Positive thinking has become a widely used to term, but what does it mean and how can we put it into action? Positive thinking is how you view an event in your life either positive or negative. Of course we should all be prepared for the not so good times, but how should we handle them or think about them when they do appear?
For some people creating a positive spin on a negative situation can seem natural, and these people tend to be optimistic people. This definitely does not come naturally to all people. It is even more worrying when it doesn’t come naturally to children.
When something bad happens there is more than one way it can be approached or thought about. Throughout my teaching career I have had many parents ask for help over their child’s negative thinking patterns. Read more
What is flow and how can it minimise the risk of depression? Flow is the state we’re in when we’re being creative, building a project or preparing for something. When we’re focused on a task or working towards a goal we don’t have time to worry, to feel anxious, angry or depressed.
Although, just because we’re busy doesn’t mean we are happy. We are usually so focused that we’re not in deep thought about anything other than what we are doing. We are being mindful.
This mindfulness about something can minimise the over thinking that causes anxiety and depression.
So how can you get into flow?
When I was little, before the worry dolls came into my life, my emotions were very intense and out of control. I would worry about how I spoke to someone, I would be scared that I’d get caught for something wrong I’d done, usually this was stealing my mum’s chocolate!
During my primary school years I would cry myself to sleep, wondering why so and so didn’t want to be my friend that day or why I’d been left out all week. I vividly remember nights of me crying to mum in my bedroom and saying soothingly, “Why don’t you find some new friends.” Or “Don’t let those girls bother you.”
Then one day, while out shopping, I saw these gorgeous little matchstick dolls. There were 7 of them and they came in a small, colourful drawstring bag that was the perfect size to fit under my pillow. It came with a tiny note, I can’t exactly remember what the note said, but it told me how to use them.
The instructions were along the lines of – Tell your worries to your dolls every night before you go to bed and put them under your pillow. When you wake up in the morning your dolls will have sorted out all of your worries for you.
The first night I have it ago I remember having one of the best sleeps ever! These dolls were magical.
I often mention these dolls to my students and I tell them that they don’t need to have proper worry dolls to help their worries disappear. They can talk to a soft toy or a poster, as long as they are airing out their worries and relinquishing the control over them. Because worries aren’t solved by worrying.
We are reading a beautiful book in class at the moment called the Worry Tree. If you have a daughter who worries a lot, this book is perfect.
Read my post on anxiety for more tips on how to stop worrying.
Children are often very forgiving little souls, although they do tend to hold onto some negative experiences in their lives. So how can we teach kids to forgive and forget, rather than forgive and remember.
There are two types of forgiveness. An optimistic child will forgive someone else’s wrong doing and leave it at that, however some children, that may be prone to low moods, will blame themselves for the any wrongs that were done. As parents or teachers the challenge is to help the child recognise that when they forgive, they need to practice to let the incident go altogether.
On the flip side of this are the children that are resistant to forgiveness. They may be labelled as stubborn, strong willed or distrusting, some of these may be used as terms of endearment. ‘She’s just like her father.’ or ‘It’s her nature.’ All of this is fine, it’s no surprise that some children are more open to the concept of forgiveness than others. Although positive psychology suggests that forgiveness is strongly linked to happiness. Forgiving and letting go can release the stress associated with holding onto a painful experience or a hurtful friendship.
So how can we teach forgiveness? There is no quick fix, although there are strategies. The first part (and most important) is to work with your child and relive the incident and think about the other side. This may not justify the event, but that’s not what we’re working towards, we are working towards forgiveness. The we need to let it go, this can be hard. I like to have a little ceremony, where the child writes down the issue and writes underneath I forgive.
One of the biggest challenges may be self-forgiveness. Children, just like adults, can often be to harsh on themselves. So practising letting go of shame, guilt, anxiety and all the issues that come with it is essential for some more sensitive children.
Forgiveness activities include:
Happy people and happy children have high self-esteem. They are content and they have reasonable goals that they work to meet. When they fail at something they don’t get in a mad, depressive panic they think about what went wrong and try to change it so that next time it will be better.
This self-esteem or trust in themselves that happy children or happy people have doesn’t necessarily come naturally. They have either seen it work for others or someone has guided them through this process. They have been guided to feel in control of their goals and the way in which they pursue them. Their goals haven’t been dictated by others, they have set them themselves.
Self-esteem is a trust that you have with yourself. That you can do this!
Does you child talk negatively to themselves? Is your child to harsh on themselves when they do something wrong? I see it so much in teaching… Anxieties about learning come out most fierce when they get a mark they’re not happy about, get in trouble or make a mistake. A way to help an anxious child is to help them learn strategies for positive self talk.
As an adult it is hard to hear a child talk like that about themselves. Here are a few tips to help them ‘talk positive’ to themselves: Read more
Guilt is the sucker of self-esteem, confidence and positivity. Guilt is like the little devil on your shoulder telling you that you have done something wrong. Sometimes that devil is so good that you listen to its ideas over and over. It’s hard to shake, it is hard to talk yourself out of it. But the important thing to note is, you can! Read more
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Stay Positive is an exciting resource for parents, teachers, youth workers and social workers to use with young people.
This resource is designed to build connections and create a deeper bond with your son, daughter, student or client.
Why? Depression and mental health are one of the biggest major health challenges our young people face today. We need to get in early and give our kids the knowledge of positive practices, coping strategies and stress management so they can get on with life, without worrying.
Detailed in this ebook are more than 15 ways you can help improve the quality of life for someone close to you. This activities are designed to be used together with a young person or a group of young people.
Download this ebook by signing in on the bar above or if you’re on a computer you can sign in on the right and join me on my mission to erase the worries and stresses that young people face today!
Something was wrong when I started feeling unexcited about life. There was no tears as such, I just wasn’t happy or very motivated. I knew something needed to change, this was not who I was… I was the happy go lucky girl that was over excited and over energetic about everything. So what had happened?
Social pressure, body image issues and hormones probably all played their part. Also, I expected things to come immediately and be instantly gratified, so when they didn’t come I was unhappy.
Even when they did come, like my amazing trip to Europe with a close friend, it wasn’t as good as expected… feelings and thoughts of being ungrateful would stir up in my head. How could I feel like this when so many other people had it so much worse? It was a vicious cycle.
So, how did I get out of this?