“…practice gratitude to honour what’s ordinary about our lives, because that is what’s truly extraordinary!Brene Brown
We all have days when the mundane tasks of work and home seem purposeless, overwhelming, or undervalued. As mamas you work behind the scenes juggling the demands of many different roles – sometimes wondering if your actually having a positive impact on anything?
As moms we often carry a heavy load AND have little ones watching our every move trying to understand the world around them – trying to learn ways to manage it. I don’t know about you but many days I feel like I am just screwing it up! I want to be a mom who is patient, calm, kind with her words, and slow to anger. In order to do this well, especially when we are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and under appreciated, we need to cultivate a mindset of abundance & gratitude. It is only through this mindset that we can begin to find calm and ground ourselves in the midst of a storm.
In this blog post, I am going to walk you through a couple important steps we need to journey through and learn in order to be able to choose a mindset of abundance and gratitude.
To be the change we wish to see in the world, we need to be aware of our awareness, to hold within this place of knowing our own unfolding sense of being awake. It requires that we hold our own intention in the front of our minds—that we pay attention to our intention.—Dan Siegel, professor of psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine
The first step in making change in our lives is to become aware. To become aware of our thoughts, reactions, judgements, values, and emotions.
“Our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think”
In CBT we believe that our thoughts are largely responsible for our emotions. An event on its own doesn’t cause an emotion – it’s our interpretation of that even that does. And unfortunately, our thoughts aren’t always the most accurate. Although our thoughts are very real to us, they aren’t always true or fact. However, the neat thing is that we can learn to manage our emotions and behaviours by learning how to interpret situations in different ways.
In order to help make this information come to life and for you to better understand the power of our thoughts, I would like us to try the 5 factor model together – it’s like a 5 piece puzzle. The puzzle looks at a situation in connection to our thoughts, emotions, behaviours, and sensations. As I work through an example feel free to write your own example on paper – one which applies to your life.
Let’s say the situation is that you are in a rush to get yourself and your 4 yr-old child out the door. Your child is supposed to get on their coat, boots, and hat. You notice their coat lying on the floor with the sleeves inside out and you find them sitting on the floor by the door with only their hat on, playing.
What is a negative thought I might have? They are being defiant. Why can’t they just listen?!
How may the thought make me feel? Disappointed, angry, frustrated, Impatient
What might I do as a result? Yell, lecture them.
When that happens what sensations in my body might I feel? Hot, tense muscles, racing heart (my stress response system is likely triggered by these emotions and the feeling of being rushed or late – my child is also likely experiencing all these sensations as their stress response system may be triggered by my yelling)
Now let’s imagine I had a different thought or perspective. What else might I say to myself or what other interpretation are possible?
“aww My child looks like they got frustrated because they couldn’t get their coat on”.
And how may that make me feel? Sad for them, less impatient, empathy
What might I do differently as a result? Say “hun you look like you got stuck with your coat, do you need help?” Walk over and help them put their coat on and figure out which foot goes in which boot. I may also recognize that next time I need a little more time to get my child ready as these teachable moments are important.
Even though in situation B the mom spent more time helping her child… Which mom do you think got out of the house first? And which child learned something positive from that experience?
Isn’t it interesting how different those two situations look and feel, just by changing the thought? Learning how to be able to monitor and alter our thoughts towards a situation is a very powerful tool to have in our toolbox.
Now many of the thoughts we were talking about are called automatic thoughts – thoughts that just pop into your head. Automatic thoughts are constant and can dictate our mood/behaviours, however they aren’t as intense or deep as core beliefs.
Core beliefs are central beliefs that people hold about the self, others and the world. Core beliefs are often formed at an early age and can refer to a cognitive construct such as “I am unlovable” or “people can’t be trusted” (Counseling Dictionary UK).
Mindset struggles are often rooted in a faulty core belief.
Our mindset is an established set of attitudes created in our brain. Mastering our mindset — changing the lens —requires us to retrain our brain to see the good already there. It is not a matter of working harder to find happiness, just smarter.Lori Jackson
I really want to highlight that all of those mindsets are socially created by someone else – all of those mindsets are based on someone else’s expectations of you and of your roles. Unfortunately, some of those expectations have formed your own core beliefs.
Some of the mindset struggles include scarcity, perfectionism, not good enough, fear, mistrust.
Now we are going to begin to “retrain our brain to see the good already there” through 2 writing exercises.
Many of us feel like we are defined by a one-sided view of who we are. Or we take our automatic thoughts from a difficult situation and make them truth – hold on to them. This exercise is meant to help you hold two things in tension that may seem opposite or to see a more full picture when we are focused on one a one-sided view.
On the left side you are going to write any negative thoughts or beliefs you have about your self or your work. Then on the right side you are going to write a positive contrast or affirmation that matches.
I am a mom who yells sometimes and I am a mom who loves her kids dearly
I am a person who responds towards hurt with yelling and I am working at managing my emotions better
I am a person who sometimes makes mistakes and I am created in the image of God
I am always feeling overwhelmed in my work, like I never have enough time and I am trying to use the time I have as best I can.
Take some time now to journal your own I AM list then complete the journal questions below. These journal questions are meant to help you take what you have learned and apply it to your own life – to give it meaning.
What mindset are you struggling with the most?
My limiting beliefs about my ____ (role, work), life, and circumstances are:
If I had an abundance mindset – what would that look or feel like?
How would it affect your children (and marriage) if they saw you living with a mindset of purpose & abundance, instead of your current mindset?
The truths (affirmations, scripture, quotes) I am going to speak over myself regarding these mindset struggles are:
Grace, dear mama… what is one small change you can make right now to set yourself on a new path today.
“You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.Brene Brown
Yes, we have the power to change our mindset – to live in abundance, joy, and gratitude. And yes, some days we will struggle and make mistakes. But we are all worthy of love and belonging – and that includes loving yourself! You can do this!
A free calming & coping booklet with a number of different ways to find calm and cope with those feelings of anxiety.
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