Research has shown that our emotional responses are based on correcting our mistakes, rather than recognising what went well. In fact, evolution has conditioned us to remember failures more readily than successes and for us to analyse bad events more thoroughly than good. This ‘negativity bias’ is part of our hard wiring and it is difficult to ignore its influence on our behaviours and attitudes.
Researcher’s Seligman and Fredrickson examined the affirming affect on our emotional and physical wellbeing when we look to engage more fully with our positive emotions like love, joy, hope and awe. Linking with these emotions has been shown to make us more optimistic and open minded, while also improving physical wellbeing through the reduction of negative (stress) hormones and the increase in positive, bond-related hormones.
The challenge for boys is to recognise the negativity bias and to accentuate the positive. It has been said that it takes five constructive comments or actions to counteract a destructive one. For your son, it is a matter of finding the moments of gratitude and grace in every moment and remembering them, rather than the negatives.
As suggested by The Huffington Post, the benefits of a positive mindset for your son include:
- Increased life span
- Reduced rate of depression and distress
- Greater resistance to illnesses
- Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Greater psychological, emotional and physical wellbeing
- Increased ability to cope during hardships and times of stress.
There are a number of different ways boys can increase positive thinking in their lives. The following practices can help.
Research shows that people who reflect and meditate daily display more positive emotion that those who do not. Taking the time out to identify the good things in your son’s life and developing a sense of gratitude is a great way for him to develop a positive mindset.
Whether it’s in a journal, blog or diary — writing can do wonders to develop a strong positive mentality. When boys take the time out to write about the positive things in their lives, their attitude towards their circumstances and challenges can improve significantly.
What refreshes him? What’s something that makes him laugh? What are the things he enjoys doing? Prioritising these hobbies and activities will energise and bring him a level of satisfaction and pleasure, which will help him to foster a positive mindset.
Christ Church Grammar School incorporates health and wellbeing programs, and mindful meditation into boys’ learning through the The Wynne Centre for Boys’ Health and Wellbeing. Download our Building Good Men Magazine to learn more about instilling a positive mindset for boys.