April 27, 2011

Increase your Positivity

When was the last time You felt this feeling?
Where was You?
What was You doing?
What can You do now to cultivate this feeling?
When things are going well, many people think they are actually in control of events. That’s why they feel so defeated and depressed when things turn bad. The most consistently successful people in the world know they can’t control events – but continually work toward greater control over their creative responses to events.

One of the most powerful strategies to support your creative thinking, communications, and actions when events seem to be beyond their control is to Stay Positive & to Increase your Positivity, as well as know “negativity and light cannot occupy the same space at the same time”.

Being Positive is your conscious decision in your life in which thinking daily positive thoughts and taking positive actions, become the habit, priority and the guiding philosophy in life.

We hope that these 6 ways of positivity outlined in this article will support your creative thinking, communications , and actions.


Joy feels bright and light. Colors seem more vivid. There’s a spring in your step. And your face lights up with a smile and an inner glow. You feel playful – you want to jump in and get involved.
What gives you that feeling?
There are many sources of joy. For some people, the first moments that you held your newborn were perhaps the most joy filled in the life. Or, perhaps, your co-workers have just surprised you with a birthday party. Or you open a letter to find an unexpected bonus.
What brings you joy? When the last time you felt this feeling?


Interest is when something new or different draws your attention, filling you with a sense of passivity or mystery. You’re pulled to explore, to immerse yourself in what you’re just now discovering. It’s when you see a new path in the woods and want to find out where it leads.

It’s when you uncover a new set of challenges that allow you to build your skills, whether in cooking, dancing or education. When you are interested, you feel open and alive. You can literally feel your horizons expanding in real time, and with them your own possibilities. You open new ideas, new tools, new energies, and new resources. As the world changes, opportunities suddenly become available to achieve far more than you ever did in the past.


Scientists filled a jar with water, placed it in total darkness and dropped a rat into it. The rat struggled for three munities, gave up and drowned.
Next they plunged another rat into an identical jar, but allowed a ray of light to shine into it. This rat kept swimming for thirty-six hours – more than seven hundred times longer than the one in the dark!

The difference? Hope.

The rat in the dark, having no hope, gave up almost immediately. The rat that could see continued to hope and swam until it ran out of energy. If hope affects laboratory animals that much, how much more can it affect people?
It’s been said that a person can live forty days without food, four days without water, four minutes without air, but only four seconds without hope. Everyone needs hope.
Deep within the core of hope is the belief that things can change. No matter how awful or uncertain they are at the moment, things can turn out better. Possibilities exist. With hope, we become energized to do as much as we can to make a good life for ourselves and for others.
Where is the first place you turn for hope, when you have a need?


When times get tough, everyone has to make a fundamental decision: to complain or to be grateful. Complaining only attracts negative thoughts and people. Gratitude, on the other hand, creates the opportunity for the best thinking, actions, and results to emerge. Focus on everything that you are grateful for. We can feel grateful for breathing clean air, having able bodies, or having a safe and comfortable place to rest.
The film and social movement Pay It Forward is a great example of gratitude in action. It started with one boy doing three good deeds for three others. The one request the young benefactor had was that instead of paying the favor back, the recipients should pay it forward, to three new people , in some creative way.
When was the last time you felt grateful – not polite but truly and openly grateful?


Pride is one of the so-called “self-conscious emotions”. We all know its evil cousins, shame and guilt. These painful feelings overcome us when we are to blame for something bad. Pride is the opposite: we are “to blame” for something good.
Pride is clearly a positive emotion. Pride blooms in the wake of an achievement you can take credit for. You invested your effort and skills and succeeded. It’s that good feeling you get when you achieve something in school or at work. Or when you recognize that you made a difference to someone else, through your help, kindness, or guidance.
The mindscape of pride is expansive as well. It kindles dreams of further and larger achievements in similar domains: If I can do this, maybe I can….open my own business……landscape the fount yard……..redesign the living room…………make the Olympic team…….be promoted…..make a difference in the world. In this way, pride fuels the motivation to achieve.
What makes you proud? And what has pride inspired you to do?


