Thursday, 22 May 2014

How Mothers can change Stress and Depression into Peace and Joy

Being a mother is hard. I have four children, close in age, and I experienced what many mothers do: stress, depression and overwhelm.  Being a mother stretches you to your very limits and there is a blessing in this: It will make you grow.

I know there are times and situations where its totally normal and ok to feel these emotions.  But if you are feeling this way too much or for most of the time and want to feel better, then read on.

The Effects of your emotions on your Children:

I knew my negative emotions were making me sick, exhausted and were making my children unhappy as well.  Have you ever noticed how just when you are upset and need a break, this is exactly when your children will misbehave the most?  Have you also noticed that when you are in this state, you cannot communicate with them effectively?  There is a reason for this:  Your children mirror you, they react to your emotions.  It's not their fault.  You need to deal with your emotions first, then when you are in a good state of mind, dealing with your children is so much easier.

You can manage these emotions, once you know how. You can totally enjoy your motherhood experience, it is all a matter of your perspective...

 We can choose how we feel.

If you were raised like me, you learned that things outside of you (like people, situations) make you feel angry, sad, or happy and that you have no control over how you feel.  But this is not completely true.  Have you ever observed two different people react differently to same situation?  When something bad happens, one person may fall apart with grief or get angry and overreact, while another person may laugh about it carry on like everything's ok.  It's not just the situation that made them feel that way.  It is their core beliefs and habits.  I know that being a mother is very hard at times, and it is physically exhausting. But we can choose how we feel at our core by discarding dis-empowering beliefs and habits and choosing empowering beliefs and habits.  Have you ever felt exhausted but still fulfilled and happy?  It's possible.  You can choose how you feel.  It will empower you and change everything for you.

It is not your fault.

Stress and depression come from fears and negative belief patterns.  You never chose to be this way, it just happened because you didn't know any better.  Most of our negative beliefs were formed when we were children.  We may have learned them from our parents who also didn't know any better and were doing the best they could.  So don't waste any more time feeling guilty. Instead, work towards making things better.  I'm going to help you. :)

When you are empowered at your core and have good habits in place to deal with stressful situations you can deal with the situation calmly without it sending you into anger or depression.  You will be able to relax and enjoy your children.  You will have more strength to cope.  You will be able to think more clearly.  The creative side of your brain cannot function when you are stressed.  You need to be able to think creatively as a mother, to deal with all the situations that come up throughout the day.  You will be able to relax and connect with your children.

Choose to Think Consciously

When you realise these truths and become consciously aware of them, you can now make a choice: to learn and grow into new empowering beliefs and habits.  It is hard initially making those changes, but so much easier than not making them.

Here is a simple easy method to consciously change your beliefs that you can start with today:

Changing your thoughts from Negative to Positive:

Step 1: Write down the top 5-10 negative thoughts that are on your mind, or the problems that are weighing you down, for example:
"my child should know better", "This shouldn't be happening to me", “I can't cope”, “it's just too hard”, “my spouse/relative/friends aren't supporting me”, “I’m not a good mother”, etc.
Be really honest with yourself, don’t worry about anybody reading it, you can burn it after-wards if you like!

Step 2: Examine each one, one at a time, and ask yourself, is the statement true? Really think carefully about this one.  We often make assumptions quickly about things by habit, or believe whatever our parents or society or our experience has taught us, without really thinking about it.  Now is the time to challenge that.  If it’s negative, and it’s not helping you, you can choose to change it.

Step 3: Get another piece of paper. Write down positive belief statements that will cancel out each one of the negative beliefs.  For example, if you wrote, “I can't cope”, you could change it to “I am strong and will get through this”.  Also write down any positive actions steps you can think of that will make that problem better.  You need to decide now whether you can change the problem or change how you feel about the problem.

Step 4: (Optional) Add to your list some more positive affirmations that you personally find empowering and uplifting.  Here are some suggestions:

I am strong, loved, beautiful and intelligent.
I choose to feel peace and happiness
My children are a blessing
My children inspire me to live each moment to the fullest
I am so grateful for....(fill in blank)
I was successful when....(fill in blank) and I can do it again!
I am a great woman and mother
I choose to have a great day today
Things always work out well.
I deserve happiness
I'm so happy that I have...
I have fun playing with my children
I choose to enjoy my life journey
There is enough time
I love eating yummy, healthy food.
I am growing better and better each day
All will be well, it is just a matter of time

Step 5: Use these statements as daily affirmations.  Read them every morning when you wake up, and every night before going to sleep (if possible) or whenever you are able to.  Read them with feeling and emotion, believing what they say.  It is a choice.  So choose to believe.  Beliefs are very powerful.  A good example of the power of beliefs is the placebo effect.  When people take placebos, they get better because they believe they will.  It also works the other way:  If they believe they will get sick, they get sick.

When the negative thoughts pop up as you go about your day, try to consciously be aware of them and question them.  Deny the ones you don't agree with.  They will go away once you don't entertain them anymore.

This exercise alone helped me so much with eliminating my negative emotions.   I hope it helps you too. <3

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