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Turning Negative to Positive (Not a Maths Challenge)

Posted by: Anita Procter on 31-03-2020

I am stuck at home with four people.  I have no access to new films, I cannot go out to buy books, if I step outside to buy chocolate (and other vital supplies), I will be shouted at by random strangers and probably the police.  This is hell.  I can't do this.  When will this end?

A-ha, I hear you cry.  She's lost it!  This is it! I get to witness the online meltdown of a teacher! Hopefully she'll make an Instagram post and I can turn it into a meme!

Well, I am going to disappoint you.  Today, at least.

The first part of this blog was a clumsy illustration of negative thinking.  How can I possibly think like that - as I speak, my cat is looking outside at a magpie in the garden, chittering away about how he will pounce on the massive bird, slay it and bring it to his family to eat.  He does that a lot.  He has magnificent plans for world domination, but, sadly, lacks the wherewithal to carry them out.  Just as well really; I'm not sure where I would get the materials to make a throne to his specifications.

Negative thinking can become a habit.  We see a situation and immediately we look for what could go wrong.  It could be argued that this protects us from disappointment.  But that too is negative thinking.  Now, I admit that I often fall into this trap - the phone rings and someone wants to see me.  Gosh darn it, I immediately think, what have I done wrong?  And in reality, I've very rarely done anything wrong - there was that time when I build a pyramid out of Maths books and set fire to them, but I was finding BODMAS very taxing that morning.  And the very fact that I had created a regular 3D shape could be seen as positive.

As you sit down to Google Classroom and find your first lesson, you could be thinking negatively.  Flipping heck, you may be saying to yourself, another day of looking at a screen, trying to do work I won't understand, wondering when it will end.  So, try and catch yourself doing this.  Stop.  Reframe your thoughts.  Right.  I have lessons today that my teacher has set for me.  They know what I can do and want me to succeed.  If I don't think I understand, there are things I can do - break the task into chunks, taking one bit at a time, I can contact my teacher and ask for clarification, I can look things up online.  And I know this will end.  It won't go on forever.  There are millions of people working to find a solution and I am part of the solution - staying home, staying safe and getting on with my education.  I may not be able to go outside and be with my friends at the moment, but that will happen again.

Try it.  Take that frown and turn it upside down (I love that phrase, especially as it was regularly quoted by a teacher to my youngest daughter when she was 7 and it drove her up the wall.  See? A positive spin!)

So, I will relish the fact that I have my lively, curious, still sleeping family around me, I will check out Netflix for something I would not usually watch, find a new novel on the Kindle (I do have the Wolf Hall trilogy, so things are definitely brilliant) and, if I am desperate enough, I can start eating the Easter eggs I bought three weeks ago.

Stay safe.


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