Postnatal A-Z: H for Healthy mind
How many of us are aware of our thoughts, and the effect that those thoughts have on our emotions and subsequent actions or reactions? For new mums, it can be helpful to have an understanding of the power of our thoughts. Women can be highly self-critical and once we become mothers, we often find another area of our lives to be critical of: our mothering skills.
It's also common for anxious thoughts to appear for new mums, maybe even more so if we tried for a long time to have a baby, or had to go through rounds of IVF, or suffered from a miscarriage. Although a certain level of anxiety can be helpful, sometimes these thoughts can take over our lives and we find ourselves in a constant cycle of worry and fear.
The most useful therapies to help with this are (in my mind, pun intended!): CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and NLP (neuro linguistic programming). Both teach very practical and simple ways that we can stop, deal with or redirect negatives thoughts or worry. One tool I learned on a CBT course for new mums was to set aside time (eg 10 minutes) every day for worry, allowing any thoughts to surface and also writing down possible actions or parking them if outside of our control.
NLP is very useful as it explains the many factors that influence how we interpret the world around us. And once we have that awareness, we have a choice to think, feel and act differently. NLP language is used by many in the fitness industry to encourage positive changes in clients. Notice the difference between "I can't do it" versus "I don't know how to do it YET". This also aligns closely with developing a growth mindset.
For me, one of the most important reasons to pay attention to my thoughts are my children. As most parents know, children have an uncanny ability to press our buttons, but if our head is in a good place, we are often able to respond in a more constructive and positive way (maybe even using humour!) to their behaviour.