Having a positive attitude is important. It’s important not only when it comes to how you view yourself but also when it comes to viewing life in general. Admittedly, thinking in a positive way is not always easy — especially as you deal with life’s ups and downs. Once you start to recognize the positive things that already exist in your life and learn how to see them even in the face of adversity, positive thinking can become YOUR mode of thinking.
The following activities are from the NIE Teacher’s guide “Positive Thinking” written by Ginny Swinson with educational consultation by Nancy Gilligan and produced by KRP, Inc.
ENERGIZING YOUR MIND Have you ever noticed the tempo of things around you? If you listen to the wind in the trees or the buzzing of insects, you’ll notice that nature has a very even pace. But if you listen to the traffic on city streets or the sounds of people shopping during the holiday rush, you’ll realize that most of us speed around at an unnatural pace. The problem with this frantic pace of living is that too often people don’t take enough time to rest and relax. Even young people need to take time to give their minds and bodies a break. It can restore your energy, ease the stress and tension in your life, and, yes, help you maintain a positive outlook.
ACTIVITY I - Skim through the articles and advertisements in today’s newspaper to identify a relaxing activity to participate in or a relaxing place to go. Create a 30-second radio commercial selling this activity or place to your teen-aged listeners. Remember, advertisements attempt to persuade people to buy a product or service. Write a script on a piece of paper.
ACTIVITY II - An effective technique for restoring your mind’s “energy” is the daily practice of silence. Many experts recommend taking 10 to 15 minutes out of every day to spend in the quietest place available. Do not read, write, or listen to music. Just practice throwing your mind into neutral and saturating your thoughts with peaceful experiences, words, and ideas.
Write down a sample of your daily schedule with times. Find a time on your schedule when you could stop for quiet time. Tomorrow, make a point to stop at least once for quiet time, just as though it were scheduled. Remember, it’s also an important part of your day!
ACTIVITY III - Knute Rockne, one of the greatest football coaches in history, said, “I have to get the most energy out of a man, and I have discovered that it cannot be done if he hates another man. Hate blocks his energy, and he isn’t up to par until he eliminates it and develops a friendly feeling.” Hate is just one example of our so-called energy blockers. Fear and resentment can also zap away our energy — mentally and physically. If we can keep our minds free of the bad feelings and inner conflicts that we allow to affect us, our bodies can operate like a finely tuned machine, full of energy and raring to go.
Using today’s newspaper, identify news stories that involve hate, fear, resentment, or any combination of the three. Indicate which stories are local (L), state (S), national (N), and International (I). For each story, describe below what might have happened had the people involved put all their energy into a more positive approach.
ACTIVITY IV - A famous politician once traveled hundreds of miles, making seven speeches in one day. Someone asked him how he could still be so full of energy after such a long day. He replied, “Because I believe absolutely in everything I said in those speeches. I am enthusiastic about my convictions.” When you truly believe in something, you often find you have unlimited energy. Perhaps it’s a certain cause or charity. Maybe it’s a special group or community organization. Whatever your good cause, finding a way to keep your mind interested and active is one way to keep the energy flowing and your attitude positive.
People committed to certain causes or concerns often put their energy into sharing their views with others. One way they do this is by writing letters to the editor and other opinion pieces found on your newspaper’s editorial pages.
Look for examples of such opinion pieces in your newspaper. Cut out examples in which the writers appear to be totally committed to the cause or concern. Then try your hand at writing a letter to the editor about something you feel strongly about. Be sure to research your topic first.