Ever since The Secret exploded into the mainstream consciousness, the Law of Attraction is gaining traction as a technique to bring incredible things into our lives. Globally-renowned coaches such as Tony Robbins, Sara Longoria and Esther/Abraham Hicks are showing people how to picture the lives they want for themselves, and lay out the groundwork for how to make it happen.
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I’ve recently been an avid follower of Sara Longoria, in particular and the following information is based on her teachings. For those who prefer to take a scientifically-grounded approach, it could be said that manifestation, the basis of the Law of Attraction, is closely tied to the Reticular Activating System (RAS). This network of neurons located in the brainstem helps us to deal with the staggering amount of input that our brains receive. It works by filtering out anything that we’re not focussing on, giving priority to what’s on our minds. To test this for yourself, the next time you leave your house; start looking for black cars or people wearing blue coats. Chances are that you will start spotting dozens of them; providing you live in a populated area, of course. If you’re in a rural or wild area, look for white flowers, or leaves with at least three points.
The theory of manifestation is that by focussing only on what we do want, we will attract more of it. If we want to lose weight, telling ourselves that we don’t want to be fat will only bring more struggle to shift excess weight. “I don’t want to be broke” will only bring more money trouble. Proponents say that the Universe ignores “don’t”, and zeroes in on “I want broke”.
Think about it, have you ever felt like you had a cold coming on, and started telling yourself that you were going to be really ill soon, only to end up feeling really unwell? Now think about a time where you had a lot of fun, noticed that you were sniffling a bit, but brushed it off because you were enjoying yourself so much. Our thoughts and emotions can have a huge impact on our physical well being, and psychosomatic illnesses can be greatly debilitating.
With all of this in mind, is there a way that we can bring manifestation into our parenting so that we can help our children get the most out of life, both now and as adults? According to Sara Longoria, the answer is yes!
Here are a few activities you can adopt to kick-start the process.
Vision boards are great fun, no matter how old you are. They are a way of visualising what we want in life, and surrounding ourselves with those images. Together with your child, sit somewhere comfortable and write/type the things that make them happy. The goal here is not to assemble a list of toys worthy of a letter to Santa, instead, get them to think in simpler terms. Flowers, puppies, home, food. Anything little thing that brings them joy. Once you have a few items, your child can draw pictures to represent them, or look in magazines/online and search for images that they like. Words and phrases can be written or printed out. They could even collect lightweight items that they’re fond of; leaves and feathers work really well. Once you’ve assembled all of the different pictures and items, let your child stick them down onto a sheet of paper. A section cut from a roll of wrapping paper can provide a vibrant, but cheap canvas. Decide together where they would like to hang their vision board. Each morning as soon as they get up, and each evening before they climb into bed, get them look at the board, take in each item, and say something like; “Thank you, Universe, for bringing these into my life”. This acknowledgement is a way of expressing gratitude, a technique that many mental health professionals recommend for relieving stress.
Journaling can be as simple or complex as you like. Many adults write page after page of thoughts and emotions throughout the day, while others simply write a few lines to clear their heads before they go to sleep. All that’s needed is a pen and paper. Technology such as a tablet or laptop can be used, but studies have shown that writing helps with fine motor skills, comprehension, and critical thinking. Your child could pick out a notebook from a shop, or you could create one together from pieces of paper. If you little one prefers, let them scribble and draw instead. A journal should always be private. Assure them that you will only ever look inside if they have given you permission. If you feel you might be tempted to peek, consider getting them a lockbox to keep it in. Here a few journaling suggestions to get you started.
-Today I would like to feel…
-Today I'm going to say these nice things to three people…
-Today I'm going to learn about…
-Today I’m thankful for…
-Three nice things that happened today…
-I would like to dream about…
-I feel safe as I go to sleep because…
Expressing gratitude is a simple, yet incredibly effective way of putting us in a positive mindset. It has obvious links to manners; please and thank you are crucial social courtesies that children must learn, but it can also flip sadness or anger into a calmer state of mind in no time at all. It can be done in the form of journaling, or it can even just be a few spoken words. When you wake your child up, you could try asking them what three things they are grateful for. Never force them to be grateful for what you think they should be showing gratitude towards; e.g. “Aren’t you grateful for me?” Just accept that they are grateful for cereal and the family pet, and show gratitude to them for engaging in the practice. If they come home from school in a foul mood, gently ask them to think of something that they are grateful for, despite the distress they’re experiencing in that moment. The goal is never to invalidate their emotions; you’re simply trying to get them to shift into a less negative mindset. If they show resistance to this, leave them alone for a while. Gratitude should be a pleasant activity and not a bothersome chore.
Positive thoughts and words
This can be a challenging habit to start and maintain, but making small changes to the way we think and speak can have profound effects on our wellbeing. Adults and children alike can gain much from a few simple tweaks, and the following suggestions are useful for both parents and children.
Instead of simply saying “No”, explain the consequences. “If you stick those scissors into your sister, you will hurt her.” “If you eat the entire packet of cookies, you will probably be very sick.”
Strong statements that involve words such as hate can form solid negative associations, so try getting them to identify what is provoking their strong reaction. They can then try to rephrase their words in a way that are less powerful. Rather than; “I hate that book,” saying “The book is difficult to read to read, and I feel stupid,” gives them a way to verbalise the problem, and allow you to come up with a solution together. “I hate that kid in class,” can become; “I think that kid is excluding me from playtime, and I don’t like the way I feel inside when it happens.”