Small Hey Warrior
Measuring 22cm high, the small amygdala plushie is the perfect travel-sized warrior for sleepovers, the school bag, the sports bag, the car, the couch, on your pillow – the truth is it will want to be anywhere you are.
The plushie amygdala (which features in Ups and Downs, Hey Warrior, Hey Awesome, and Dear You Love From Your Brain) is the perfect partner resource to use with any of the books. Why? Because they won’t eat your reading snacks. Unless your reading snacks are blueberries – then they might. You wouldn’t think stealing blueberries would be an issue for something that didn’t have actual teeth and tummies, but they don’t know this, you see, so they steal with them wondrous extravagance and make a mess when they smoosh them into their mouths – as you can tell by the colour of their fur.
Plushie amygdala – making neuroscience fun and feelings make sense since … like, for a while.
Here are some ways to use your plushie to feel braver, stronger, and less anxious:
- A breathing buddy. Lie down, put your plushie on your belly and take strong, steady breaths. If your plushie moves up and down as your breathe, your breathing is perfect – strong, steady, and from your belly – exactly the type that will calm anxiety.
- A sleeping buddy. Put your plushie close to you as you are falling asleep. As you feel it against you, pay attention to your breathing – let it be slow and relaxed. Then, imagine that your plushie is trying to fall asleep – try to be as still and as gentle as you can so as not to wake it up. This is a way to practise mindfulness and strengthen an anxious brain.
- Shift their focus from their anxiety to their courage. What we focus on is what becomes powerful. When we ask, ‘What might your amygdala need to feel okay again?‘ Or, ‘What words might help your amygdala feel brave right now?‘, we shift their focus from their anxiety to their own capacity to lead their amygdala (and themselves) into brave behaviour.
- A listening buddy. Talk to your plushie about your worries, (they can handle anything), or when you’re sad, mad, jealous, when you’ve messed up, done something fabulous, and when you’re feeling like an absolute legend. Talking helps to bring calm to an anxious brain by strengthening the connection between the emotion-loving right, and the language-and-logic-loving left.
- To take away the ‘anxiety about the anxiety”. When we introduce the amygdala in a playful, friendly way, we make way for them to approach the brave, meaningful, hard, new things that often fuel anxiety or other big feelings. Rather than feeling like they need to avoid anxiety (and the things that trigger anxiety – brave things, new things, hard things), they can imagine sitting cross-legged on the floor with their amygdala, staring it in the eye and saying, ‘Hey, I know this feels big. Come on, we can do this,’ as they imagine taking it by the hand and moving bravely forward.
- To make it safer to talk about big feelings, and to identify (and buy in to) calming strategies. We tend to find it easier to talk about the things that upset other people or things (as in ‘your amygdala’), or what other people or things might need, than it is to talk about ourselves. We can use the amygdala to draw on a powerful therapeutic technique called projection as a way to understand more about their triggers and the things that can bring them back to brave or calm. Try, ‘What upsets your amygdala?‘ Or, ‘What might your amgydala need to feel okay again?‘