Love is not a single form of positivity. It’s all of the above, encompassing joy, gratitude, interest, hope, pride and inspiration. What transforms these other forms of positivity into love is their context. When these good feelings stir our hearts within a safe, often close relationship, we call it love.
In the early stages of a relationship, tied up within your initial attraction, you’re deeply interested in anything and everything this new person says and does. You laugh together, share time together, and as your relationship builds and perhaps surpasses your expectations, it brings great joy. You begin to share your hopes and dreams for your future together. You are grateful for the joys your beloved brings into your life, as proud of their achievements as you are of your own. Each of these moments could equally be described as a moment of love. Viewing love in this way can also sharpen your ability to see love as a momentary state – as a surge – and not simply as a description of one of your relationships with your partner, child or parent.
Think of a time when you felt love surge within you.

Positivity By Barbara Fredrickson
The Power of Hope By Don Clowers
The “Scary Times” Success Manual By Dan Sullivan


April 15, 2011

Anger Management Using the Compliment Sandwich

The next time someone hurts your feelings or offends you, instead of bottling things up or exploding, why not try something new and give a compliment sandwich?
You might be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Do you ever find yourself getting more and more angry and frustrated while trying to explain what is bothering you?

Perhaps you feel like others are not really listening to you or trying to understand things from your perspective. In such circumstances, you may end up raising your voice or becoming verbally or even physically abusive. Unfortunately, responding in this manner usually decreases your chances of being listened to with empathy and compassion.
Another maladaptive way of handling your feelings, perhaps out of fear of losing control, is to work extra hard at keeping everything bottled up inside. What happens here is similar to what happens when a balloon keeps filling up with more and more air. The balloon will expand as far as it can and then eventually pop.

However, if the balloon periodically releases some of its air, the likelihood is it will never reach that point of popping. Similarly, a person who uses assertive communication will be much less likely to become explosive. As one of the eight core anger management techniques, assertive communication involves honestly and effectively communicating your feelings while doing so in a nonhostile fashion.
Perhaps most challenging when using assertive communication is to express your feelings without the other person becoming angry or defensive. What makes this so difficult is that people, for the most part, do not like to be criticized. Telling somebody what they did wrong, what you do not like about their behavior, or how they hurt your feelings can very easily trigger a negative reaction.

One of the most effective ways of using assertive communication is by using a technique known as the Compliment Sandwich

To help illustrate, here is an example of the Compliment Sandwich:

The meat of the sandwich (your complaint, criticism, or concern) is surrounded by two pieces of bread (compliments or positive feedback).
In order to minimize defensiveness, you would begin with a compliment (the first piece of bread), then present the main message that you are trying to communicate (the meat), and then finish with another compliment (the second piece of bread).
I have always considered you to be one of my best friends (first compliment / positive feedback).So when I heard that you were talking behind my back, I felt really hurt. What I need is for you to talk to me directly and not get others involved (critical feedback).You have always been there for me in the past and I know I can still count on you (second compliment /positive feedback).

As you can see in the aforementioned example, the Compliment Sandwich made it possible for an important communication to be made in a nonhostile manner. By opening and closing with positive feedback, a friendly tone was set and an important message was able to be conveyed.

Rather than aggressively attack the other person and risk making matters worse or bottle things up and become potentially explosive, this type of communication allows one to get things off his or her chest without putting the other person on the defensive.

