What can we learn from Winnie the Pooh and his friends?
'Happy people do things differently' Managing our negative thinking can have a huge impact on our mental and emotional health.
As a child, I grew up with Winnie the Pooh and all his friends. I loved the stories and in particular all the different characters and how they all came together and played to each other's strengths.
All the characters in Winnie the Pooh have different behaviours and traits that I (and others often talk about when we talk about positive/negative mindset).
What better way to blog than with Winnie the Pooh characters!
Personalisation – this is my fault
All or nothing thinking
Disqualifying the positive
Jumping to conclusions
‘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 and his constant comparison to other characters on and then labeling 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 (A.N.T.’s) 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.
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
In comparison to Eeyore, all the traits and characteristics of happy people are shown by the other characters.
Each character has its own traits that we recognise and whilst they do occasionally have negative thoughts they are less frequent and are replaced by happy, positive traits.
Christopher Robin has so many of these characteristics despite him being a quiet and unassuming character.
So many of the programmes 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 overthink 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 embraces 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?
First published Jan 2018
v2 Jan 2020