Some people seem to be born with a sunny outlook, with the ability to take life’s hurdles in their stride and to find the silver lining in every rain cloud. Although it’s true that some people may naturally be more positive than others, optimism is a skill that can be polished over time, meaning that anyone can learn to be more optimistic with a little practice. An independent school in Hertfordshire has shared their advice to help you raise your child to be an optimistic, positive person.
Practicing gratitude is one of the most significant ways you can become more optimistic. Actively noting the things we are grateful for forces our mind to focus on all the wonderful things we already have in our lives, instead of commiserating over what we don’t have or think that we need. Expressing your own gratitude in front of your children will encourage them to do the same, if the weather is lovely or you’ve just had a really great cup of tea, make sure you say it out loud. A gratitude journal is a more structured way to practice gratitude and may be a good starting point. Have your child write down five things they are grateful for each night before bed, nothing is too insignificant. This encourages them to reflect on their day and actively seek out what was good about it, helping to balance any negative emotions or adversity they may have experienced.
Whilst it is important to allow children to express their emotions and to make them feel validated, you should try and identify the difference between them expressing valid concerns and demonstrating excessive negativity. If you find your child is frequently pessimistic then make sure you challenge these negative thoughts by reminding them of more positive ways of thinking. Pessimists often think of the worst case scenario, they may be afraid to try new things in fear of looking foolish and may shy away from challenges due to fear of failure. Try to follow up their negative statements with a positive alternative outcome to remind them that the catastrophe they are imagining is very unlikely to happen.