Negative feelings toward our loved ones from time to time and ourselves are something that we all experience.
Often these negative feelings are a result of something that is missing and are especially amplified when we are tired or burnt out.
We may not be communicating clearly, providing the right developmental opportunities for our children, or making our wellness a priority. That’s where checking-in, reflecting and observing can be helpful tools in our day-to-day, supporting us in those areas that need a little extra attention and time.
However, sometimes we just feel stuck in the negative and it becomes all consuming. Hours and days go by and those negative feelings (of frustration, guilt, sadness or whatever they may be) seem to really set in.
That’s when it can be helpful to see the negative in a different light.
So in today’s post, I share a 5-minute activity that acknowledges what you are feeling while also recognizing the plus side.
This activity helps:
Bring our attention to the negative feelings and thoughts that are getting us down so we can simply sit with them.
Allows us to see how many of these negative feelings and thoughts actually have a positive side.
Highlights those negative feelings and thoughts that may need a little more attention.
Negative Feelings: 5-Minute Positive Mindset Activity
Step 1. Use this template, a scrap piece of paper or whatever you have, wherever you are when those negative feelings come up. Write down those negative thoughts and feelings in the left hand column. It’s your space and there is no right or wrong way to do this.
This may look like:
Feeling frustrated with the kids. “They are being really difficult this week.”
Wishing your partner or children did ____ more. “Don’t they see how hard I’m working. It’d be nice if they stepped in to do the dishes and tidy up after dinner.”
Wishing a child had more of a certain quality or less of another. “He is sooo demanding. I feel badly saying it, but he’s kind of driving me crazy right now.”
Wanting different qualities in yourself. “I just don’t have the level of patience that other parents do.”
Step 2. Take a moment and read over those thoughts and feelings. Take some deep breaths. Sit with them and acknowledge them. It can be pretty powerful to see thoughts and feelings down on paper and even more powerful to just hang out with them, no judgment, just acknowledgement.
Step 3. Reread those characteristics, attributes or behaviors. Then in the right hand column, write down how they may be viewed in a positive light.
Some questions to help in this process are:
How do these characteristics, attributes or behaviors support you, your partner or your children?
How do they support the family as a whole?
What is something positive about this specific characteristic, attribute or behavior?
How may it support you, your partner or children in the future?
If you find that a positive viewpoint doesn’t come up for something in the left hand column, that’s okay. Just let it sit there. If you think of something in the next hours or days, then write it down in the right hand column. If not, this may be a characteristic, behavior or attribute that could use a little attention outside of this activity.
Step 4. Look over both columns as an observer from a distance.
And that’s it. It really is that simple.
This activity reminds us that we all have our unique qualities, strengths and weaknesses. It reminds us that we are whole just as we are, in the same way our loved ones are whole too. And for every seemingly negative quality, there is often a positive that we don’t always acknowledge.
I would love to hear from you! How did you enjoy this activity? How do you shift your mindset from the negative to the positive with your family?