While we are learning away from campus, members of our WAB Counseling Team have compiled updated advice to help you and your family face the challenges associated with being away from school. Below, our counselors share thoughts on how a positive perspective can benefit families, students, and staff during this situation.
Our brain is very powerful and has evolved to protect us and keep us safe. This safety mode is what causes heightened fear and worry during times of crisis or threat. And it is why our brain is programmed to remember the negative or harmful things so we don’t repeat them. BUT, we can also use our brain to focus on the positive aspects of our situation. Having a positive outlook can help us stay calm during tough times, model managing big emotions for our children, find the silver linings in every situation, and increase our overall happiness and well-being.
Here are strategies to focus our brains on the positive:
- Spend time revisiting positive memories and experiences you’ve had in the past.
- Increase the quality time you have together with your younger children; reading stories, playing games, or trying new things.
- Say 'for’ instead of ‘to’. “Why is this happening for me” instead of “Why is this happening to me”. “For” can provide the opportunity to learn and grow instead of focusing on what’s out of our control.
- Keep a gratitude journal. This can be done individually or as a family. Have your child take time to list the things they are grateful for and add to that list often.
- Allow yourself to have bad days. These are the times you can learn more about yourself, be aware of your emotions, and learn what you need to process those emotions.
- Make a list of the things you can manage or what is in your control. This activity can be done as a family to provide space for your children to ask questions and identify the ways they can feel more in control.
- Treat yourself – talk kindly to yourself, get enough sleep and exercise, read a book, spend time in nature, reduce the expectations you put on yourself, do the things you love.
- Take a breather and challenge negative thinking. Try to find more optimistic outcomes rather than only the negative ones.
- Be kind and positive to others. When we add positivity to someone else’s life, it makes us feel more positive. You can do this by listening to a friend, helping a neighbor, or being calm and uplifting.