emotional balance

How Do You Tip the Emotional Balance of Your Family?

We all know people who tend to drag the conversation into negative territory. Dan Downer. Debbie Discouragement. Brad Bummer. Len Letdown. You know how it goes:

  • “Have you heard the latest prediction for a worldwide economic depression?”
  • “You mark my words, gas prices are going sky high after the next election.”
  • “America’s not what it used to be, this country’s going down the tubes.”
  • “What’s wrong with kids today? My generation was much more respectful.”
  • “I can’t stand it this cold. This heat is the worst ever. It always rains on the weekend…”
  • “When I was growing up, things weren’t ever this bad.”

Forwarding doomsday emails. Only talking about negative news stories. Comparing the problems of today with rose-colored selective memories of yesterday. It’s easy to slip into a negative framework, especially if we’re under pressure at work, and if we chronically listen to talk radio during the commute. But what we easily forget is how important our attitude affects our family. [Tweet This] Think about home; we are family leaders and how we see the world often tips the emotional balance in our households—one way or the other.

How do you tip the emotional balance of your family? Here are 4 ways to tip it in the right direction.

1. We can prepare ourselves on the way home.

Don’t listen to the news; do listen to relaxing music. Rehearse positive, affirming greetings for each family member. Literally smile as you turn into your neighborhood. Smiling (or frowning) has been proven to alter mood as much as mood impacts our facial expressions.

2. What happens the first five minutes after we walk in is huge.

Initial trajectory always impacts final destination. The payoff for a concentrated effort at being positive (irrespective of your feelings) within the first five minutes can be a relaxing, positive evening.

3. We can be intentional when it comes to our own mental health.

We all know, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Well, the principle works both ways. You’re the family leader. Be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to mental health, and your family will also be less stressed.

4. It takes many positives to counter one negative.

When I was a school teacher, I made a poster for the classroom that read, “Research indicates it takes seven positives to counter one negative; I say, ‘Why risk it?'”

Sound Off

Do you have a special way of greeting everyone when you arrive home?

Derek Maul

Derek Maul is the author of five books, a nationally recognized men’s resource, a committed encourager, and a pilgrim in progress. He divides his time between writing and traveling to speak about the fully engaged life.

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Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Are we more positive or negative in our family?”


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