Helping your kids to cope with and process strong negative emotions is an important and necessary part of parenting, however there are also those times where your child may just be stuck in a pattern of mild negativity, or “grumpiness” and it’s great to teach them some tools to break a niggling negative state too.
Here are some of my favourite ways of “snapping out of it” which you and your kids can try and see which ones work best for you… or even better, grab a pen and paper and brainstorm some fun new ones!
Imagine a time when you were really happy. Imagination is a powerful tool – mostly because the unconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between fantasy and reality – so just imagining yourself in a happier frame of mind can transport you there instantly.
Jump up and down. Have you ever seen a miserable child on a trampoline? No, of course not. Physical activity releases endorphins into the blood stream, telling our bodies that they’re happy and feeling wonderful. So jump, run, swim, dance, whatever you can that will get that energy flowing.
Listen to some uplifting music. We all have that song or album that really lifts our moods, makes us smile, and brings joy into our lives. Introducing your child to some of your music can be a fun and fulfilling sharing experience on its own, but you can also help your child to find the beats that move them out of stuckness!
Google baby animals. Or anything that gives you that “aaahhh” feeling, that sense of wonder and beauty and the awesomeness of the world we live in.
Gratitude. Finding just a few things in your immediate surroundings to be grateful for is one of the quickest and simplest ways to shift a negative state. In fact, it’s a worthwhile thing to do every day no matter what state you’re in. Gratitude is about focusing on the positive aspects of your life and the more you do this, the more things you create to be grateful for.
Laughter. Now this may seem like an odd thing to do when you’re feeling glum, but smiling or laughing for no particular reason is so incongruent with feeling miserable that you simply will not be able to maintain your misery as you laugh. Again, Google is your friend – find a funny clip on Youtube, watch a funny movie, think of a funny thing someone said, tell each other jokes, or even just make yourself laugh for no reason at all (try it – breath out heavily and right at the end of your outbreath make a deep, guttural “ha ha ha” sound. Before you know it you will be laughing for real – and your kids will love it!
Happiness is a choice and the choice can only be made now. Make it, and be the change you want to see in your kids!