I think happy thoughts

3 Tips for Parenting with Joy

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Positive Parenting

How do you stay positive when your child’s behaviors are driving you crazy? This is a tough question. Every parent knows that they have had a point in their lives when they were pushed to yell, scream, or worse because they were so worn down and did not know what else to do.  The same cycle seems to happen over and over where your child’s emotions and your emotions get out of control. This is something that happens often but doesn’t have to.

If you take a step back and start to look at the cycle of what is triggering you and your child, you will be able to better regulate your own emotions. And you will be able to start teaching your child how to regulate his/her own emotions.  Positive parenting is about looking for ways to change the situation into a more positive one instead of continuing to punish bad behaviors. You have to start looking at the big picture and do a little detective work.

Figuring out what is triggering your child’s bad mood may not be obvious at first but look at the patterns. What time of day does it usually happen, what is your child usually doing, and who is around when it happens? These types of questions help you to get more information about the cycle of behaviors that are happening. Then you can come up with a plan to intervene earlier on before the behaviors are out of control and your child is having a tantrum and you are screaming.

It’s also important to factor in your own triggers so that you know when you are getting overwhelmed. You can get better at taking a break and then talking to your child in a more calm and rational manner. This helps the child understand what behavior you don’t like and takes away the emotional reaction to your mood.

The key to any new approach in parenting is to plan ahead, practice, and allow for mistakes. Be willing to stick with it even if you don’t see results right away. If you have been doing the same type of parenting for years then a new approach won’t change things overnight, but it will change things. Positive approaches are very effective and leave you feeling good about what you are teaching your child.


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Happiness

Why does happiness seem so difficult to obtain for some people and easier for others? The simple answer is that it’s a state of mind and if you think you are happy then you will be. The people who seem to be happy may just have more practice at focusing on the positive. Why then is is so hard for some people to think positively. Some people say that there are specific characteristics that positive thinkers have in varying degrees.

For the sake of narrowing down some personality characteristics and to make a more precise list, I chose one author’s list of 10.  Scott Ventrella The Power of Positive Thinking in Business: 10 traits for maximum results. The  10 characteristics of a positive thinker are listed by Ventrella as: optimism, enthusiasm, belief, integrity, courage, confidence, determination, patience, calmness, and focus.

The first step to becoming a more positive thinker and leading a more happy life would be to look at each of these traits and determine how strongly they are present in your own life. Finding where you have strength and areas you need to grow in are helpful in creating a plan for yourself.

Once you know the characteristics that you want to work on in your own life, set some goals for yourself on how to do that. Make sure that your goals are realistic. You are on your way to being much happier once you have a plan in place.

Don’t forget to recognize when you are happy. Many people breeze past this and don’t linger on their happy thoughts. We spend so much time thinking about the negative but very little time remembering all the things that did go well and the times we enjoyed. Spend some time each day just thinking about something that you enjoyed about your day or a happy memory.

The best part about wanting to become a more positive thinker is that this is an achievable goal! Just because you don’t feel like a positive thinker or a happy person does not mean that you can’t become one.  Believing in your own power for positive change is a great step in the direction of happiness.

hattie.counseling@gmail.com

 


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Mindfulness and How it Works

Mindfulness is something that sounds easy at first but then takes a lot of practice once you truly understand what it is. It’s the purposeful observation and noticing of the environment without passing judgment. The reason this is so hard is because we as humans are trained to make judgments all the time. It is often helpful to us in making decisions. The problem is that sometimes our judgments can lead us to negative thinking instead of just taking in the information.

An example of this would be sitting in a chair. Your fist thought might be “this chair is uncomfortable.” That is a judgment and an example of mindfulness would be “this chair has a hard seat and a straight back.” Just noticing the qualities of the chair without determining if it’s good or bad. The same would go for taking a walk outside. “It’s a nasty day out” is a judgment and “It’s raining and the sky is a gray color” is using mindfulness. When you talk about the qualities of what you see you start to notice that making a judgment can lead your thinking to be either positive or negative.

By taking a step back and noticing the environment you allow yourself to be more present in it and take it in without it being good or bad. Allowing yourself this extra time to notice the environment helps you to gain control of your thoughts. It also helps to ground you. Sometimes thoughts take on a life of their own and seem to spiral out of control. In reality you do have the ability to control your thoughts. This is a great power and very helpful when you want more positivity in your life.

The challenge in gaining control over your thoughts is to catch yourself in the process of making a judgment and stop yourself. Then take a step back and think of how you could describe the situation in factual terms. Practicing this just a few minutes each day helps to provide more grounding in your life and a sense of control over the environment you live in.

The easiest way to practice is to start by the chair you are sitting in. Take a few minutes to describe everything about the chair and the room you are in. You will be surprised at how many judgments you try to make. Being able to notice this and practice moments without judgment (Mindfulness) puts you in a more powerful situation. The practice takes time but does become easier the more you do it. Working out your mind is the same as physical exercise the more you practice the better you become at it and the easier it is.

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Positive Thinking

I think happy thoughts

Why is thinking happy thoughts important? Well it may seem that it doesn’t matter what your thoughts are it’s your actions that count. But I have found that the more negative my thoughts are the worse my day is and the worse my outlook on life is. If I “look at the silver lining” or “think of the bright side” or any other cute way of saying think positively I find that my day is much better. Well we all know that this is not an easy thing to do and especially when you feel you have a legitimate reason for being upset. The problem is that your brain gets stuck on those negative thoughts and then it’s so much harder to get away from them. It takes a lot of practice to think positively. It’s not easy to find something that can change your outlook on a situation. However…

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Positive Thinking

Why is thinking happy thoughts important? Well it may seem that it doesn’t matter what your thoughts are it’s your actions that count. But I have found that the more negative my thoughts are the worse my day is and the worse my outlook on life is. If I “look at the silver lining” or “think of the bright side” or any other cute way of saying think positively I find that my day is much better. Well we all know that this is not an easy thing to do and especially when you feel you have a legitimate reason for being upset. The problem is that your brain gets stuck on those negative thoughts and then it’s so much harder to get away from them. It takes a lot of practice to think positively. It’s not easy to find something that can change your outlook on a situation. However doing so will increase the likelihood that you move past the upsetting event quicker and are able to find more positive thoughts in the future. When I first started trying this it was hard and often times I laughed at some of the phrases I heard like “fake it until you make it.” I could not figure out why someone would want to pretend to be happy (fake it). Well I tried it because I couldn’t ask others to do it if I wasn’t willing to try it. After a lot of practice, I finally understood why this concept works for some people.  I also tried out various positive thoughts or sayings that resonated with me. This is a lot of the work that I do with people in counseling sessions. It’s awesome when someone finds that they no longer need therapy because they can “think on the bright side” or find their own solutions and no longer need a therapist!
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