Written by Christy Whitman August 1, 2013
Little Girl Thinking

One of the keys in building self-confidence and self-esteem is learning to manage your own mind. And in a minute I’m going to share with you the 7 positive thinking principles that will make managing your mind a lot easier.

Everything starts and ends in your mind. How your mind works determines how happy you are, how successful you feel, and how well you interact with other people. The patterns of your mind encourage you towards greatness, or they cause you to flounder in mediocrity or worse. Learning how to focus and direct your mind is the most important ingredient of success.

How children think “moment by moment” has a huge impact on how they feel and how they behave. Negative thoughts often drive difficult behaviors (like acting out or talking back) and they cause most of the internal “feeling” problems that kids have (like anger or jealousy, etc.) as well as the external or social problems (like bullying and peer pressure).

Many “difficult” children have a lot of negative thoughts. These thoughts come from many sources. Some of the negative thoughts come from what other people have told them about themselves (i.e. “You are a bad boy! What is the matter with you? You make me crazy!”). Other negative thoughts originate from experiences where the child is continually frustrated, either at play or at school. They begin to think thoughts such as “I am stupid. I can’t ever do anything right. It will never work out for me.”

In many ways, our brains work like computers. When children receive negative input about themselves, they store it in their subconscious minds, and they often express those messages in their negative behavior or feelings.

Unless children are taught how to “talk back” to these harmful thoughts, they believe them 100%. This is a very important point. Most children, and even adults, never challenge the thoughts that go through their heads. They never even think about their own thoughts. They just believe what they think, even though the thoughts may be very irrational. This leads to behavior that is based on false ideas or false assumptions.

Parents, teachers, and others often program the thoughts of children by how they talk to them. In relating with children, it is important to program their minds with positive, uplifting, hopeful words, rather than critical or harsh words. Daniel Amen, M.D. and psychiatrist says, “This is especially true for children under six years old.”

Sometimes we get frustrated as parents, and it is not always easy to find the right positive words to say to them. That is when we have to take a step back and ground ourselves (more on that a little later in the webinar).

Many children have trouble thinking logically, because of their age. Unfortunately, many children carry these negative thought patterns into adulthood, causing them to have problems with their moods and behavior.

These negative thoughts affect their moods, and in many children, become the seeds of anxiety and depression later on in life. It’s critical to teach children about their thoughts and to teach them to challenge what they think, rather than just accepting thoughts blindly.

We need to teach thinking skills to our children. Unfortunately, when you are a child, no one teaches you to think much about your thoughts or to challenge the notions that go through your head, even though your thoughts are always with you.
Why do we spend so much time teaching kids about diagramming sentences and so little time teaching them how to think clearly? Most people do not understand how important thoughts are, so they leave the development of thought patterns to random chance.

Did you know that thoughts have actual weight and mass? They are real! They have significant influence on every cell in your body. Quantum physics can actually measure thoughts now. When a child’s mind is burdened with many negative thoughts, it affects their ability to learn, their ability to relate to other people, and their physical health. Teaching kids how to control and direct their thoughts in a positive way will be one of the greatest gifts that anyone can give them.

Here are 7 positive thinking principles to keep in mind:

  1. Every time you have a thought, your brain releases chemicals. An electrical transmission goes across your brain, and you become aware of what you are thinking. Thoughts are real, and they have a real impact on how you feel and behave.
  2. Every time you have a negative thought (angry, unkind, sad, cranky, etc.), your brain releases negative chemicals that make your body feel bad. Whenever you are upset, imagine that your brain releases bubbles with sad or angry faces, looking to cause problems. Think about the last time you were mad. What feelings did you have inside your body? When most kids are mad, their muscles get tense, their heart beats faster, their hands start to sweat, and they may even begin to feel a little dizzy. Your body reacts to every negative thought you have.
  3. Every time you have a good thought, a happy thought, a hopeful thought, or a kind thought, your brain releases chemicals that make your body feel good. Whenever you have happy thoughts, imagine that your brain releases bubbles with happy or smiling faces, making you feel good. Think about the last time you had a really happy thought. What feelings did you have inside your body? When most kids are happy, their muscles relax, their heart beats more slowly, their hands become dry, and they breathe more slowly. Your body also reacts to your good thoughts.
  4. Your body reacts to every thought you have. It reacts to what you think, whether you say anything or not.
  5. Thoughts are very powerful. They can make your mind and your body feel good, or they can make you feel bad.
  6. Unless you think about your thoughts, they are automatic or they “just happen.” Since they “just happen,” they are not always correct. Your thoughts do not always tell you the truth. Sometimes they even lie to you. It is important to think about your thoughts to see if they help you or hurt you.
  7. You can train your thoughts to be positive and hopeful, or you can allow them to be negative and upset you. You can choose to think good thoughts and feel good, or you can choose to think bad thoughts and feel lousy. It is up to you! One way to change your thoughts is to notice them when they are negative and talk back to them. If you can correct your negative thoughts, you take away their power over you. When you have a negative thought without challenging it, your mind believes it and your body reacts to it.

Your thoughts matter! Train them to be positive and it will help your mind, your body, and your relationships.

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