How do you get out of bed?
Do you get out of bed each morning dreading the day ahead?
Are you focussed on that one thing you don’t want to do?
Do you wake up thinking, “I can’t wait to whinge about…today”?
Roll out of bed with an optimistic view. Instead of saying to yourself; “I have to go to work today”. Say; “I get to go to work today”. This subtle change of thinking is powerful. When you say; “I get to…” it is a reminder to you that you are lucky and thankful you have a job to go to, so you can support your family. Many people will do anything to be in your position. Always be grateful for what you have no matter what your situation.
How would your life be different if you learnt to eliminate negativity from your life once and for all?
Optimism is a choice.
You can choose to get out of bed and focus on negative things, which can lead to a downward spiral in your life. Or you can focus on the good things in your life and that will catapult you on an upward spiral.
Leading Positive Psychologist Martin Seligman nails it. His book The Optimistic Child is the book to read for raising optimistic children. He believes we are going through an epidemic of pessimism.
Pessimism can lead to depression, resignation, underachievement and poor physical health. This epidemic lead to Seligman’s determination to develop psychological immunisation for healthy children with the aim of making them resistant to becoming depressed later in life. He wondered if skills taught to healthy kids would help them achieve more in school, work and sports. He wondered would they have fewer physical diseases?
Could teenage depression, suicide, drug abuse, pregnancy and the feeling of meaninglessness be alleviated by psychological immunisation. Psychological immunisation has a lot to do with teaching children to be optimistic from day 1.
To create the next generation of optimistic people we need to model optimistic behaviour to our children. To be honest it’s not hard to cultivate. It is your role as a teacher or parent to model optimism, as well as provide opportunities for children to be optimistic.
Here is how to do it…
Ask questions that get children to focus on the good things that happen. For example:
- What are you looking forward to today?
- What went well today?
- What was the best part of your day?
- What was your favourite lesson today?
- What was something new you learnt today?
- What was a nice thing you did for someone today?
- Did anyone do something nice for you today?
Asking such questions will train children’s minds to focus on positive things with the aim being children not even noticing the little negative things that pop up in a day.
I recently heard Bert Jacobs founder of Life is Good say, “If you focus on the good things, then you will catch all the good things we have in life and you will be more attractive to people”.
It works in the opposite way too. Focus on the negatives and you will catch the negative things in life.
No. 3 of the Growing With Gratitude’s 5 Habits of Happiness is positive reflection. We believe focussing on the positives is crucial to developing optimistic children, teachers and families.
- For 1 day make a conscious effort to focus on all the good things in your day. That includes no gossip, whinging, and negative self talk.
- Ask your child/children/students first thing in the morning when you see them, “what are you most looking to today?”
- At the end of school day for teachers and before bed for parents ask, “what was the best thing about today?” or “what went well for you today”?
Why only one day?
It’s achievable and it’s a start.
Start by doing this for one day and then make a huge effort to continue this positive habit. It’s powerful and it will create the next generation of optimistic people and it will train your brain to focus on the positives.
Please share your optimistic approaches by leaving a comment below.
You can also embed a deep culture of gratitude into your family home here
Growing With Gratitude Blog
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Included in the KidsMatter Primary School’s Programs Guide