It’s the middle of a work day for me. Half my clients have been in and I have half to go. And what am I thinking about that? Well, there are two very obvious patterns of thinking that I might engage in.
Here’s the first: As I sit here looking out the window I think to myself, “Halfway there and it’s been a fruitful morning. This afternoon’s going to be interesting – can’t wait.” I finish my cup of coffee, gather up my children ready to ship them out the door and into the care of a grandparent for the afternoon. It’s all a bit of a rush but I’m talking myself into it all running smoothly and enjoying the rest of my work day.
Here’s the second: As I sit here looking out of the window I think to myself, “Ugghhh, it’s so beautiful out there and I’m going to spend the rest of my afternoon in an office. I rather be anywhere else in the world. Gee, it’s hard working while the kids are on holidays.” I finish up my cup of coffee and grumble at my children who can’t seem to find their shoes, deny knowledge of this thing called a hairbrush and seem to make the job of getting out the door like herding cats. “Ugggggghhhhhh! Why me? Why did I even bother coming home between sessions? These kids are so annoying. And now I’ve got even more this afternoon!”
Now, I’ll let you know that I was thinking the first – and I was feeling and behaving accordingly. It was even hard to type out the second scenario – it made me tired and cranky just coming up with the words. And yet, this is how many people get through the day. We actually have a choice over what we say to ourselves and about ourselves and that WILL impact the way we feel and it WILL impact the way we behave.
So how can we teach our children to choose positive and helpful ways to frame the world when big and little things happen to and around them? We need to talk about our own self-talk and what we say to make things better and brighter. We need to model coping with adversity well, we need to directly and explicitly teach positive and helpful thinking patterns and we need to help children reflect on the behaviour in light of the thinking that got them there – not just on the behaviour.
Re-wiring the human brain is essential and it’s never too late. We call it Supa Thinkin – positive and helpful thinking patterns. Reflect on yours – at home, at work, in your relationships. Could you start to rewire those? We would love to talk to your group about all of these wonderful concepts – you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love to speak to networks, schools and parent groups about better ways to help the human brain towards better mental health.