Lash-Ed Issue 3 October 2018 - Page 64

What can we learn from

Winnie the Pooh and his friends?

By Zoe Thompson

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been posting about some of the things that happy people do differently and a series of posts on negative thinking.

As I was researching images to post, I saw a photo of Eeyore, and it had me thinking about how he and the other characters in Winnie the Pooh all had different behaviours and traits that I had been posting about.

Negative thinking traits are:

- Emotional reasoning

- Labelling

- Personalisation – this is my fault

- All or nothing thinking

- Over generalising

- Mental filter

- Disqualifying the positive

- Jumping to conclusions

- Magnification

Gloomy’ Eeyore demonstrates nearly all the negative thinking traits at one time or another. On occasions, he even manages more than one in the same sentence! Even when other characters are having fun, he manages to find a negative in the moment and will often over generalise previous experiences to support this.

Eeyore’s mental filter means that he only notices his own failures. His constant comparison to other characters and labelling himself in a negative way only highlights this further.

Eeyore is most certainly guilty of magnifying situations and blowing things out of proportion. It is part of his all or nothing or black and white way of thinking. Often he has completely jumped to the wrong conclusion, believed something to be his fault without reason or used his emotional state and feelings to label the situation.

Most of us display these behaviours at one time or another or in certain situations. It is important that we are conscious of

when we are doing this so that we can replace the ‘automatic negative thinking’ response with a more positive way of thinking.

Some traits are more noticeable than others. People who are more conscious of the less obvious negative ways of thinking are less likely to repeat them on a regular basis. Being conscious of these and when they are an automatic way of thinking is the start to reducing or removing them altogether.

In comparison to Eeyore, all the traits and characteristics of happy people are shown by the other characters.

Each character has their own traits that we recognise. Whilst they do occasionally have negative thoughts, they are less frequent and are replaced by happy, positive traits.

- Express gratitude

- Cultivate optimism

- Avoid overthinking

- Avoid social comparison

- Practice acts of kindness

- Nurture social relationships

- Develop strategies for coping

- Learn to forgive

- Savour life’s joys

- Commit to your goals

Christopher Robin has so many of these characteristics despite him being a quiet and unassuming character. Much of the stories focus on the other characters but his positive and compassionate personality and wise words cover many of the traits as he guides the others through their adventures.

Pooh is most definitely responsible for nurturing the social relationship of the group and is probably more at the centre of the group than Christopher Robin. An influencer rather than a natural leader, his commitment to achieving his goal of getting honey is something we can all aspire to! He regularly shows gratitude and practices acts of kindness as well as savouring life’s joys.

Piglet is a determined character, full of fear but always stepping outside of his comfort zone. Not one to compare himself to others he focuses on his own abilities and successes. Whilst Piglet has a natural tendency to over think he uses the group around him to overcome his fear and step outside of his comfort zone as much as possible.

Tigger, the one who clearly exudes and savours life’s joy. Not one to compare himself to others and always optimistic and grateful. Tigger is a character that squeezes everything he can out of life and his positivity is often contagious.

I have no doubt that we all have a character we feel we are most like and recognise elements of the other characters that we would like to be more of.

What is important is that we recognise what the behaviour is that the character is displaying so that we can be more conscious of when we display this behaviour.

How we think can have a huge impact on how we behave and how we feel. Being conscious of our thoughts will help us to replace the negative with positive thoughts and behaviour traits. None of this can happen overnight but we must ask ourselves

… Am I being an Eeyore?

Zoe Thompson

Phoenix Life and Wellbeing Coach

www.phoenixlifecoach.co.uk