Your "BUT" is the Problem

Telling Stories:
We talked this week about how there are two parts to any emotional event, the "thing that happens" and "what we tell ourselves". Counter-intuitively, the meaning we give to the situation has most of the power in determining our thoughts, feelings, and actions. This makes the story we tell ourselves the most power change agent. The example I used in group was "you are standing in line for lunch and the teacher brings another child to the front of the line. If you tell yourself that it isn't fair and that you are being cut, you feel angry and upset. If you tell yourself that the other child has low blood sugar and needs to get food to avoid a medical issue, you now have empathy and patience for the exact same situation." We then practiced making positive and negative stories out of the same elements such as "broken window, barking dog". Same events, different stories. 

Their homework assignment was to "tell yourself the stories that make you happy, healthy, and patient." 

Your But is the problem
Another technique we practiced was opening possibilities for problem solving by turning "buts" into "ands". We tried out some problem statements. "I want to play minecraft but I have homework". "I want to play outside but its raining." When a simple adjustment of changing the "but" in the problem statement to an "and" happened, suddenly there was the possibility to brainstorm solutions around the table. "I want to play outside and it's raining. I could play on the porch or wear a raincoat or invent a weather machine." This is another subtle example of how powerful the words we use internally can be!