The power of positive thinking is not a new concept. And it’s often believed that what you think about you bring about. So indulging in negative thoughts would not be anyone’s first choice. Right?
But for anyone that struggles with anxiety the negative thoughts often take over. And it’s then that learning 5 simple tips to turn negative thoughts upside down becomes extremely important.
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Mindfulness: Taking a balanced approach to negative emotions so that feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated.
Anxiety and negative thoughts really can be like monsters taking over and controlling moods. Being aware of the negative thoughts that can cause anxiety can be one of the first steps to turning things around.
As parents there are phrases you can use to help calm anxiety. You can also try encouraging statements to motivate you child toward positive thinking and behavior. These are great ways to model mindful awareness when negative thoughts threaten to take over. There are also more concrete techniques you can teach your angry or anxious child to retrain the brain into more positive thinking patterns.
5 Simple Steps to Turn Negative Thoughts Upside Down
Science has proven that expressing gratitude can be one of the most powerful ways to combat anxiety and bring about a more positive way of thinking.
We started a routine of saying what we’re thankful for every night before bed. It really helps us remember the good things that happened throughout the day and appreciate each other.
You can also express gratitude by keeping a journal or writing thankful moments on cards and keeping them in a gratitude jar.
Our self-talk creates our reality and governs how we feel about ourselves. Using mantras and positive affirmations are powerful tools to change the negative thoughts around.
Some positive affirmations you can teach your child to repeat include:
- I am strong.
- I am capable.
- I am powerful.
- I am lovable.
- I am in charge of how I feel.
- I am enough.
You can also place these positive thoughts in writing on the refrigerator or mirrors.
Through mindful practice of noticing negative thoughts when they appear the reverse positive thoughts can be put in place to put the brain back on track. Some of the reverse positive thoughts to tame the negative thought monsters include:
- Instead of: “I’m never good enough.” Try: “I can always improve so I’ll keep trying.”
- Instead of: “I failed again.” Try: “Mistakes help me learn.”
- Instead of: “This is the worst thing ever.” Try: “This is not an emergency.”
Breathing and meditation
Taking a deep breath is like hitting the reset button in the brain. Simple breathing exercises like giving a toy or stuffed animal a ride on the belly using breath to make it go up and down help teach the deep breathing technique essential for calming down.
Mindful meditation can be introduced to kids through the use of calm down jars to redirect and focus attention. Books like When My Worries Get Too Big and How to Train Your Thought Monsters will also be helpful in making the concept of meditation a more concrete strategy for taming negative thoughts.
Make Time for Happy
Doing something we love makes anyone feel better. If your child is feeling particularly down or having a hard time with negative thoughts suggest a favorite activity. Maybe your child loves Lego, riding bikes, playing in water or some other sensory activity. Take a break and use a favorite activity as a go-to happy place to reverse negative thinking.
Give to Others
This may seem counter intuitive when the goal is self-care. But kindness and giving to others radiates positive energy. There is a quote, “those who bring others happiness cannot keep it from themselves.”
Demonstrate giving compliments and doing kind deeds for others and your child is sure to follow your lead, resulting in a more positive attitude.
Looking for more positive energy? Check out these great resources!
Print this Free Negative Thought Changer
This post comes with a free printable to help with you in a bind.
I have made a simple printable for you that has positive affirmations and sample ways to change your thoughts in a simple and easy to display format. Place it on the fridge, in a frame or even in your child’s calm down spot so they remember them as well. Don’t get caught struggling to remember your options!
This printable simplifies it!
Here is a sneak preview…
Download Your Free Printable
- Download the checklist. You’ll get the printable, plus join my weekly newsletter! Click Here to Download and Subscribe
- Print. Any paper will do the trick, but card stock would be ideal.
- Place it on your refrigerator.
Amy is a former teacher turned stay-at-home mom and writer. She loves sharing what she knows about family, play and early learning. Away from the computer you can find her spending family time, organizing or decorating her home, reading a good self-help and occasionally pretending she knows how to cook but she usually leaves that to her awesome husband!