In the last post in this series you learned about the power of destructive thinking and how it can limit your students’ ability to manage their stress. Destructive thinking is negative thinking, but constructive thinking is positive thinking. Through positive thinking, you can teach your students to weaken power of negative thinking in their lives.
Here are some proven ways to help your students develop positive thinking:
- Begin with the end in mind
- All things created twice
- Positive affirmations
Visualization is creating a picture of things that you want to achieve in your mind. We’ve all heard the expression “seeing is believing.” Well, visualization is just that. It allows you to see what you want to achieve so that you start believing you can achieve it. When you can visualize or picture a situation, you can be more creative in finding new ways to solve problems.
Visualization will help your students to learn stress management by removing the negative thinking that prevents them from successfully managing their stress. Ask your students to visualize the positive results of their efforts to reach the goal of stress management. They will see that happiness that will come from reaching this goal.
Begin With the End in Mind
Steven Covey, in his famous work The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, explains that you need to begin with the end in mind. This means to start with a clear understanding of where you want to go—your destination. He says it is easy to get caught up in the ladder of success. The activities that make your life busy do not necessarily lead you to where you really want to go. He says people work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success, only to discover the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall. Remind your students to begin with the end in mind when learning to manage their stress.
All Things Created Twice
The practice of beginning with the end in mind is based on the principle that all things are created twice. First, there is a mental creation and then a physical creation. For example, take planning to go on a trip. The first thing you do is plan out the route you will take to get to your desired destination. By careful planning, you increase your chances of a successful trip—getting to your destination. Have your students practice planning how they will reduce or manage stress in their lives.
One of the simplest and most effective techniques for constructive thinking is the use of positive affirmations. Positive affirmations or statements are the voice of the good coach giving you confidence in your abilities and strength under pressure. Have your students follow these directions to start practicing positive affirmations:
- Put your desired patterns of behavior into the form of affirmations about yourself, then write them on a piece of paper. Use the first person (“I”) when writing them. Examples are: “I calmly deal with my anger.” “I make sound decisions.” “I control my emotions.”
- Keep your affirmations short, positive and simple, and be sure to put them in present tense—“I do” statements rather than “I will.”
- These affirmations will slowly become your new patterns of behavior. You may feel uncomfortable with them at first, but stick with it.
- If you read them over every day for about three weeks, you will learn what is being said, just as in the past you learned the negativity from your inner critic. These positive patterns will become part of you.
- If you practice these rules, your negative inner thoughts about yourself will become quieter and your positive inner thoughts about yourself will become louder.
Thanks for tuning into our series on teaching stress management to your students. If you want to learn more about developing or teaching soft skills, check out our Success Profiler 4 page brochure here.