In 2016 I wrote, illustrated and published ‘Tame the Hamsters in Your Head’; a fun and practical workbook for all ages that turns the thoughts in your head into hamsters. Each page has a space to get hamster thoughts down and an activity to unlock your creativity and refresh your thinking. In this book, primarily written for school aged children, Hamsters are a metaphor for thoughts. Hamsters are not good or bad, they are just thoughts. Hamsters are often more active at night, because they are nocturnal. Sometimes there are lots of them jumping around vying for my attention, sometimes there is just one running around and around on a wheel.
As someone who has suffered with anxiety and depression for over fifteen years, I have become fairly adept at managing my thoughts. For some time now I have imagined them to be little hamsters running around inside my head. This became a habit after a funny story at the pub from my good friend Lance, who also describes himself as having hamsters in his head. When my daughter started suffering from anxiety, I wanted to help her learn to manage her thoughts in a fun and interactive way and eventually the Hamster Workbook was born.
The design of the book allows children to draw or write out their Hamster thoughts, which allows a grown up to model cognitive behavioural therapy techniques, one of the most effective forms of psychological therapy for a range of mental health issues. Additionally, by identifying thoughts as crazy Hamsters that run around in their heads, children begin to understand some of the key concepts of mindfulness, such as not having to believe or follow your thoughts.
Feedback from customers of Hamsters in My head has been very positive so far and a new edition of ‘Tame the Hamsters in Your Head’ is planned for late 2017 because I keep thinking of more fun and creative activity pages!
- Project Lead: Tamara Pearce
- Project Outcome: Comprehensively designed and illustrated workbook to support positive mental health and creativity in children and young people.