A Beautiful Game to Shrink Anxiety

Last night I sat in my bedroom trying to shrink some fearful thoughts down to a size my brain would be able to compute (I’m guessing that right now, in these days of the corona virus, a lot of you can relate).

I wasn’t having much success and then my son came in.

‘I’m so gutted I’m not able to go to Russia,’ he said, flopping down into a chair.

I nodded sympathetically and we exchanged worried thoughts about the corona virus and the impact it’s having on everyone.

Desperately wanting to wrench us from the descending gloom I had an idea. ‘Why don’t we focus on something more positive?’ I suggested. ‘Let’s take it in turns to share something we’re grateful for and why.’

Those of you who are familiar with my writing will know that I’m a huge fan of gratitude as a practise but it’s normally something I do on my own, recording a daily gratitude list in my journal. And I’d never had this kind of conversation with my son before, so I wasn’t sure if he’d go for it. But to my delight he did.

At first we shared the obvious things. ‘

I’m grateful for football for all the good times it’s given me,’ my son said (and he supports Wycombe Wanderers so that truly is gratitude!).

‘I’m grateful for the work I do because I love it so much,’ I said.

We were both grateful for our friends and our family. And the many different places we’ve lived.

He was grateful for all he’s learned at uni.

I was grateful for the sea.

Then I threw a challenge into the mix. ‘Is there anything really painful that you’ve been through that you’re now grateful for?’ I asked.

He thought for a moment, then nodded and told me about a vital lesson he’d learned from a personal rock bottom.

Then it was my turn. I took a deep breath, and confided in him that I was grateful for a really painful time I went through last year, and how it challenged me to dig deep and see some parts of myself that needed healing.

Then my boy and I sat in silence for a while, soaking in the stillness and the peace and the closeness that our impromptu game of ‘gratitude tag’ had created.

And I felt so incredibly grateful to be there, in that moment, resting in Love, with him.

If you’re struggling with anxiety due to the corona virus pandemic, playing a game of gratitude tag with someone else could really help ease your worries for a bit.

And even if you’re having to self isolate on your own, you can always play it via message.

A friend of mine and I are currently checking in with each other at the end of every day, sharing 3 things we’ve been grateful for that day and it’s really helping.

Sending lots of love, and gratitude that I’m able to connect with you…

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