Don’t Believe Everything You Think – Teaching Kids the Power of Positive Thinking
The premise of positive thinking is straightforward – simply think happier thoughts and it can have a more positive effect on all aspects of your life. It sounds almost too good to be true but there are numerous studies that have shown the powerful impact of positive thinking.
One study from a team at John Hopkins found that people with a family history of heart disease who also had a more positive outlook were 13% less likely than those with negative outlooks to have a heart attack. Another study conducted by scientists from Stanford University has found that a positive attitude has just as much impact on achievement than IQ.
The key takeaway from both studies is that positive thinking has tangible effects on health and academic achievement. Even with an understanding of this, it’s not always easy to have a positive outlook, especially for kids. But teaching kids the power of positive thinking and the impact their thoughts have is essential to them leading happier and more successful lives as adults.
With that said, here we’ll look at several ways that you can teach your kids the power of positive thinking even in the face of adversity.
Set a Positive Example
Picture this – You’re on your way home from picking up your kid but you run into heavy traffic. There was an accident up ahead. How do you react? Do you immediately fly into a rage or instead try to make the best of it? Dealing with traffic is never pleasant but how you act is crucial for one important reason: kids are highly impressionable. Every interaction they have has the ability to leave a lasting impression on them.
If you want your children to think more positive, lead by example. When something good happens, it’s hard to contain your excitement. But if something bad happens as they inevitably do it’s still important for you to maintain a positive attitude whether it’s dealing with traffic or not not receiving the promotion you expected. Leading by example is one of the best ways to teach your kids the power of positive thinking as they’re likely to internalise your behaviour.
Journal, journal, journal…
Journals are a great way to write about your experiences and even use them to set daily goals. But they can also be powerful tools that can teach your kids the value of positive thinking. One study published in the Journal of Research in Personality examined a sample group of 90 undergraduate students. The students were randomly assigned into two groups: The first wrote about a positive experience for 20 minutes a day for three consecutive days and the second group wrote about a control topic.
Mood measures were taken of each group before and after writing. Three months later, students in the first group who wrote about a positive experience had enhanced mood levels and even fewer visits to the health centre compared to the control group. The results are surprising given the short amount of time of the study but it does suggest that writing about positive experiences has a positive effect on mood levels.
So how can you apply the results from this study? Have your child write about a positive experience in a journal or notebook. This can be done either first thing in the morning or in the evening where they can write about something positive that happened that day. Lead by example to encourage your own child to develop a writing habit.
Be patient with your child and do as much as you can to build their self-esteem. You won’t be able to prevent difficult situations altogether. But helping your child develop a more positive outlook in life can help them navigate through hard times when they inevitably arise.
Alex Morrison has worked with a range of businesses giving him an in depth understanding of many different industries including home improvement, managed IT services and health care. As the owner of Integral Media, he is now utilising his knowledge and experience with his rapidly increasing client portfolio to help them achieve their business goals.