We perform at our best when we are healthy and happy. How hugging, stretching and gratitude will train our brain to get us through this…

15 years ago, I was introduced to ‘Choice Theory’ a positive behavioural psychology developed by American Psychiatrist Dr William Glasser. Dr Glasser’s work focused upon human behaviour and how it is driven by trying to fulfil unmet needs. He defines behaviour as having four elements; Thinking, Doing, Feeling and Physiology.

So, with that in mind we work with young people to help them build up a range of ‘tools’ to change what they are doing and thinking when they are noticing feelings that they would like to change.  Our mantra is “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’re going to get what you’ve always got”.



Our brains are actually more negatively wired that positively. We have to train our brains to respond to more positive stimulus than focus on the negative. The more we focus on the positive the more we can actually rewire our brains to create positive pathways.  To do this we must think of our brain as a muscle that we need to build and undertake daily actives to build it in the right way.


Self-talk: the voice we listen to the most.
Be careful what you say to yourself as you’re always listening, when you have a negative thought that’s fine, but it that lasts a long time and you notice a decline in your mood that’s when you should take swift action.

  • Try 1 / 3: for every negative thought try to drown it out with 3 positive thoughts
  • Find a cheerleader if you are struggling to find positive thoughts
  • Attitude of gratitude is really important, write down three things a day you are thankful for. Make it a game, play detective and see what things you can find that you are grateful for. Are you suddenly thankful that you have toilet roll? Do you have more time to learn a new skill? Or more time with a loved one?

If you notice you are stuck in a low mood or want to change a particular feeling, immediately change what you are doing. So if you are sitting in a chair, stand up. If you are laid in bed in the foetal position, roll on your back and stretch out and make yourself as long as you possibly can.

Posture and positioning surprisingly has an impact upon the parts of the brain that we access.  When we slump and our head bows and we look at the floor we are more likely to feel in low mood. Instead stand tall, stretch and lift your head up to look at stars. How about creating your own superhero pose?


Finally our top tip and favourite…hugging
If you are lucky enough to be with someone you love and feel safe with, get hugging! Hugging is scientifically proven to have positive benefits for physical and mental well-being. It lowers stress, improves our immune system as well as many other benefits. BUT to get the full benefit, the hug must last a minimum of 20 seconds, the ideal number of hugs a day is 12. So get hugging people!


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Stay safe, much love Psych-logical x