"The Force is what gives a Jedi his power," says Obi-Wan Kenobi to Luke Skywalker. "It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together."
My favorite movies of all time come from the original Star Wars trilogy. Growing up, I often played with Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader action figures, pretending I too was a Jedi Knight. It's not surprising that, when I entered seventh grade and faced adversity, I turned to the power of the Force.
Middle school hurt. Social intimidation, academic challenges, and parental pressures all set against the backdrop of swirling hormones and my personal penchant for worry. Around age 12, my anxiety really took flight and started to knock the wind right out of me -- literally. The smallest challenges sparked internal firestorms of thoughts that manifested in stomachaches, crying, and often shortness of breath.
My parents tried to cleave me from the throes of panic with consistent love and reassurance, but to no avail. As I grew, so too did their feelings of helplessness. Not wanting them (or me) to suffer any further, I enacted a plan. I asked myself when a Jedi would do in this situation. The answer was obvious: use the Force to build a protective shield.
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My first attempt at Jedi training was based on an unsophisticated understanding of the Force. With a different perspective and years of mindfulness practice, I feel confident in passing on some more effective Jedi lessons to our children. If you have an anxious child (and especially if they love Star Wars), try these techniques.
4 Jedi Mind(fulness) Tricks to Help an Anxious Child:
1. Define the "Force."
In the Star Wars movies, it becomes clear very quickly that the Force is an awesome power that everyone wants. But what exactly is the Force? When I work with kids, I provide them with my interpretation. The Force is the power we get from any emotion, whether it comes from the light side or the dark side. From love, joy, and surprise to anger, sadness, and worry, nothing is "good" or "bad." These emotions are only messengers, and all are part of the Force.