Thursday, 20 February 2014

How To Think Outside The Box

Our brain is very complex and a single thought is enough to re-wire it.  Thinking outside the box can help us be more creative and improve our well-being.  'Thoughts become things - pick the good ones' is a favourite quote of mine and an affirmation I try to use daily.

Taken from Pinterest
It really is as simple as thinking happy thoughts to be able to shift a bad mood or change a situation to your advantage and yet millions of people get stuck feeding negative thoughts and attracting more negativity in to their lives.  I saw this in action earlier this week.

Standing in a shop queue on Monday I listened to a conversation between the cashier and a woman with her young son.  'Can't wait for him to go back to school,' she said as her son nibbled on his fingernails, 'school holidays are a nightmare, they get bored and under my feet and I count the days before I can send them back again.'  She packed her bags and departed with her young, thoroughly depressed son shuffling along behind her.

The cashier then turned to me, eyeing up my three children with a weary sigh, how many times had she listened to parents moaning about the school holidays during her shift?

I'm glad to say she got a pleasant surprise with my three as they helped me pack the bags and chatted to her about the places we'd visited during their week off.  When we left, she thanked us!

I get this reaction often, many people revert to a default way of thinking - kids + holidays = stress.  Maths was never my strongest subject at school but even I know this equation is tosh.  My kids are a delight to parent.  They are hilariously funny, great company and aside from the typical teenage pit for a bedroom, they help me around the house.

For me the school holidays are always over too soon and before long the children will be grown up and school holidays will be a distant memory.

Thinking about half term as an assault course to be survived, instead of an opportunity to bond and make memories is a way of thinking that's easy to change.

Why do so many parents fear the holidays?  I understand that financial restraints can cause anxiety and having to take time off work without pay or using hard earned holiday days can be tough, I've done it as a single mum and it was crippling, but I wanted my kids and you wanted yours didn't you?

Every person, whether they have children or not, know that schooling includes a number of half terms and a blissfully long summer.  Think back and try to re-kindle those feelings you had when you were a kid with a six week summer stretched out before you...

Remember the feeling of freedom and see the innocence on your child's face and then embrace a new way of thinking that means you can enjoy having your children at home.  There are so many free activities you can do if money is tight:-
  • Crafting
  • Baking
  • Cycle Rides/Walks
  • Feed the Ducks
  • Visit your Local Library - they have a wonderful calendar of events in the holidays
We ended up visiting Birmingham Art Gallery and Museum (another free activity).  My eldest son is working on his art portfolio for his final exams and I was amazed at how he analysed some of the paintings.  I saw a blue blob, an orange blob and a squiggly line but he saw texture, lighting and depth - he was thinking outside the box!

Putting children and school holidays to one side, how can YOU begin to think outside the box?

My last couple of posts touched on being happy and facing fear - these are perfect ways to re-wire your brain.  We need to surround ourselves with uplifting thoughts so that we can draw more of the same in to our lives, my vision board post covers this.

Something as simple as taking an alternative route to work is enough to shake up our thoughts.  Notice this new route, what buildings can you see?  Are there trees and grass?  Who uses this road/path?  Your creativity is switching on to new possibilities and all because you turned left instead of right at a junction!

Try this exercise - When you wake up tell yourself that today is going to be a fabulous day where everything goes your way, the traffic lights are all on green, you get the best parking space and everyone smiles at you.  Smile at yourself in the mirror, wear your brightest outfit and think happy thoughts.

To face our fear we just need to take a step forward.

To think outside the box we just need to change our thoughts from negative to positive.  Try it for yourself, you may be surprised at the results.

When did you think outside the box and it made a difference?
What would you like to achieve and thinking outside the box will help?

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  1. Unfortunately, many parents seem to have the attitude that holidays must be filled with days out and expensive activities. If they're not going somewhere to participate in such activities, they tend to ignore the kids and plonk them in front of the TV. I was lucky — my mum took the time to play with us and we always baked, did painting, went outside, etc. Looking back, I realise how lucky I was — my parents have never been wealthy, but back then they had very little money and after a day of looking after me and my brother, as well as doing housework, my mum went out to work in the evenings.

    1. Thanks for sharing Hayley, you are right that many parents feel the need to over-entertain their children. We were both lucky enough to have parents who chose to spend time with us and not use the tv as a child minder. Like you, I realised how lucky I was and have brought my own children up to appreciate every experience and the value of family time.