You do not have to have read Dan Harris' book, 10% Happier to get something out of this post but I do very much recommend you doing so-- especially if you suffer from anxiety and are desperately searching for something to hold on to, believe in or to ground you.
Before you start thinking I'm a little too granola and into self-helpery, try to understand that, as mothers and women, we all feel as if we are drowning -- even if just a little bit. We are all looking up trying to find a crack in the ice where we can burst through to gasp for air. I know I am. Constantly. All day long. Gasping.
Since reading 10% Happier, I've developed some new routines in my life, created a plethora of new goals, and have decided WHO I WANT TO BE. And to top it off, I have also decided that there is no longer any room for self-doubt and I am becoming more mindful of each and every moment.
Get on the train momma, its a pretty rad ride.
Below are a few tips I have written on becoming a more mindful woman and momma. Mindfulness to me is intending to be more present in the moment--- more aware, more at ease, and more grateful. It is about finding your flow, and breathing a little deeper. If you are over-taken by this fast paced, multi-tasking, can't-stop-for-a-single second society that we are living in, then please consider some of these tips and picking up this book.
And remember, we are setting examples for our children. If we show them that we are always "there" but never "present," and continue to dish out empty, "yes'" and "no's" but then have no idea what we even said "yes" or "no" to, then our kids will eventually catch on and start copying our behaviors-- allowing the go-go-go lifestyle to over-take them as well. I don't know about you, but I want my kids to be present in their lives --appreciating all the beauty, finding gratitude daily, and being mindful of it all. So, let's start with us. I admit, these tips are not going to change your life. But in motherhood and womanhood, it may allow you to atleast be 10% happier and thats something-- isn't it?
Here are 6 tips on Becoming a More Mindful Motherhood:
- Stop dividing your attention. One of the biggest stressors for us, as mothers, is multi-tasking. There is so much that we are trying to do at one time that we end up slicing ourselves up into tiny little slivers and dividing us up equally. We can literally hold a conversation with all of our children while simultaneously writing an email or making a phone call. Sure, we manage to somehow do it, but when we are finished, we literally have no recollection of what the heck we just said or wrote. Our brains are constantly ticking and yet we are missing everything because we do not take the time to be mindful of what we are doing and how we are using our time. It's time to start slowing down, mommas. It is time to stop slicing up our attention up into pieces and start doing more with intention.
- Be Grateful. It is one thing to say you are grateful and another thing to acknowledge specifically WHY you are grateful and WHAT you are grateful for. Every night before bed, review your day-- you can choose to write down what you are grateful for or just mentally note it. Either way, take the time to consider all the good in your life. It may be as simple as your grande gingerbread latte and that is just fine. But whatever it is, be more mindful of the little bits of beauty that present themselves to you daily. The more you start being grateful to the universe for all the good in the world, the more good you will begin to see. It's like digging deeper into source energy and karma. See the good, and be grateful and mindful of the good. Then, send out those good vibes and be mindful and ready to receive them right back.
- Stop treating the present moment as if it were an obstacle. Why do we all feel like the present moment is just something we have to get THROUGH? Why can't we ever just be IN it? The present is not something to overcome in order to get to the next moment. We think to ourselves, "if I could just finish this laundry then I can finally relax." Or, "it'll be so much easier when she turns three and we are out of the terrible twos." We just keep looking forward and pushing through the present as if there is something better ahead of us. Let me tell you girlfriend, THIS IS IT. This is life. Don't live it thinking that THIS moment isn't good enough and the next will be better. It's a horrible cycle where you will always end up wishing for something that you already have right in front of you.
- Meditate. Set aside time in the morning, before you start stressing over your to-do list or start packing lunches to meditate and be mindful. If you have never tried it, please please do me a favor and do so (I recommend starting with the app Headspace). Take a few minutes every morning to focus on breathing, check in with yourself, and find peace and calming in what the day will bring you. I can promise you this: you will never regret giving yourself 10 minutes to just sit cross legged with a candle burning. There is nothing more serene than having the only sound in your home be that of your breath and the light flickering of the flame to your lavender scented candle. That is bliss, man.
- Breath before reacting. It is so easy to get so frustrated by the noise, the whining and the arguing bellowing from the mouths of your children constantly. I have even turned around from the driver seat in the car with a fuming red face, my eye brows pierced upward and my mouth practically foaming and shouted, "just shut up!!!" at the top of my lungs. Okay, okay, there might have been an eff bomb dropped in there too. Yikes. But the point is, what good did that do? If anything it made everything worse because the baby started crying hysterically and I fantasized about opening the door and rolling out of my white mini van while it was still moving. Imagine that? I can just picture driving down the road and seeing a mother, all loopy-eyed, rolling out of her moving mini van and running for the hills. Classic. I digress. The point is, sometimes just repeating a mantra to yourself or taking ten deep breaths is enough for you to find your reasoning. Become mindful in the moment and acknowledge your frustration. Sometimes that's all your frustration wants is for you to say, "yes I KNOW. I am FRUSTRATED." Or try using the mantra, "this too shall pass," as a way to acknowledge that your frustration is only temporary and does not have the power to control you. Acknowledging your mood is sometimes enough to recenter yourself and be able to laugh at the beautiful chaos that is unfolding.
- Find your flow. Flow is a term used to describe being so engaged in an activity that your awareness of time and your surroundings disappear. Artists often say that when they are creating art, they lose themselves in the moment (I do this often while writing or taking pictures). Find something that you love wholeheartedly and allows you to find your flow so deeply that you are consumed in that moment and in complete disregard for everything else. Be mindful of the power is has over you and enjoy it. This is also important for self care. If you take care of yourself and allow time for you to find your own flow, you will then have more to give to your children later.