Want to get out of a rut? Stuck in a negative pattern because you follow the same negative behavior? Do the same negative reactions make your body produce the same corresponding chemicals, and the resulting negative emotions that follow?
The only way to stop a pattern is to interrupt it.
Let’s get you out of a little rut first, so you can see how it’s done, by starting with something small. You can build from there.
Here’s your task. What if you spend a week limiting the negativity that comes out of your mouth in a social setting? What if you focused on positive feelings and positive states instead?
Unfortunately, many people connect socially by talking about their problems, relating their concerns, complaining about what they don’t have or what they missed out on, sharing things they hate in their life. Somehow the negative conversations feel like they provide a deeper connection than the positive things.
In the face of that, how do you say, “My kids are healthy and happy,” or, “I have nothing to complain about.”
Awkward, right? It almost feels like bragging.
Try saying this instead:
“I’m sorry to hear things are going like that. You know, I was just going to share something similar, when it occurred to me that we always talk negatively like this. Do you mind if we try something different? How about if I tell you one good thing that’s going on in my life, and you tell me one good thing that’s going on in yours.”
How do you think your conversation partner would respond to this? Probably the same way you would if someone were to say this to you.
Try it on your kids. This puts a whole new spin on the after school talks. Now you can replace the deadly, “How did school go?” with “Tell me one positive thing that happened today, and then I’ll tell you one positive thing that happened today.”
Of course, your kid will look at you like you’ve grown two heads unless you first explain about the experiment you’re trying for a week.
The only way to stop a pattern is to interrupt it. Wouldn’t it be cool if, in the process of breaking the negative pattern in your life, you interrupted the negative pattern in you children’s lives as well? You’d be a family of Rut-less Wonders!