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Written by Lisa Grace Byrne, founder of WellGrounded Life, and author of the newly released book, Replenish: Experience Radiant Calm and True Vitality in Your Everyday Life.
There’s an epidemic of overwhelmed and depleted mothers in our culture. And the way we’re trying to resolve this crisis is through band aid treatments, outdated models of balance, and media imposed expectations of how mothers should feel and experience life.
This model is driving us into the ground.
We love being mothers. But when we start not loving our lives as mothers, it’s a wakeup call that we need take stock of what’s working and what’s not.
To be clear, it isn’t a Pollyanna version of positive thinking we’re going for. We’re not trying to avoid the realness of the journey, the hard parts, the irritating and challenging and downright maddening parts of raising and loving little beings into the world.
But it’s doing so from a full and vital and well place. It’s having resiliency to ride the rapids with a sense of hopefulness, a bigger perspective that keeps us firmly rooted in the goodness and blessing and grace of it all.
This kind of positive thinking is pro-active positive thinking, and there’s a simple process you can learn to begin to transform your stressful thoughts into life-giving ones.
Here’s a quick overview:
Step 1: Catch a Weed.
Photo by Amit Patel
The first step is to notice. In the beginning it was hugely helpful for me to learn some red flag words that indicated this was a thought I needed to weed out.
The red flag words you’ll want to begin looking for in your mental chatter are “always and never”.
The problem with these words is they become like lenses. They’re so generalized, they take a specific incident you are dealing with and color your whole horizon based on that specific situation.
Some examples could be: “My kids are always fighting,” or “My kids never clean up after themselves,” or “My husband is always judging me.”
Step 2: Plant a Seed
Step 2 is to immediately restate the thought in a truer, less generalized way using the present tense and specific details.
So let’s take the example, “My house is always a mess.”
Once that is caught as a stressful thought, we can restate it like this: “My house is a mess right now,”—or even better “The playroom is a mess right now.”
Many times when you get good at this process just this one step alleviates much of your anxiety.
Stressful thoughts are like weeds because they can take over whole landscapes very quickly—and just like a weed in a garden, in our minds, stressful thoughts have a way of taking over whole dialogues for whole days. By restating the stressful thought, you pull it out and stop it from spreading.
Photo by thienzieyung
Step 3: Follow It Back
Most of the time stressful thoughts feel stressful because of underlying beliefs we’ve attached to them.
I’ve been programmed to believe that a home should be immaculate. That a clean home is a reflection on who I am as a mother. It’s a different thing to want to have an orderly well-kept home versus connecting the state of your home to who you are and how you’re adding up as a mother.
This is where journal work can be very powerful. Ask yourself, “Why is this so stressful to me?”
Step 4: Get Pro-Active
Moving into Step 4, we consider if some action needs to happen to make things better. At this point, the solution is often clearer to see and less emotionally loaded.
The action steps will match what makes most sense for you, but they’re empowered because they’re based on the truth of the situation, not a loaded perspective that was tethered to an untrue core belief.
Stressful thoughts tend to make things more important than they truly are. Catching a stressful thought and disarming it is a powerful first step in generating the core essential of Sovereign Thoughts. In the beginning it’ll feel like slow going progress.
I have journal pages full of stressful thoughts being processed out, but the initial work pays in dividends when you begin to wield your thoughts easily through the day and truly become sovereign within your own mind again.
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A note from Jamie: Lisa has been a virtual friend and mentor to me for years now. I got to know her work initially through her blog and her excellent online course, Designed for Wellness.
So I was thrilled to hear she was putting her wisdom down into a book for us to learn from and enjoy! Lisa carries a unique and refreshing perspective on motherhood and holistic living.
Here’s the endorsement I wrote for her new book, Replenish (& I mean every word!)
“Replenish came into my life exactly when I needed it–during a season of intense busy-ness, verging on burnout. Lisa’s hopeful words reminded me that putting self-care on the front burner instead of the back one was not about selfishness, but survival. She never conveys her ideas as someone who knows it all, but rather as someone who has been through both the joyous and the hard parts of motherhood.
I appreciate that she does not hold back from sharing her own rough stories, but vulnerably exposes what she’s been through and what she learned along the way. I’ve long been a fan of Lisa’s work, and I highly recommend Replenish as a must-read for mamas across the globe!”
If you order your copy of Replenish: Experience Radiant Calm and True Vitality in Your Everyday Life before August 25th, you’ll be eligible for f.r.e.e. enrollment in Lisa’s bonus video class, 7 Days to Calm (value $59). Get your copy & find out more here.