The Positive Triad

Dr. Spencer Wetter, a Positively Kids contributor, and Neuropsychologist at Applied Neuropsychology Institute talks about how the Positive Triad can help kids.

Our understanding of positive affirmations has its roots in the model of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. The model is simple and yet has been proven to be successful as a method to improve one’s mood and outlook on life. Our feelings are difficult to simply change on their own; that is, we cannot just will ourselves to feel better. Fortunately, however, we have tools at our disposal to improve our moods. These tools include our behaviors and our thoughts. Thus, the pillars of the Positive Triad are thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. Changing our thoughts and our behaviors is the best way to change our feelings. That is, what we say to ourselves and what we do affects how we feel. Say, do, feel: The positive triad.
We can choose to engage in behaviors that are positive and healthy, such as interacting with others, volunteering in the community, being in nature, and exercising. Oftentimes adults develop negative habits that make it difficult to start re-engaging with these positive behaviors. However, these active and healthy behaviors are a large part of most children’s daily routines. Furthermore, if a child is unhappy or upset, parents often naturally suggest that they go play outside or do something fun. Thus, positive behaviors are well-known and well-practiced tools to influence our mood.
However, the other tool we have is not as well-utilized. This is the use of positive thoughts, or positive affirmations. Simply put, we can also learn to think in a more positive manner. This does not mean that we lie to ourselves or pretend everything is fine when it is not. What is does mean, however, is that we can learn to use positive affirmations to improve our feelings about ourselves and our lives.
One additional benefit to the triangle of self is that the components all influence each other. That is, not only do thoughts and behaviors affect our mood, but our mood changes our thinking and the things we do. When we feel better, we tend to think more positively and engage in more healthy behaviors. The groundwork for this dynamic process is laid in childhood. When our children learn to give themselves positive affirmations at a young age, they have such an advantage because of the effect on their feelings and behaviors.
This is the basis for Positively Kids.

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