5 Ways to Help Optimism Grow
In a world where we are constantly surrounded by negative news, stories, stresses of everyday life, and increasing school or work demands, it is often difficult to maintain an optimistic attitude, for both children and adults. As a professional working with children on a daily basis, I have often caught myself taking a negative attitude or feeling defeated at times (progress might be slow, I’m juggling too much on my plate, etc.)…. but then I think to myself, what kind of role model am I being or what example am I setting for my clients?
Many of my clients struggle with anxiety due to self-esteem or academics, and have difficulty coping appropriately with the demands of these areas and everyday life. In the same manner we teach good behavior to promote appropriate social skills, we can also teach optimism to help our children see the bright side in every negative situation.
Here are 5 lessons that help children grow into optimistic adults!
It’s OKAY to Make Mistakes- no one is perfect!
As an Occupational Therapist, many of the clients I see are working towards improving their handwriting. Handwriting is often a challenging and frustrating task. I remind my students that pencils were made with erasers for a reason—we are expected to make mistakes and that is okay!
Mistakes Are Learning Opportunities for Growth
I often ask my students, “what could you do differently next time?” Making mistakes involves taking risks and taking risks often leads to things we might not have discovered if had we not tried.
Find The Silver Lining
This is often challenging for students who are so overcome with defeat that all they see is the negative. Many adults I encounter in my personal life struggle with this as well. I try to remind students that even when it appears that everything went wrong that could possibly go wrong or they made mistakes, find the positive (ex. You gave your best effort, you were creative, etc.)
It’s OKAY to Ask for Help- even adults need help sometimes!
Much of my mission as an OT is empowering kids to be independent. For many of my kiddos, this is something that is innate—the strong desire to do everything on their own. However, I often see them try so hard to the point of utter frustration and defeat, refusing to ask for help. I try to instill in my students that it asking for help is not a bad thing. There are times and things that even adults struggle with and we may need help from someone else.
Take a Deep Breath- then count to 10
I work with many students who have difficulty remaining calm and coping with simple things that many of us take for granted. I often teach them the strategy taking a step back, taking a deep breath (smell the flowers, blow out the birthday candle), and counting to 10. Doing so causes them to stop, reflect, and think about what is causing them distress or negative thoughts. How big is the problem really? We like to use the Zones of Regulation program and think to ourselves “is it a tiny problem, medium, or huge problem?”