I wanted to know how we could teach that to children at the earliest possible opportunity so that they weren’t… there wasn’t the time for them to grow up in this stress phase that we’re seeing at the moment.
So I started to look for the apple-a-day in terms of emotional intelligence. And the picture over here that says negative to positive, one to three represents 20 years of research conducted by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson that shows that for every negative emotion that we experience, we need to have three positive emotions that will enable us to still grow up in a balanced way and to perform effectively.
So what that means is that we need to be… because the negative… when we’re affected negatively a lot longer than a positive emotion, so you need to counterbalance that as I say with three positive interactions with a child.
The other thing is the power of APPRECIATION. So if we’re teaching children to seek out and to find things that they’re grateful for and to make note of those, what that does is it gives them something else to look for. In fact, it engages the reticular activating system.
Now the reticular activating system is what happens when you buy a red car. And every time that you go out of your house in your car for the next three weeks or so, all you see all over the place is red cars.
And so the same thing happens with GRATITUDE. If you start to look for it and you find it, then automatically up comes another thing and then there you go you’re on a roll.
The other thing is CREATIVITY. So obviously the creative center of our brain is stimulated every time we are being creative. So in order to open up that third center, being creative is a really good way of doing that.
So it’s often touted that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So how… again a question came up: how do we teach children these skills before there’s a problem? Why are we waiting until we’ve got the one in four, until we’ve got the one in ten, until CAMHS is saying that they can’t do anything to help us.
So I teamed up with a group of passionate parents, teachers and psychologists and we partnered with the design and technology industries in order to create what we’re calling the definitive prescription for happiness, confidence, and creativity in children.
And what we’ve created is an online platform that meets children where they’re at, which is unfortunately online most of the time nowadays.
And so in our virtual world Moodville, we’re able to help children to move from areas such as… that was the stress response there, right on my face.
So we’re able to help children to move from areas such as Fear Farm and Angry Alley over to areas like Gratitude Gardens and Love Lane. And what we’ve done is we’ve placed the areas like gratitude and love and joy in the center of our map in Moodville and then we’ve put the areas like sadness, fear, anger, et cetera on the outskirts of town.
So what we’re doing is we’re enabling children to play but we’re also showing them that, where you want to be is in your center. And it’s not a problem to have to go and visit the other areas like anger and fear and sadness and tiredness. But what you need to do is go over there, get the tools that you need in order to come back to your center which is love and gratitude.
And what we’re hoping is that if children learn these skills right from the very beginning, they will grow up into well-rounded adults.
We’ve also got some characters, and here is one of them. And so what I’m going to do is let her speak.
[Female voice: You are perfect just as you are. You are unique and special. A princess is beautiful on the inside and out. I love you very much.]
So what we’re doing is we’re giving children those three positive reinforcements. We’re also allowing parents with this doll to record positive messages onto the doll so that when they’re not around for any reason, work or what have you and that child can listen to their parents’ voice giving them a positive message.
And we’ve also included a couple of stories in here so that they can listen to how our characters find their way around Moodville and from fear and anger into gratitude and love. As well as they’ve got a guided meditation that helps them to find their safe place.
And so the safe place is the place that we can all go to and adults can use this as much as children. And that’s the place that you just love the most and you feel safe and happy there regardless of what’s going on in the external world.
We’ve done some testing with these… with the dolls and with our online world and we’ve got some great feedback. And of more than 600 children that were tested, 90% of them said that they felt the tools and techniques that we were using were helping them to remain calm when they felt stress and upset.
And 98.25% of their parents thought that it was a great intervention and they noticed the difference with their children as well. So that’s been absolutely amazing.