What my girls are teaching me about focussing on life’s positives


Resisting the human brain’s tendency to get stuck on negatives

Sunday was one of those days with my girls I’d rather forget. They were bickering with each other all day or, when having a break from that, they were in full on tantrum mode. Nothing was right. Everything seemed to warrant a meltdown. It was exhausting. And I was glad when the day was over.

At the end of the day though, when doing our prayers before bed, each of the girls came out with several positive memories from the day that they were thankful for. The moments of fun they’d had together; some of the activities they’d enjoyed; the friends they got to spend time with at our church community gathering.

For me, hearing them express gratitude for these things was a good reminder. I’d lost sight of all these things. I’d got myself so wound up by their behaviour that I could no longer see anything good in the day.

Sadly, positive thoughts are like teflon—they don’t easily stick—and negative thoughts like velcro—we can’t get rid of them. Our human brain finds it far easier to get stuck on negative thoughts and for them to dominate our perceptions. We have to be much more intentional about focussing on positive thoughts in order for them to stick.

It’s interesting to me though that my girls seem to find it much easier than I do to remember the positives in the day. This isn’t the first time it’s happened. Quite often my girls surprise me with their memories from the day and how they naturally recall the positives rather than the negatives.

Out of the mouth of babes, as they say.

Photo: Gabby Orcutt

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