Paint the walls of your mind with many beautiful pictures – William Phelps

#LatinAmerica – more beauty – thank you for your lessons.

We can change our day or our year or the outcome when we change our thoughts.

Many therapies are based on this principle, as most medical doctors would agree.

The body and the brain listen to thought and usually complies.

We have spoken to many children, families and communities, along with medical colleagues, who have serious concerns (“dark thoughts” as reported by a medical doctor) about ongoing indiscriminate mandatory mask wearing, lockdown, stay at home, quarantine and curfews.

Many professionals are working hard to liaise with appropriate health and governmental organisations to raise concerns regarding risk and harm in the context of ongoing indiscriminate mandatory initiatives, and many leaders share these concerns. Your thoughts are heard and will be taken seriously.

What can you do now?

Focus on today – focus on now – what can you do – to lighten the load – to have a good day today or a good moment or few hours today?

We will share thoughts on this matter in the next few posts.

For today – think about your thoughts.

Thoughts drive our mental health and our health (blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, immune system), and thoughts also drive our safety and security, our well-being, our development and success with our goals.

It is important to accept and acknowledge thoughts relating to anxiety, depression, anger or risk – and to share them with someone you trust (with an adult if you are under 18). Think about whether there is something that needs to be done right now – such as getting help in an emergency to keep someone safe or healthy.

If there is no urgency or emergency – think about future plans and strategies to improve things. Thoughts give us information – the body and the brain often give us messages – we need to listen and act accordingly (after we have made a plan with a calm mind).

After you have considered the message your thoughts have given you – and have discussed it with someone – and have a provisional plan or strategy – now is the time to manage your thoughts – until you go back to the drawing board – and think about ‘life’ again and strategise further (perhaps once a week – make a dedicated time and keep boundaries to stick to the plan).

Needless to say – in an emergency or urgent situation – act now – get help and advice without delay. Our thoughts often save our lives or the lives of others. Your GP or the Emergency Department can give you contact details.

If there is no urgency or emergency – now to manage your thoughts – to manage the moment, to manage your morning or your day and to manage your life – to have a good life.

If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves. Edgeworth

Real generosity towards the future consists in giving all to what is present. #Camus

Nothing is worth more than this day. #Goethe

The importance of thought and public messaging inspiring thoughts have been known for a very long time:

Do not think that what your thoughts dwell upon is of no matter, your thoughts are making you. B Steere

A man is but a product of his thoughts, what he thinks, he becomes. M #Gandhi

For as he thinks within himself, so is he. King Solomon

All a man achieves, all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts. James Allen

The belief in a thing makes it happen. Frank L Wright

Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right. #HenryFord

The height of your accomplishments equals the depth of your conviction. #Scolavino

What a man thinks of himself determines and indicates his fate. H #Thoreau

The secret of living a life of excellence is a matter of thinking thoughts of excellence; a matter of programming our minds with information that will set us free. C Swindoll

Master your thoughts to master your life. A #Lincoln

Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them. #Tolstoy

How do I start to do this?

1. Start by thinking about your happiest or calmest moments or times in your life – were you at the beach or planting a garden or walking in the woods or working with animals?

Dwell on those thoughts – take mental pictures – dwell on the feelings. Spend time in those moments – like visiting a friend.

2. Put pictures that remind you of these moments on your phone, in your home – little tokens to remember wherever you can. Look at the pictures and take time to enjoy the moment and the thoughts.

Many report that their blood pressure and heart rate go down as they think of enjoyable and relaxing memories or thoughts. This makes sense from a medical point of view – this benefits health – immediate and long term effects. Simple measures can affect health outcomes significantly.

3. Many children and adults find it helpful having a mantra – such as “I can do this” or “It’s in the bag” – children often have an action hero who has a certain saying – and repeating this mantra – reminds them of this person and their attitude and inspires thoughts of “can do” and feelings of excitement and enthusiasm. Quotations or narratives or images (pictures or thinking of this action hero can help).

4. Many children or young people find it helpful to have a bucket list of exciting plans (this must not be to-do or work items – it must bring you a smile when you think about it), this may include getting a dog, learning a language, taking a trip or going for a hike. Think about your exciting plans for this evening, for Friday or Saturday, or for long term – make a list – put some visual reminders to it. It is often a good idea to have something to look forward to at the end of the day, at the end of the week, month or a few months, one day. Carrots move us forward with positive thoughts.

Many people have bucket lists full of travel itineraries – pick a #destination and plan a day or weekend to celebrate it – find the right #books or blogs and read about it, find the right #music – find the right #food or learn the #dance of the destination eg #Cuban #salsa – there are lots of wonderful websites to learn the dance or to make the local dishes. These simple efforts built around thoughts – will likely transport you to another place – and provide you with a #positive #mentalstate.

5. Many find it helpful to have a gratitude list – a physical or mental list – every morning or evening, first thing or last thing, or both – think about what you are grateful for – it can be that nice cup of tea, your favourite tea mug, your garden, the blue sky and sun, your cat, your favourite blanket or music or song – don’t just list it – think about it and feel every single happy or relaxed feeling you can.

What you think about multiplies. If you constantly or often think ‘my knees are sore’ – your knees will likely feel worse. Go see a doctor and get advice and think about something else for a while. If you think about how kind your neighbour is – your neighbour often gets kinder. The mind is much more powerful than we think, but we will not go into this now.

Changing thoughts takes a bit of time – like any habit – but every day it gets easier if you stick to it.

If you find yourself thinking something negative such as “what is the point” – say “stop” to yourself and REPLACE it with – “there is a point – everything happens for a reason and I can do this and will do this until it is done” – an example of a medical colleague.

“It always seems impossible until it is done.” Mandela

It is important that you are KIND to yourself at all times when you learn or understand something new – hostile or negative environments do not facilitate learning, growth, development and well-being.

“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.” Albert Schweitzer

Habits are often not ‘stopped’, but rather replaced by others – so choose your own replacement.

It is also important to remember that there are two steps forward, one step back – in every new venture – so expect difficult days where things don’t work out – but tomorrow – start anew. Animals often make excellent progress with learning in life because they live in today – their lives start anew every day – they don’t ponder yesterday’s failure. We can learn from them.

Have fun with this new #venture, it is a true #adventure, because you decide who you are and where your life takes you – and most often, it starts with thoughts …. start small and simple – your mind will take it from there and will ‘run with it’ – it will get easier and easier…. start with a beautiful picture you have had in your life and allow yourself a voyage to another frontier during this storm.

One example of a child who changed her life by changing her thoughts is of a 14 year old girl in Cambridge who left prostitution and stopped heroin, she was on methadone and was seen weekly in clinic. She had one #dream that consumed her life, she wanted a child and a family with her boyfriend “to feel a family’s love”. We spent some time thinking about what she wanted, what she hoped to gain from it, what her other wishes were (if she believed anything was #possible, which she didn’t initially). She eventually changed her thoughts from “I need a baby and a family to feel good and worth something” and “good things are not meant for me, I am not worthy” to “I can and will make myself happy”, “good things are meant for me if I show up to work for it and don’t give up” and “I am worthy, because I was born – there is a plan for each of us – our past only teaches us lessons, it doesn’t define us”. She decided a few months later, that she would rather wait with starting a family with her boyfriend (“my child deserves a happy mum with a job”), that she would rather get a dog and start College, which she did. She stopped methadone a few months later and she completed her degree with her dog by her side, as a single, confident and determined young person.

If children see you see something #positive in them, that you see that anything is possible for them, despite context, they start to #believe, and that is often the first step towards positive #lasting #change for children often referred to us with “no (or little) hope” as part of the referral.

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