#4 Grow Your Mental Health: Flip Your Thinking!

Turn your glass half empty into a glass half full!

This year’s theme for Children’s Mental Health Week (Feb 7-13) is Growing Together. It’s all about encouraging positive mental growth, reflecting on your own mental health growth and helping others to grow with you.

This week, we’ll be sharing 5 great ways to focus on your mental health growth – check in with us every day for a new self-help mini project including lots of great tips and advice to help you grow your mental health.

Day 4: Flip Your Thinking!

When you’re feeling low or anxious, it can be very easy to fall into a negative mindset. Negative thinking is when you have a pessimistic and downbeat view of the world around you, the people in it, and of yourself. Thinking in this negative way can be damaging to your mental health and self-esteem but the good news is that with a little practice you can train your brain to reframe your thoughts!

How To Reframe Your Thoughts

Reframing your thoughts means replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. It’s about being more self-aware and checking yourself to avoid slipping into a negative spiral. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Notice Your Own Negativity

Whenever you think a negative thought, own it. Stop for a second and identify it as a negative thought. Say it out loud or write it down if it helps.

  1. Examine It

Negative thoughts are often knee-jerk reactions and, oh boy, can these spiral fast! Let’s take an example of how to identify and examine a negative thought…


Your teacher has just informed you that you’ve failed to pass an important Chemistry test by 1 point.

Your negative reaction might be:

‘Great, there goes my chance of sitting the final exam. And I needed to pass that exam to get the results I need to go to university. Now I’ll never get on the course I want to be on and I’ll never get a good job. I’m a failure.’

Stop. Let’s hit pause for a moment. Look how this one negative thought has quickly spiralled into a very depressing and stressful situation. It’s gone from 0-100 in super-quick time. Identify the fact that you’re having a negative thought and take a breath. Right, now let’s examine the thought more carefully. Yes, it’s disappointing to have failed the test but that doesn’t mean your aspirations of going to university are over. Far from it.

Consider what other options are open to you and ask your teacher for their help and support. Are you able to re-sit the test? Is there any way you can make up extra credit? Is there an alternative route to university you can take? There are ALWAYS other options and different choices available to you so don’t allow yourself to be penned in by negative thoughts.

  1. Replace It

Now let’s replace that nasty, depressing spiral of negativity with a ray of positivity. Your positive thought might be:

‘OK, so this isn’t the outcome I’d hoped for but only missing it by 1 mark means I’m almost there. I am on the right path. I’m determined to get on that university course and I’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen. I can do anything I put my mind to.’

When you compare this reaction to the previous one, you can instantly see why the first response can be damaging to your confidence, happiness and self-esteem, whereas the second response boosts and motivates you. In both instances, you’re accepting the reality of the situation (in this case, failing a test) but it’s up to you to choose which response path you want to go down.

  • Response 1 – the negative spiral – takes you nowhere but down.
  • Response 2 – positive thinking – propels you forward and gives you options and hope.

When you have a positive mindset, you’re far more likely to succeed and be more optimistic about yourself and the world around you. Go get those positive vibes today!


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