Meet your Worry Beast

  • Think of worry as a friendly beast who has been given the job of protecting you from danger, but who has a tendency to overdo it — following you around all day long, telling you things that aren’t even true, or warning you about things that are no big deal at all.

    You don’t want to kick Worry completely out of your life, right? But working on your friendship would be a very good idea.

  • Step 1 of 13

    Gather your supplies:

    Your journal

    A piece of paper

    Colored pens and pencils

    Optional: Paints, collaging materials, self-hardening clay (if you want to make a 3D beast)

  • Step 2 of 13

    First, let’s get warmed up. For this exercise you will need a partner, and one piece of paper and pen to share.

    Here is your assignment:

    Working quickly, and without speaking to each other (important!), you are going to draw a worry beast…together. With your one pen, take turns adding a line, shape, or feature of some kind. For example, you might draw a circle, then pass the pen to your partner, who might add an ear. Got it?

    Okay, on your marks, get set, go!

    After a couple of minutes, or when you feel your beast is finished, it’s time to give it a name. Here’s the challenge, though: You must name your beast the same way you drew your beast. One of you will start by writing down a letter, then the other will add the second letter. Without speaking to each other, keep adding letters until you both — with a nod or thumbs up — feel the name is finished.

  • Step 3 of 13

    And now that you have practiced your beast-making skills, let’s bring your very own beast to life.

    You can either read this next part to yourself, or have someone else read it to you while you close your eyes. If you’re reading to yourself, close your eyes afterwards and take a few minutes to really picture your beast in my mind.

  • Step 4 of 13

    Are you ready? Okay, be sure to read this slowly so you have plenty of time to imagine your beast. If someone is reading to you, close your eyes so you can better see your beast:

    Imagine some beast has just arrived to tell you that you better start worrying. Maybe you have a test coming up, or you have to give a speech in class — or maybe you are worried about a certain friendship, or soccer tryouts.

    What kind of beast do you see?

    Does your beast have any special features or markings?

    If it wears clothes, what kind?…

  • Step 5 of 13

    How does your beast get around? Does it walk? Hop? Stomp? Fly? Magically appear out of nowhere?

    Where does your beast hang out? In the corner of your room? On your shoulder? Inside your head? Does it float above you?…

  • Step 6 of 13

    How does your beast talk? Does it yell? Whisper? Sing? Or does it have other ways of communicating?

    What kinds of things does your beast say to you? Does it repeat the same worried thought over and over until you want to pull your hair out? Does it tell you lies, like Nobody likes you!

    Remember, though — as annoying as your beast might be, it isn’t all bad. Sometimes beasts are helpful. Sometimes your beast even saves you from harm.

  • Step 7 of 13

    Do you have a clear picture of your beast? Can you see your beast moving around? Can you hear your beast’s voice?

    Okay, when you are ready, open your eyes (or, if your eyes were already open, close your eyes for a minute, until you can really see your beast in your mind).

    In your journal, write down as many details as you can remember — and when you are finished, add more! Details are what bring beasts to life.

  • Step 8 of 13

    When you feel ready, give your beast a name. If you can’t think of a name right now, that’s okay. Maybe a name will come to you as you’re drawing.

    In your journal make a pencil sketch of your beast. When you’re finished, it’s a good idea to add a ridiculous hat, an ice cream cone, or some other funny detail to remind yourself not to take your worry beast too seriously.

    When you’re happy with your sketch, you can keep it as it is, go over the lines in pen, or make a new drawing in your journal or on a larger piece of paper. Use whatever materials you’d like — colored pencils, markers, paint, collage, or even clay.

  • Step 9 of 13

    Now, whenever a new worry pops up, you can say, “Oh hey Worry, it’s you again.”

    Most worry beasts just hang around, getting in the way of your fun, so sometimes you might have to tell your overly helpful beast, “Thanks for looking out for me, but I really don’t need your help right now.”

  • Step 10 of 13

    Here’s a little relaxation exercise you can try at the end of this project.

    If you are leading a Fearless group, read these instructions (slowly) to your group. If you are working on your own, you can either read through the instructions before you close your eyes, or keep your eyes open as you read through each step…

     

  • Step 11 of 13

    Imagine that you have just waved goodbye to Worry and you are now sitting peacefully alone in the sun.

    Take a few slow, deep breaths as you imagine the sun shining down on you. See the beams of yellow light reaching all the way from the sky down onto your skin.

    As you continue breathing deeply, feel the warmth of the sun’s beams on your cheeks… on your arms… on your back…on your legs.

    Imagine that you are breathing all that light and warmth inside you. Imagine the warmth traveling through your body, warming your insides. Feel the warmth inside your head, inside your heart, inside your stomach. Hold that warm feeling inside as you take a few more slow, deep breaths.

    Now imagine that the light is traveling the other direction. You are the light. You are the sun. See and feel the rays of light traveling out of your body, warming and lighting everything around you.

    Take a few more slow deep breaths as you warm the world with your sunlight, and when you are ready, open your eyes.

    As you go about your day, see if you can keep your light shining inside you and out into the world.

  • Step 12 of 13

    If you liked the way that felt, try it again sometime. Remember, you can become the sun any time you want.

    Or try a different relaxation exercise. You’ll find a few on our More Ideas page, listed under TO TRY.

  • Step 13 of 13

    Want to create a story or comic featuring your worry beast? Right this way.

    Ready to add your worry beast to our gallery? Great!