Sticky Brains teaches children about the negativity bias, mindfulness, and neuroplasticity. Here are some ways (discussion and activities) to bring these ideas to life with your students or children:
Right now feels like the perfect moment to practice focusing more on the positive. As this pandemic goes on, it can seem impossible not to be overwhelmed by all the negative in the world. When we are stressed (as almost all of us are right now), it’s much easier to get frustrated or get into fights or arguments with our family or loved ones. That means we might pay even more attention to the bad stuff! But, the most important things to remember are 1) it’s not your fault when you get stuck on the negative. You don’t have to feel bad for feeling bad! Our brains are wired to see the bad more than the good in order to keep us safe, even if it feels crappy some of the time. 2) You can do something about it! Did you know that your brain gets good at what it practices? That means, the more you look for the good, the better your brain gets at seeing it and seeking it out more in the future. You can change your brain to see more of the good, more often, just by paying attention.
Practice/Classroom Exercise: Five Good Things For Every Bad One
Did you know that our brains need FIVE good things to balance out every ONE bad one? Doesn’t seem fair, right? But if you know that, then you can remember that your brain doesn’t always show you the whole picture. If you are feeling really stuck in the negative, you can help your brain by looking for the positive.
Give It A Try
Make a deliberate effort to look for good, beautiful, nice, or kind things in the world. You can look for good news on the internet, check out which flowers are growing in your neighbourhood, really enjoy a bite of a cookie or a cool drink of juice, or even just do something nice for someone else. If you get in a fight with your brother or sister and you feel like you really hate them right now, try to think of five good times you’ve spent together in the past. (You can look at pictures if you really don’t feel like thinking of anything.) If you feel like you’re no good at something or you made a big mistake, make a list of five (or more) times when you succeeded, especially those times when you failed or had trouble at first. If you feel sad, scared, or angry, try to surround yourself with five things that make you feel soothed (like a soft blanket, favourite book, gentle music, a note from a friend, and/or a hug from a loved one.
Our brains might see the bad more than the good but that doesn’t mean we are stuck that way. We just need to give the good a bit more help sometimes!
Sticky Brains will be available in May. Click here to sign up for more details.