This is a tricky subject to write about, as it is an area where I have no direct experience. So this article is indented to reach all of the children who would most benefit from reading it, and perhaps too for the parents of unwell children who want to encourage some positive suggestions for them in their healing.
Most children who are not well get better. It would be a lie to say that they all do, but a great many do.
Now, with some adults I know that they are so negative and grumpy, when I say that most get better they would think “Oh I just know I will be one of the ones we doesn’t ever get better!” But generally children and young people are much more positive and better at expecting good things to happen. But if you should discover that sometimes your mind gets a bit more in that unhelpful way of thinking, and is expecting the worst, then I want you to play a few tricks on your mind for me.
Firstly have a think about someone you know who is younger than you say around 2-9 years old. The age isn’t overly important and it doesn’t have to be someone you know well. It could be a cousin, or a young person you recall from your school who you thought seemed funny or cute or likeable in some way.
Then I want you to imagine that they come to you with a very sad face and say “The absolute worst is going to happen to me!”
Really think about the very first thing you would do to help them think in a different way and to encourage them to feel better.
Now, imagine that even though you came up with that brilliant response or idea, they say the same thing again, in the same way!
Now what would you do?
Keep repeating this exercise of them saying the negative thing and you coming up with different responses about how you would tackle it. Get as many ideas as you can.
Once you have your list, read it back to see if that is the order you would do your ideas in, if this were to happen in real life. And put them into a different sequence if you think you need to.
Now here’s the thing – what ever your ideas might have been – perhaps distraction with something fun, or saying something positive and encouraging, maybe you’d be sympathetic or perhaps you’d get tough with them, and say “enough of this negativity. STOP IT!” Whatever you came up with for them, is exactly what you need to do for yourself too!
That might mean getting someone to help you out by giving you the reactions you would have given to someone else.
The reason why it is sooooo important to keep your mind positive when you are unwell, recovering or healing is because your mind and how you think in that in that mind of yours affects how your body is doing at repairing.
I’ve only ever had 3 big things go off track with my body. Each of them was slightly different. I had glandular fever which lots of people get but it really knocked the stuffing out of me and I couldn’t breath properly which was a bit scary.
I had appendicitis which was very rapid and didn’t give me much time to think at all before I was whisked off to hospital.
Finally; I broke my ankle whilst overseas in a country where they spoke very limited English.
With the glandular fever I was very aware that how I was thinking made a BIG difference to how I felt. I had a big block between my throat and nose in the tubes inside. It also felt like I had cuts all over my throat. I decided that I wasn’t going to get any worse, and more than that, I decided exactly what I would do once better. I decided that WHEN I was better, I’d start singing lesson.
Getting better wasn’t as fast as I’d have like but I did do it and later complete 3 exams in music theatre. I got a distinction in all of them. Not many people know that I’m a trained singer!
The appendices I was a little different as everything happened very fast. They had to give me the operation within 24 hours or I would have died. However, during the recovery I set up the business I have now. In a way it was a great opportunity so I didn’t want to waste it feeling sorry for myself.
When I broke my ankle it wasn’t life threatening but I did learn some good lessons. I had the bone put into place and the leg plastered with no medicine at all. I just used the power of my mind to erase the pain. It takes some practice to do this well – it’s not the same as feeling the pain and pretending not feel it or just being brave. It is actually a way to use your mind to block the pain even though it is still there in some way. It takes special training to do this and I had been able to access that training through my job.
The first doctor I saw after I got back to England said all sorts of negative things about the ankle not healing well and was preparing me for the worst. I got rid of him and went to see someone who had a better outlook.
I also stated to play Tetris frantically. It’s bizarre that I recently learned about something called the Tetris effect, which is when people start to dream and think about Tetris all the time. For me, I believed that fitting these blocks together in the game could train my brain to fit my bones back together faster. I can’t say for certain that it worked, but the first doctor said it would take up to 15 weeks to heal up properly (if I was lucky), and in fact I had my plaster removed after 7 weeks.
Tetris didn’t fix my ankle, but importantly, my belief that it could played a big part. If you can believe that something or someone will help you, or even more powerfully that you can help yourself, you have a much better chance compared with when you believe that you are stuck or if you are expecting the worst. Even if you are negative now, the good news is that you can change what you believe and become more positive. There are some really simple exercises to help you do that which our NLP4Kids team are very good at doing with you.
People who have been incredibly unwell have been able to get themselves totally and completely better. It’s your body and you are in charge of it. Sometimes it takes some unusual ways to remind ourselves of that but it is completely possible that you can do it.
By Gemma Bailey