having a room or their backpack, or whatever organized, is calming because it gives them anxiety to not be organized.

[participant: So I have this little, save that I put all my my favorite stuff in, so rather than organizing my entire room, I put all of my favorite stuff into one little thing.]

Alright. So one of the comments here is rather than organizing this whole room. Just stuff into one space. So I think if that helps calm you down or before, like studying, or something like that, just getting your space cleared out that can help calm you and get you prepared to do what you need to do.

Preparation is helpful. If you're worried about doing something, you want to do it with confidence whether that's studying for test, or maybe give a big assignment, you can break it into smaller things. Prepare by planning out what you're gonna do little bits at a time? Or if you're nervous about going to a social event. You don't know what you're going to say. What if people don't like me. You can rehearse that maybe with a parent, or a brother, or sister, or a friend you can practice what to talk about, and some people even do that like visually, which I think is the next one. Yeah, visualize.

So with visualizing, you can see yourself doing something and not just like the end product, but actually working through how you're gonna do it. This has been very well studied in athletes and athletes, will go through all the plays in their head and see themselves doing what they need to do to win the game. It gets them in the zone of the game that mindset if you're nervous to do anything like getting up here and talking, maybe I could just sit there beforehand and kind of picture myself doing it gain confidence without actually having to do it. So I think people will do this a lot if they're scared of dogs, they can 1st visualize themselves looking at a dog petting a dog doing things because they know they're completely safe. There's no dog around. And then they will actually go see a dog behind a glass at the pet store or something, and eventually get to where they actually pet the dog.

But starting with visualization, can help get you in the mindset that you can do the harder things.

Positive self-talk. We've already talked about this a lot. I think this is huge. We need to be our own best friends, and we're not. We're mean to ourselves.

So start thinking about the ways that you tell yourself that you're not good enough, or that you can't do it, and think about how you can flip that conversation. Make a point to say positive things about yourself throughout the day every day.

And then again, the thoughts we repeat the most in our heads are the ones we're going to remember.

And then music. Music is actually a proven way to help feel better. It doesn't matter what kind it is. It could be classical, it can be. Rock can be jazz, but music is a very helpful thing for mental status.

And then again, eating and sleeping always self care is so much more important than people recognize and sleep, unfortunately, is one of the most important things, but it's also one of the hardest things to do. If you have anxiety or depression.

It's really hard to fall asleep because your brain is just thinking all the thoughts, and so doing some of the calming things like breathing or mindfulness. Meditation. They have body scan save all kinds of things you could do to help your brain kind of calm down because you can't just tell yourself to stop thinking cause. Then you just start thinking more. You have to push those thoughts out by thinking something else that's relaxing. Because if you can sleep, that will help your mood and emotional regulation a lot.

Of course, eating healthy is super important. And we talked about with the neurotransmitters on that level. You need your plants. You need your vitamin. C, so you need your fruits and vegetables. You need your magnesium. You need your calcium. You need proteins. All of these things help make the transmitters that help the hormones that make you feel better. Right? So it's super important to eat those healthy foods.

Then progressive muscle relaxation teaches you how to relax your muscles by tightening them on purpose and then relaxing them. Oftentimes it is associated with breathing where you breathe in as you tighten, and then, as you breathe out, you relax, and you feel the energy. Just kind of leaving. But a lot of people when they get anxious. One of the 1st things they'll notice is they get that muscle tension again, getting you ready to run your muscles. Gotta get ready. Doesn't help you at all when you have 2024 type anxieties. But you have all this muscle tension, and you might not even recognize how much tension you have until you start doing something that you intentionally start doing the progressive muscle relaxation cause that trains your brain to recognize it and how to relax it.

So if you get a lot of headaches with your anxiety because of that muscle tension doing progressive muscle relaxation is one of the best things you can do. And again it takes practice. There's a lot of apps now and again. We'll talk more about this next time.

Again, beware of the negative coping strategies. This I have on twice, because I think it's so important. So many people fall into the traps of doing anything that hurts their body, whether it's common, like biting nails or pulling hair, or really dangerous, like drugs and alcohol self harm. We don't want anybody to rely on these things getting help. If you notice that you're doing any of these things is super important. So talking to a trusted adult finding a therapist talking to your doctor at school. You can talk to teachers, counselors. All of the adults in your world that you trust. You can ask for help.


I wasn't sure if we'd have time to do the quiz, you guys ready for a quiz? For those on Zoom, if it's true or false, you could just put T or F. Some of them are like Abcd. You can just put the letter, and then you guys can yell out your answer, but give it a pause so that people can think about it. Okay.

alright. So true or false.

What you learned today won't work. If you don't understand the science.

let's give the people in here a chance. Okay, but he's like


We got falses all across the board, even in the chat box.

Alright. What part of the brain watches for dangers.

This one you have to type in guys. Sorry

front brain part the part that watches for dangers. What do you think

anyone else

got an amygdala in there?

So the amygdala is it? Or the barking dog, I would accept that cause. That's I thought they were. Gonna say, dog, too. I really thought they were. Gonna say, dog! Oh, there you go. That's I never really thought about that. But yeah.

alright. So the amygdala is our watchdog.

all right, which is not a typical body. Reaction to anxiety, heart racing, fatigue, dilated pupils, or tight muscles.


What do you think

it's going

alright? We got B across the board. Then I had to think about it, because I didn't know what my letters were. So yeah, everybody said, fatigue, which is right.


An anxious thought

can help when it keeps you up at night. It leads to paralysis. It leads to a plan with an action or none of the above.

Alright. So we've got some C's and a none of the above.

So actually it can help. Remember, I said, sometimes anxiety is good, because if I don't worry about anything, I could walk in front of a car because nothing's gonna hurt me. I'm not gonna study for a test because nothing's gonna bother me. I'm gonna pass right.

So you hopped out a little bit

when it leads to a plan and an action

right? So anxiety is not all bad. We do need a little bit of it. We just don't need to run away from the big bad

tigers anymore.

Alright. So I put 3. There's a lot of coping skills. So which ones of them. Can you guys name.

or maybe just

what you could do some of the things you don't have to name them self reinforcement, self reinforcement, like positive self-talk.


mindful breathing.

mindful breathing.

Yeah, we'll.

It's hard. There's so many.

Yeah, so

sweet. That's a good one. It's on there.

yeah, there's so many.

And of course I didn't list them all with names, because it's more fun to have cats to remember. And I think a lot of people are visual. So if you can think about some of these cats and what they're doing, like listening to music or thinking about the senses. And I didn't go through that when I check it out, when I stopped talking about the

mindfulness. But one of the


ways to be mindful is to think of your 5 senses things you're seeing, hearing.

smelling, tasting, feeling.

Not in that order.

I always get the order wrong.



Do you guys have any questions?

Any in the chat box.

arrow Point


Does it sound like the airplane whenever the air conditioner kicks on, I think?

Why not? Why not?

If you guys have any questions put in the chat box.

again. I mentioned several times. I'm going to talk about mindfulness on

June 9, th at one and July second at 6 30. Both of those are online only so we're not going to be here, so it'll be easier. I don't have to keep 2 screens going, which is very distracting. But

it's in the Adhd Kc. Newsletter. So if you signed up for this, you get added to the Newsletter List, but sometimes it ends up in your spam.

so make sure you check your spam. If you're not getting the newsletters or you can just look at the newsletter every once in a while, and I update it. This is already on there. And if you guys want the QR code, here goes to my site because I have both of them. I think I'm gonna add both of them to the Htc. Site, too. But I made this slide before. So

thank you.

Do you guys have any questions? I will stop recording.



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