Responding Positively to Tragedy

I wanted to pass on these excerpts that talk about how to maintain a positive outlook when faced with tragedy.  My whole approach to Divorce Mediation is how we can reframe and refocus the adversities couples and families are facing in going through a divorce into positive outcomes and hope for the future.  This same positive psychology approach can be helpful in dealing with and talking to our children about tragedies like the events during the Boston Marathon.

This is a repost from an email from Victoria Trafton at

What can caring people like you and me do to maintain a positive attitude and outlook when bad things happen to good people?

  1. Tell yourself good stories. Positive Psychology shows that how we interpret events, determines if we are optimistic or pessimistic. Can we find some good possible outcomes for negative events or situations?

    Jon Gordon, author of Positive Dog writes in his blog:

    “When tragic events like the Boston Marathon bombings happen, we have a choice in the narrative we tell after the event. Terrorists want us to tell stories of fear, despair, and hopelessness. Yet Bostonians decided to tell themselves and the world a very different narrative. They told stories of strength, resolve, courage, faith, unity and love.

    This is significant because the stories you tell yourself determine how you respond to adversity and how you live your life. When adversity hits, you can choose to tell yourself and the world a positive story and work passionately to create a positive outcome.”

  2. Give and get more hugs. Science has shown that physical touch and warmth can trigger the release of oxytocin.
  3. Smile more. When you smile endorphins are released in your brain.
  4. Exercise releases endorphins and can create a natural high. Endorphins reduce stress and allow your body to relax, breaking the flight or fight cycle you’re stuck in …if it’s an overly stressful day.

What stories will we tell ourselves in the face of negativity? The story we tell ourselves will determine our happiness and the quality of our life.

For original source of the Positive Dog Blog:

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