There’s always an upside to every negative situation and the suffering it causes.. For one thing, we are not able to focus on a positive and negative experience simultaneously. As an example, the sensation of pain, whether emotional or physical will always diminish when we think of something pleasurable. It is literally impossible.
According to author and neuro-scientist, Mark Waldman, in his e-book, Neuro-Wisdom, “The brain has preferences to embed negative emotions because the organism needs to respond to future threats faster than our conscious mind can respond.” He explains, “When a real emergency takes place like someone driving their car into your lane, the consciousness in your frontal lobe is turned down so that your instinctual reactiveness can take evasive action.”
The more you think about the possibility that something awful may happen, the more your brain releases the stress chemicals to prepare the body for the “fight or flight” response.
Interestingly, building optimism and a way to deal with negative thoughts and stress involve a ratio according to Dr. Waldman. It was determined in an independent study done by Fredrickson, Gottman and Losada that when the number of positive and negative ratios is a key to our happiness and peace of mind. Their suggested ratio is 5:1. That is 5 positive thoughts/experiences vs. 1 negative. This ratio will avoid the brain’s propensity to turn negative experiences into memories which then engender beliefs that we act upon. Try it yourself and then perhaps you’ll consider teaching it to your child.
So, okay there are a multitude of techniques that help you own this ratio. The one I’ll highlight now is called the Flip Switch Technique which is pioneered by Dr. Robert Anthony whose transitional self-hypnosis books and audios can be found on-line. Check out psychological counselor and hypnotist, Marisa Peer for self-hypnosis techniques to remove negative and self-sabotaging thoughts. She’ll lead you on a visualization in which you’ll get immediate benefit. Find her on youtube and you don’t have to buy into the program if you don’t want to. She offer’s plenty of hands-on techniques online which use creative visualizations and help you and/or your child create a way of resolving obstacles and troubling behavioral patterns in a surprisingly quick way.