There are, however, a few key suggestions for using the Compliment Sandwich effectively. 
First, it is essential that your praise be genuine. As challenging as it may seem with some of the more difficult people in your life, you should be able to think of at least two things to say that are both complimentary and sincere. It may take some extra thought on your part, but there is almost always something positive that you can say. 
It is also important to avoid overuse of this technique so that your words do not appear to be contrived. Finally, your compliments should in some way be related to the critical message that you are trying to convey. This is necessary in order for the conversation to flow smoothly and to feel genuine. 
Thus, the example provided earlier would lose its effectiveness if the compliments seemed to be out of left field (e.g., “I have always admired your dancing ability.” and “You are such a terrific football player.”). These compliments may be genuine, but have absolutely nothing to do with your friend talking behind your back. 
By properly using anger management techniques such as the Compliment Sandwich, you can minimize the potential cost of anger. Health problems, impaired self-esteem, damaged relationships, emotional scarring of one’s children, and a drop in productivity at work are all potential outcomes of uncontrolled anger. On the other hand, when channeled properly, anger can have many benefits.
So the next time someone hurts your feelings or offends you, instead of bottling things up or exploding, why not try something new and give a compliment sandwich? You might be pleasantly surprised by the results.

- by Dr. Lyle Becourtney, licensed psychologist


April 11, 2011

Anger Management and Violent Behaviour

Working on your anger management skills is a positive step towards eliminating the risk of violent behaviour. This ensures the safety of yourself, your family and others and generally helps you to resolve conflict constructively, without alienating others.

It is very understandable that you want to blame others for what has happened to you, particularly if the situation could have been prevented or improved by other people’s actions. You will probably find, too, that your feelings of blame consist of a confusing mixture of guilt, fear, loss of faith in a just society and your own sense of personal vulnerability.

When you have been traumatized, the source of your anger may also be linked with feeling a lack of control over situations, which you may not have experienced before. The physical symptoms – a pounding heart, sweating palms, rapid breathing, rising blood pressure- that are present during a situation of tremendous stress or fear are experienced when anger is “on the boil”.

Nevertheless, in some instances anger can be useful! For example, when it leads to a struggle against injustice, when it helps a parent to defend a child or when it leads to community action on a problem.

The key is to channel your anger effectively. On the other hand, when anger is bottled up until it explodes, the results can be dangerous and violent. Acting out your rage will not erase what has happened, and it could result in serious consequences for you.

The people who seem to fare best are those who learn how to understand their own temper, and express their anger appropriately. By achieving a healthy distance, they are able to move on with their lives, instead of remaining victims of their experience.

Rather than feeling “stuck” in an anger cycle, where every little thing that happens triggers the same overly angry response and you seem to be either suppressing it or lashing out at others, taking responsibility for managing your own anger is a positive step towards gaining control over your life again.
We highly recommend to read:
Active Listening as an Anger Managment Technique
When you are able to manage your anger effectively, you will have more choices about how you respond in any given situation.

Specific Anger Management Technique – The “Thermometer” Technique

This approach draws on your newly developed skills of paying attention to your body signals, in particular , signs of temper rising.
It has been taught (in various forms) and used successfully for many years by groups such as Narcotics Anonymous, whose participants have often turned to drug or alcohol abuse as an ineffective way of managing explosive tempers.

Here is how it works:
1. Picture, in your mind’s eye, a very large thermometer. Try and allow yourself to see very clearly the gradation marks on each side of the glass tube that register the degrees of temperature rising. The mercury inside the glass tube is red. We will use this to represent your temper.

2. When you are calm and cool, there is very little mercury in the tube, just enough to help you pay attention and interact effectively with others.
However, when you start to become agitated, the temperature starts to rise and the mercury level in the tube will go up!

3. Because you are much more in tune with your bodily signals now, you will notice how your breathing begins to quicken when you become just a bit agitated. Your muscles tense, and you become aware that your eyes are squinting a bit, your nostrils are flaring. In short, as your “temperature rises”, you are starting to resemble a charging bull! The mercury in your imaginary thermometer is rising very quickly indeed.

