focus on the GOOD

Focusing on the good can be difficult at times. Many of us have had our fair share of pessimistic moments. In fact, according to an article about Negativity Bias, we are hard wired to notice and dwell on negative experiences because “negative events have a greater impact on our brains than positive ones.”  However, it’s so important to teach our children to be resilient and not crumble when things aren’t going exactly as planned. A powerful way to help them and ourselves through the difficult times is to focus on the good.

negativity and stress are related
As stated in an article by Roots of Action, neuroscientists Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Prof. Mark Robert Waldman, authors of the book Words Can Change Your Brain, explains just how negativity and stress are related. Speaking negative thoughts about anything (health, financials, doubt, worry, disapproval, fear, etc.) releases stress chemicals in not just your brain, but those within earshot of you as well. Constantly living in an uphill battle of negativity and stress can cause the mind to continuously dip to a pessimistic or stressed state. Think of how that could affect those within earshot of the negative speaker, such as the spouse, children, friends, and loved ones. Think of how habitually speaking and thinking negatively can affect someone long-term.

shift the mind to focus on the good
Well that means we just need to think positive thoughts, right? It’s not always that easy with life and obstacles being thrown our way constantly. However, there are some tricks that can help shift the mind to a place of optimism versus pessimism. One very helpful trick to shift the mind is practicing gratitude. Focusing on the good goes hand-in-hand with gratitude (see GRATITUDE is the key blog post). If you focus on things that you are grateful for, you’re shifting your thoughts to everything that is good in your life. This shift in the mind from pessimism to optimism creates a powerful ripple effect to yourself and those around you.

be more mindful
Like I mentioned in my past blog post, Throw Love Around Like Confetti, a study showed that children are greatly influenced by their parents and/or the adults they’re around and often mimic the adult’s behavior. If they grow up seeing adults practicing more optimism versus pessimism, then they may be more likely to do the same as an adult. Create good and positive habits with your children that help to shift their (and your) attention to the good things in life.

1. create a fun game to help focus on the good
Sharing thoughts of gratitude should not just be reserved for one day out of the year. Anytime you see a fire truck, you and your child can each take a turn saying something you’re truly grateful for. This doesn’t have to be a fire truck, you and your child can choose your own unique trigger. Thinking thoughts of gratitude helps to shift the mind to focus on the good.

2. words are powerful and affirming
Children may want to mimic negative words and behaviors which may instill in them to have negative self-talk or voice negativity daily as they grow older, just like mom, dad or another adult figure. Speaking negatively can leave a lasting mark and raise stress levels not only to the one speaking negatively but to those within earshot as well. Trying to stay on the side of optimism and thinking before you speak can make it a bit easier for everyone to focus on the good overall.

books to encourage focusing on the good
Ish by Peter H. Reynolds is a picture book that tells a story of a boy who loves to draw is faced to overcome negative words from his brother and focus on the pure joy and positive energy he gets from drawing. How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids by Tom Rath learns a valuable bucket filling metaphor and watches how it comes to life as the day unfolds. Be Positive!: A book about optimism (Being the Best Me Series) by Cheri J. Meiners M.Ed. encourages children to develop a positive outlook and how the choices they make can lead them to feelings of being happy and capable.

coloring fun
Please enjoy this free Tot Tails coloring page to help share this message with your child.

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