Practicing the principles of positivity, choice, and reflection reduces stress. These three principles also improve relationships, increase effectiveness in influencing others to change their behaviors, and make discipline easier. Here are some key points to remember:
- Negative comments engender negative attitudes, while positive comments engender positive attitudes. People who are effective in influencing other to positive actions phrase their communications in positive terms. Rather than use consequences, which are usually perceived negatively and do not change the way a person wants to behave, they use contingencies, which promise with the positive and place the responsibility on the young person—where it belongs. If a consequence is necessary, a more effective approach is to elicit the consequence—which should be reasonable, respectable, and related to the situation. Ultimately, positivity brings hope, which is a cousin of optimism. Positivity results in fostering others to feel valued, enthusiastic, supported, respected, motivated, challenged, capable, and proud.
- Either consciously or nonconsciously, people choose their attitudes and responses to any situation, stimulus, or impulse. Teaching young people about choice-response thinking—that they need not be victims—may be one of the most valuable thinking patterns we can give them. This type of thinking teaches the difference between optimistic thinking and pessimistic thinking. Control depends upon one’s perception of choice. Choice, control, and responsibility are so woven together that each significantly affects the others.
- Finally, reflection is a powerful teaching and learning strategy. It is also the most effective approach for bringing about change because reflection engenders self-evaluation, which is both noncoercive and empowering. The key to fostering reflection is the skill of asking evaluative questions, and, as this is a skill, it is only developed and improved through practice.