The rest of our family does not let one bad event ruin the day. That being said, we have worked with him and read a lot about the subject. And while I would love to make sure his day is perfect, that's not possible.
Happiness is based on your perception.
When we lived in an apartment in Austin, TX we were frequented by a stray cat. It was the skinniest thing I ever saw and I couldn't help myself, I put a can of tuna out for it each day. Well, the cat sure enjoyed that and continued coming around, although we never interacted with each other as it was skittish. But I was content with my pet cockatiels and helping the poor skinny kitty.
One day the cat was sitting proudly on our patio next to a dead bird. I thought "Oh no! He's letting me know what he wants to do to my pet birds!" So I tried to make the patio less inviting by removing our chairs. I headed off to school and told my friend about the "sick message" Miss Kitty sent me. She was a cat lover and began laughing at my story. "That wasn't a sick message, Miss Kitty was giving you a present for being kind to her." OMG, I felt so terrible for being mean to the cat and went home and reset the patio furniture, letting Miss Kitty know she was welcome back.
An interesting experiment was done regarding perception and noted on CreativityPost.com:
"John Bargh and his colleagues at New York University asked their volunteers to do a mental task involving words relating to old age, such as "wrinkled", "grey" and "bingo". A second group was shown words unrelated to old age. The researchers then said the experiment was over and secretly recorded the time each participant took to walk down the long hallway to the exit. Those with old age on their mind took significantly longer to walk down the corridor."
Being able to change your perception is a useful skill as it can also help you manage your pain. But how do we change our perception?
Here are things we have tried with some success with our own son:
-Take turns at dinner sharing 2 good and 1 bad thing about your day. This will help everyone see that bad things happen each day, to everyone, but it doesn't have to ruin our day. It is also important to tell how you managed the bad event so they have ideas for how to manage their own bad events.
-Remind them that while they cannot control everything that happens in the day, they can control how they react to those things.
-Tell them that if they look around and only see the bad things around them, their day will be bad. They need to start looking for the good to make their days better. Count the rainbows not the thunderstorms.
-Be an example of optimism. When something goes wrong, find a positive spin on it. "My favorite pen quit working....but that's ok, I can buy a brand new one or even better...I can find an even cooler pen!"
My son has begun saying (with no prompting) "I just know that today is going to be a great day." He is far happier than he was when he saw the world through the pessimistic lenses. In the words of Ice Cube "Check yourself, before you wreck yourself!"
Just Can't Lose by the Aquabats is one of the best examples of having optimism during bad circumstances! Here's the lyrics...great song too.