4. Now, all thermometers have some red marks at the top to indicate “danger” and “overheating”. As you pay attention to the signals of your rising anger, you can start to picture the thermometer, and you can become aware of how close you are getting to the danger zone.
It is time to bring the mercury down before you get into the “red zone”, where you will not to able to think clearly enough to take appropriate action.

5. If you allow your anger to boil over, you will be operating on raw emotion, with very little (if any) rational thought. Those are the situations where you are likely to get into trouble and do or say things that you will probably regret later, when they are hard to undo. Use all your skills to stay out of the red zone of raw emotions.

We highly recommend to read:
How to Handle Difficult People
6. Keep being aware of your temper.

Try using the “Quick Controlled Breathing” technique:

• Pay attention to your breathing when you feel yourself becoming angry. Can you slow it down by taking five deep breaths?

• Start by exhaling as fully as you can. Now with each breath, inhale, hold for a second , then exhale slowly, blowing through your mouth and counting backwards from 5 to 1.

• Remember to exhale fully, as if it was a heavy sigh, then aging inhale, hold, exhale slowly, counting 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Next breath, inhale, exhale slowly, counting 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

• Continue three more times and on the last breath say softly to yourself: “Calm and in Control”. Practise this technique frequently!

• When you have reached “room temperature” level again, then you can begin to deal with the person or problem on a rational basis.

Practise this technique as often as possible. As soon as you find yourself getting worked up, think “THERMOMETER!”.

This technique can be very effective, once you have learned it and as long as you use it regularly!

The old saying "The Tip of the Iceberg" is so true because most of the iceberg is under the surface. We as human beings sometimes only see the "tip" in ourselves and others. This video provides you with the opportunity to explore for yourself: "What lies beneath of MY Iceberg?" and how it can relate to any negative emotions, reactions and responses that you would not like in your life.

Resource: Overcoming Traumatic Stress. A self-help guide using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques. Claudia Herbert and Ann Wetmore. Robinson London

April 8, 2011

Peer Relationships - Adolescents

Related articles:   How You Parent?    My Out-of-Control Teen    Peer Pressure and Risk Taking

Friends and peers are an essential part of life from childhood to old age, but in adolescence (around 13 to 18 years) they take on a special significance. They are part of a bridge that supports a teenager in their journey to adulthood.

Why Are Peers so Important to Adolescents?

In the adolescent years, peers provide an environment to help in the development of many skills and understanding that we need to become happy and productive adults.
Adolescence is a time when a large part of the development of a teenager’s understanding, of why they are and what sort of adult they are to become is happening. It is a time when they search for a personal identity, distinct from their identity as a child or a part of the family.

The peer group provides an opportunity for adolescents to:
  • Understand who they are
  • Learn how to interact with and relate to others
  • Share feelings
  • Develop intimacy
  • Find acceptance
  • Have a sense of belonging
  • Learn different ways of problem solving
  • Feel understood
  • Have a safe place to try out new beliefs, roles and behaviours
  • Developing a satisfying relationship with oneself and others
  • Increase feelings of self-worth
  • Have fun and excitement
  • Practice communication skills
Sadly there can also be downsides to peer relationships. Rejection by peers can make an adolescent feel lonely, depressed and anxious.
Peer pressure may influence a teenager to engage in risk-taking or anti-social behaviour. Some peer relationships can also be exploitive and destructive, and leave a young person feeling used or abused.

When this happens it is important for parents to remain involved in a supportive way.

What Happens to a Parent’s Role?

It could be easy to jump to the conclusion that parents are not important in adolescence. But the truth is, if we continue to try to maintain a positive relationship with teenagers we are still able to provide a real influence on their development.
Parents can be a model of what it is to be a mature and responsible adult. You can continue to demonstrate how to communicate and negotiate.
Teenagers are often careful observers of their parents. By modelling, by listening, and by talking with them we can help them develop their own value system that they can use to guide them with important decisions in their life.

How Do I Maximise My Influence as A Parent?

