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You know those everyday moments when…

  • The weather doesn’t quite play ball
  • The washing pile is mounting up
  • You forget an item on your shopping list
  • Your child decides to roll over midway through a colossal nappy change

We’ve all been there. Often.

For me, it’s these little, everyday moments that test my patience the most. My tolerance is slightly less lenient and I can struggle to see positives when these situations occur.

Being a Dad can be tricky and often requires you to try and turn negatives into positives.
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You’ve probably heard the saying ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ right? The idea that something positive can come out of every situation. Well, the folks at Amex used this as inspiration for their latest campaign, which is why I am very excited to be working with them on the Platinum Linings Challenge.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been harnessing this new positive mindset in my daily routine through the Platinum Linings challenge set by The Happyologist Susanna Halonen. During this time I’ve been trying to use the power of positive thinking to find the upside to everything in my day to day routine, including the challenging situations that can come with being a Dad.   In our everyday lives, no matter how well we plan, unexpected things will crop up that can throw us off course a little; for example, getting caught in a long queue and missing your train to having a pigeon ruin your favourite coat or needing to spend money on something unexpected like a vet’s bill or repairing a burst pipe at home can seem frustrating.

But it’s not all bad, because there’s always an upside and this is what has inspired the challenge. Sometimes, parenting isn’t a walk in the park so I thought that the challenge was a great place to start to see if I couldn’t be a little more positive sometimes and see the good in things.

To kick start the challenge I attended a coaching session with Susanna Halonen, also known as The Happyologist.

I was asked to identify challenging moments that seem to arise most days, if not every day. I was then encouraged to come up with solutions as to how I could shift my mindset to see the good things during these moments. It became clear that The Happyologist was definitely not going to give me any answers and really made me work hard on the task!

Here’s the list I came up with:

  • Focus on the positive, focus on the good in life: Even when those everyday annoyances seem to mount up, I take a second to remind myself that I am a very lucky man, just being a Dad in itself is a blessing and I’d rather a hard day with my children than a day without them.
  • Have a visual reminder: Just something that catches your eye and gives you that nudge to take a step back and shift your mindset.
  • Take a timeout: If Ted isn’t playing ball at dinner time, rather than push through and get worked up, I’ll have a timeout. Maybe we’ll walk around the house, draw a picture at the table or sing a song. Even just a short amount of time can make a difference, turning a potential negative into a positive.
  • Phone a friend: There’s nothing as good as speaking to someone who has been through a similar situation or experienced the same annoyances. Getting on the phone to someone who knows what it’s like is a really good tactic to de-stress a situation and also a great excuse to catch up with old friends – definitely a silver lining!
  • Go to an online community to discuss: Similar to the above, but online instead. The Dad Network is a perfect example of this and it’s why later this year, we’ll be launching our App, so we can all talk to each other.
  • Go outside into the garden: If Ted is irritable and his behaviour is going downhill, I’ll simply open the back door and let him outside. He runs around, lets off some energy, distracts and amuses himself. He comes back indoors calmer and more focused, definitely a silver, if not Platinum Lining!
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  • Exercise: If this whole parenting thing starts to get on top of me, I can start to lose the wood for the trees. Popping out for a run or cycle or swim helps me clear my head and I come back to parenting with fresh eyes. In fact, exercise is proven to de-stress us!
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  • Take time to de-stress with an activity like taking a bath or listening to soothing music: Or both! A long bath provides you with a bit of time to reflect, which in turn allows you to come back with fresh perspective – allowing the everyday annoyance that was irking you to be dissolved alongside making you feel calmer.
  • Go to a ‘happy place’: You’ve seen Happy Gilmore, right? When things aren’t going to plan, he heads off (in his head) to a happy place. For me it would have Jon Bon Jovi playing background music, Jen relaxing on a sun lounger, mountain scenery and the smell of freshly cut grass. It’s in this place that my positive thinking really comes in to play.
  • Pick your battles: Focus on the most important issues and put a pin in those that can wait.

Really, these strategies are all about reminding yourself to take the time and space to turn any difficult moments 180 degrees and head in the other direction, harness your positive mindset and think of the upsides.

I can tell you in complete honesty, that I’ve been adopting these strategies for a week now, and I feel so much better about those everyday annoyances that I encounter.
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I wonder if my children have noticed?

What about you? Have you got any tips on how ways to find the upside in the everyday?

Feel free to comment below.

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  1. Alyssa

    Totally agree with the going out in the garden point. It makes a massive difference here.

  2. Lisa (mummascribbles)

    These are really great things to do. I totally agree about opening that back door- it’s amazing what a bit of outside freedom can do!

  3. Abbie

    Lovely post. There is a lot to be said for the power of positive thinking for sure!

  4. James Child

    Absolutely need to have some release and means to hit the reset button. So much time spent forgetting to recharge the batteries means grumpy me; my escape of choice usually being the garden or a run.

  5. Warren Conway

    Pick your battles is my most used phrase in my head since becoming a parent! So many times I get hung up about little things and then think actually what was the problem? Really good tips all round though. Thanks!

  6. Simon

    Taking a step outside certainly works to calm me down, maybe I should try it with the children too!

  7. Steve

    That’s why we had the big folding door put in, makes the garden part of the lounge for extra running around space!

  8. Sam Dalton

    I love that list! This is definitely something that I need to do more of, it’s too easy to get bogged down with the small stuff and miss the things that matter!

  9. Alan

    Definitely something I’ve had to work hard on but I’ve come a long way in the last two years since becoming a full time stay at home dad.
    I’d say that knowing when to step back, count to ten and take slow, deep breaths has been my biggest help in dealing with my particular toddler flashpoints!

  10. Lucy Melissa Smith

    Oh wow, that is my dream job right there — ‘happyologist’, yes please!
    These are some great suggestions, I’ll definitely try them as I sometimes get too stuck in the moment instead of moving on to more positive thoughts

  11. Martin Lee

    Some great tips…being a parent is the best job ever! But every so often it can be the worst…taking stock and being grateful for what you have has to be the way forward!

  12. Mummy and Monkeys

    getting outside is always an instant mood lifter for me. I always try and pick out little things and do (when I have the time) daily gratitude list of three things.

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