Our brains are like Velcro for negative experiences and Teflon for positive ones. We notice, remember and focus on the negative far more effectively than the positive.
Some of us are born with a “glass half-full” temperament so this tendency on the part of our brains may be minimized somewhat in those cases. However, this neurological inclination to notice and remember the negative is true for everyone, especially under stress. So what can you do?
Your brain can be trained in the same way you train your body at the gym. Practice, repeat, practice, repeat and you get stronger. One simple training you can provide yourself and your child are practices of gratitude. Not only do these train your brain to focus on the positive, but they also change the atmosphere of your family and influence your children’s behavior toward more cooperation.
In our family we held hands before dinner every evening and each person said one thing he or she appreciated about the day. It helped settle everyone down for the meal, made it more of an “occasion,” and helped us hear a little about each other’s day and view of the world. Perhaps most importantly, it taught our brains to scan each day for the positive. And with practice, your brain gets better and better with that underlying search for the positive. We continued to say our mealtime “appreciations” through adolescence and to this day even though they are all adults. Now our kids are doing it with their kids. It is a legacy I am proud to pass along.
For more parenting support, please join us for an Upcoming Live Class or browse our Catalog of Recorded Content including Quick Video Solution Libraries with handouts. Questions? Email us at Solutions@Peaceathomeparenting.com
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