Parental influence is strongest in families where parents demonstrate a high level of warmth and engagement with their teenagers, while being consistent with boundary setting. We need to ensure that they feel accepted and have a sense of belonging in the home to ensure that the peer group is not the only place to find these things.

Create a Teen Friendly Home

It can be very helpful to examine how “teenager friendly” your house is.

Ask yourself questions like:
  • Do you make your son or daughter’s friends feel comfortable and welcome when they visit?
  • Is there a relaxed atmosphere in your home or is it tense and unfriendly?
  • How much fun and enjoyment is allowed?
  • Is your home the sort of place that an adolescent would want to spend time?
  • Is your home focussed mainly on the needs and interests of the adults or younger children in the house, rather than the adolescents?
  • If your home is a place that is positive, friendly and fun then there is likely to be motivation for adolescents to spend more time there. If it is the opposite, then it may be making it more and more desirable for them to spend time with their peers.

Keep Them Busy

It is also true that adolescents who spend more time engaged in organised activities outside of school are less influenced by negative peer relationships.
Sports, hobbies and interest groups provide a positive and active time together while still allowing peer interaction to take place.

It should not be a parent’s goal to keep adolescents from being with their friends. The aim should be to ensure home is a welcoming, warm and enjoyable place to be, so that young people do not feel that “anywhere but home” is a better place to be.

Aid to help adolescents get involved in activities that provide a purpose and a sense of self worth, and a positive environment to interact with others.

Support Self Esteem

Do everything you can to encourage a healthy self-esteem in your adolescent. Build in them a belief in themselves, by showing that you believe in them.
Celebrate their successes and help them learn something when they do not succeed. Help develop their own value system and make sure they know that you will always care for and love them no matter what.

Get To Know Their Friends

Invite your adolescent’s friends to your house. Get to know them and let them get to know you. Don’t be strangers. Refuse to believe your first impressions.
Adolescents who appear very different and perhaps undesirable on your first impression may in fact turn out to be a positive influence on your child. Similarly those who appear to be a good influence may not live up to their image once you know them a little better.

What Can I Do When Things Go Wrong?

Sometimes teenagers choose friends who concern us. These friends may be involved in risk-taking and anti-social behaviour. They may seem to have changed your son or daughter for the worse.

This may have happened for a variety of reasons, but the underlying drive is the desire to be with others where they feel accepted and that they belong.

A significant reason why this happens may be circumstances or luck. Your teen may have met a peer by chance who may appear to be a negative influence, but they may be a charming individual who has befriended them and made them feel special.

Perhaps your teenager was feeling down one day and this person came along and helped at the time. It could also be because they have the urge to get involved with someone they see as exciting and adventurous.

It could also be because they have a low sense of self-worth and have found someone who makes them feel good about themselves. They could feel like they cannot live up to the expectations that they have of themselves or others have of them, and they may seek out a peer group where they can feel valued for other reasons.

Whatever the reason, try to not criticise your teenager’s friends. To them this may seem like a personal attack on themselves or their judgement. If you need to discuss something that has happened, focus on behaviour, events, actions, and choices – not on their friends. If parents attack adolescents’ friends they will most likely defend them, and the friendships can actually be strengthened in this way.

Parents cannot “lock up” adolescents and will not have total control over who they spend their time with. Even when parents follow many of the suggestions for building strong relationships, there is no guarantee that problems won’t arise.

Sometimes a parent is very much in the background, but you can still be doing all you can do to show love and support. At these times it helps to keep a long term perspective. Hope and trust that your adolescent will get through this time unhurt, and having learnt something important about relationships (including yours), trust, and what they stand for.

Peer relationships provide many opportunities for adolescents to learn skis and develop their identity. But, your relationship with your adolescent is the key means of influencing their growth and development.

To keep up to date with our news, new articles and current events connect with us on Twitter, Facebook. For information about Enough is Enough Anti Violence Movement visit: http://www.enoughisenough.org.au/