Brain training for a more positive you

Are you tired of focusing on what’s going wrong rather than what’s going right? Strengths-based awareness is a technique that will help get you changing the way your brain thinks – moving from a negative pattern to a positive one. Victoria Lawlor has more…

Most of us are used to being told what we need to improve upon. In performance reviews at work, there is often a focus on what isn’t going well rather than what is. As adults, we tend to focus on what’s missing rather than what’s good. Wouldn’t you like to get beyond the bad stuff and move onto focusing what’s actually good?

Strengths-based awareness offers a different outlook, which allows us to focus more on what is going right rather than what is going wrong. Studies have shown that strengths-based parenting approaches offer a better way to empower our children to become successful and confident adults. Who in turn, as adults themselves learn to focus on what they have in abundance rather than what they are missing. However, it doesn’t have to be reserved for just the small people in our lives! All adults can learn to adapt to a strengths-based approach.

Unfortunately though, it’s human nature to focus on what’s going wrong. In fact this is a long formed survival technique, as hundreds of years ago, the natural reaction would be to look for threats in the environment before opportunity. It’s served us well over the years, preventing the human species from a number of threats, but now it seems that our brains are almost pre-determined to look for what could go wrong rather than what could go right.

When trying to identify a strength, it is useful to look at what do we do well and what are we good at. When you look at yourself, you may notice that there is a hobby or something you enjoy doing that has you fully immersed in an activity. So much so, that you engage in a sense of flow, where you lose the concept of time and focus only on the activity in hand.

I see this when I’m baking. Nothing else matters to me at that stage. My problems are cast aside as I measure, weigh and mix. Afterwards I often feel more energised and motivated than when I started.

Everyone has multiple strengths. These can be physical strengths, such as being the strongest or fastest. Emotional strengths, such as having high emotional intelligence or intellectual strength, such as being able to grasp new maths concepts quickly. It takes a constant awareness and practice to pause and look for the strength first as it is always easier to find the negative.

It is not about false praise. It is about acknowledging the uniqueness of ourselves and our own innate strengths and abilities. When you acknowledge your own strengths you begin to shine with inner confidence in your abilities.

If you are struggling to see how you can apply a strengths-based approach to your life, try these simple steps:

  • Look at your life and see what you get energy from. What makes you excited and happy? What brings you joy? If you are struggling here, you can always ask loved ones or close friends to help you come up with the list.
  • What do you naturally do well at? What appears to come easily to you? What do you not struggle with? It may be a sport, or cooking.
  • What activities do you naturally notice you do well at or are praised by others for? Sometimes the strength is in plain view. It just takes you a moment to recognise that it has been there all along.

May the strengths be with you!

Victoria is a busy working Mum to high-energy primary school kids. A qualified life coach, with more than ten years experience juggling the work/life balance seesaw and managing to squeeze in time to watch Game of Thrones inbetween with a hot cup of tea. Victoria is a creative Mum who loves knitting, crafting and baking. Always learning and open to new ideas, she hopes to inspire others through her love of writing. She currently contributes to Natural Parenting Magazine and is a featured blogger on MummyPages in the UK and Ireland.


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