Last year was hell.
I don’t say that lightly, but truth is, I was drowning.
My husband and I both were, and really, our whole family was.
We were at our wit’s end. Everyday was awful. It was terrible.
I’ve always promised to stay honest with my readers about the lemons and the limes that life throws at us, and last year? Was lemon after lemon after lemon.
It was like every single day, something was going wrong.
Where you just know round the next corner something awful is going to happen.
People would ask us, “Oh, how are things?” and we would just change the subject because we couldn’t bring ourselves to say, “Thank you. We’re fine” when things were so not fine…
But then I found something really important.
The fact is, you can’t unravel anxiety or your child’s big behaviors unless you get this one thing down.
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One Simple Tweak to Get Through Rough Days
I needed to find hope somewhere because my son was starting to feel it, the other kids were starting to feel it, my husband was feeling it.
Every day we woke up thinking, what’s going to happen today?
We needed to find hope.
In order to find that hope, I really dug deep and I had this big epiphany one day.
For Every One Negative, You Need Five Positives
That research is by Gottman and it relates to marriages and positive interactions with couples, but it works with children, too.
For every one one negative, you need five positives.
Think about that if you have an angry child
- melting down
- screaming at you
- refusing to go to school
- refusing to do homework
- refusing to eat
- hiding behind you
- crying at your leg.
There’s so many negative interactions that you guys are having that it seems almost impossible to build up those positives.
I decided to try something to get through rough days
So, I did what all science-nerds like me do. I experimented.
I decided to change my mindset.
Instead of seeing every single day as another rough day, I had to decide that I was going to have hope.
I had hope that today was going to be that day. Today would be the day that was going to be better.
It didn’t have to be wonderful. It didn’t have to be perfect. It just needed to be better than yesterday, just a little bit.
To make sure that I was paying attention to those little, tiny tweaks, I started paying attention to the positives.
Just one positive at a time.
It didn’t have to be something gigantic. It could be my son looked at me and smiled, or hugged me, or we went and had ice cream.
One tiny thing that was a positive interaction between the two of us.
The very first thing my husband and I had to do was change our mindset.
I’ll be honest. It was a little harder to change my husband’s mindset because he was stuck in the same place my son was.
Make Noticing the Positives a Daily Habit
I came up with a way to help them connect, and I made it a part of our homeschool curriculum, actually.
Every morning, my son could not go on to the next thing in the morning until he was able to reflect on one positive thing that happened the day before.
Any positive interaction that he had with my husband that he initiated, and then one thing that my husband initiated towards him.
He would go to my husband and say, “Hey, papa. Can you remember one thing about yesterday?”
It could have been a terrible day.
But, if they could remember just one positive interaction, it helped us get through those rough days.
We started keeping a journal of those teeny, tiny, little things and celebrating the small success.
We stopped blaming anxiety and worry.
We started embracing the anxiety and worry that was in our house and knowing that it caused us to explore and find that one thing got us through everyday.
After using this one simple tweak to get through rough days for a month, I have to tell you it just started naturally happening.
My mindset, my husband’s mindset, my son’s mindset, our attitudes, our behaviors… They all started shifting to be more positive.
We were so much more open to being able to help each other to use the calming strategies.
If you can just do that one thing, if you can just find one positive interaction from the day before, something to latch onto, then that one thing will get you through your rough day.
It really helped with those negative thoughts that were hiding behind everything else.
When you are having those really bad days and you just feel like there’s no end, there’s no getting out of this, there’s no changing your situation… You can go back and read these teeny, tiny, little things that have been positive everyday for the last month.
Making this one simple tweak to get through rough days is a huge part of what saved my family during our chaos last year, and I know it will help your family get through rough days as well.