Today I started an on-line study course in Positive Psychology. The course is led Dr Barbara Fredrickson and goes for 6 weeks. I think each week I will blog a little of what I have learnt.
Today’s topic was looking at ’emotions’.
I just received a text that contained information that showed one of my boys had been left out of some friends social plans. I was surprised at how it made me feel. There was a flash of anger, a negative response of ‘Who cares anyway!’ and a slight increase in my heart rate.
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Now, in some ways these responses make sense. Emotions are embodied, they affect our hearts, our muscle tension, the way we carry ourselves plus much more. They are not just a private experience but broadcast what we feel.
There are negative and positive emotions. The negative often seem strong but not always the positive. Research has shown that there are more good things going on than bad, but we need to be trained to let the positive events become positive emotions i.e. notice and appreciate the positive events that are there.
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Fish do not see the water. In the same way we can experience something positive most of the time – like feeling comfortable – but not actually see it as a positive thing.
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I am hoping to look for those positive ‘little’ things that are there, but that I miss. I am also hoping to encourage my own kids in it. Maybe you can give it a go?
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My 8 year old has been in the habit of off-loading his ‘worries’ before he goes to sleep at night. Lately I noticed that off-loading did not seem to make much difference, so I decided to do the opposite and bounce back and forth between us things that we were grateful for.
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To start off with he couldn’t think of anything, so I started with “I am thankful for bedtime.” He then bounced back with “I am thankful for family.”
As I was lying on the bed next to him and the fluffy quilt had just been put back on the bed due to it becoming colder in our part of the world, I was grateful for the soft-feeling, cosy warm quilt. Josiah paused and looked at me and commented, “can you be thankful for little things like that?”
I was quite surprised. As a family we have often talked about what we are grateful for and somehow in Josiah’s head it had to be something ‘big’ or there was a certain standard the thankfulness had to reach.
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This then reminded me of the way we can live life for the ‘big’ things and miss the little everyday things that actually make up life.
..the big moments are the tiny moments. The breakthroughs are often silent,
and they happen in the most unassuming of spaces.
(The Inbetween, Jeff Goins)
With my boy, I need to learn and practice that the thankfulness is not always for the big things, but for the little things that make up the world around us. Those little things that are so easy to miss and yet are so much of our world.
May you have time this weekend to be grateful for the little things and share them with those around you.
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