To consistently express the nurturing and attentive love that attachment parenting is all about is no easy task. It’s far too easy to become out-of-yourmind sleep-deprived, weary of toddler tantrums and stretched to your capacity to care for your family, your house, your work and maybe—if you’re lucky—yourself. I’ve teetered on burn-out quite a bit over the last year, mothering two children under the age of 4. So I was delighted to learn some quick tips for shifting out of my “this is too hard” mindset and into total gratitude for my life and my ability to create something new and magical for myself and my family every day.
Knowing how well these tips can work for me during grumpy moments (when I remember to access them), I’m inspired to guide my daughter into giving them a try when she gets emotionally stuck, too. For example, I can show her a photograph when her arms were outstretched in pure, unfettered bliss, and ask her how she felt. Then I can encourage her to replay this physical state (or other postures that she likes) to access the joyful emotions that accompanied them.
Courtesy of Helen Attridge of Inner Wisdom Coaching (InnerWisdomCoaching.com), here are three amazing mood-shifting strategies.
1) Change your physiology. When you’re angry at life, how does it feel in your body? What do your shoulders do? How do you breathe? What happens to your forehead, your mouth, your jaw…? Now think about your physical state when you’re feeling your favorite emotion. My favorite emotional state is a combination of inspired and secure. When I feel this way, I feel energetic, powerful, open and tapped into life. My chest is open versus hunched, my face is bright and content versus scrunched or clenched, and my breathing comes easy.
To find the emotional state that matches the physical state, start with the latter. Stretch. Walk outside. Dance. Practice yoga. There’s a great article by Carolyn Oberst published in Fit Yoga magazine (and available as a pdf at YogaInTribeca.com) on how to impact the way you think, feel and create through direct manipulation of your body.
2) Check in on your focus and your beliefs. What are you choosing to think about a situation that might unconsciously keep you in a negative state? What are you choosing to believe as truth that might not be?
Last year, when I decided to retire from my very parttime work-at-home mother status and began pounding the pavement to go back to work outside the home, I received a rejection letter from a company I was really excited about working for at the time. My mind struggled to stay positive. Self-deprecating slams clouded my head, along with thoughts and questions like, “Why is this not happening for me?” and “It’s going to take forever to get a job!”
Feeling and expressing disappointment is healthy and natural, of course. But keeping my mental focus there and maintaining the ridiculous belief that anything takes “forever” would have energetically blocked opportunities, connections and any number of other wonderful things that would later cross my path. I’m now happily employed at Whole Foods Market global headquarters on the Healthy Eating team, and am so grateful that the other job didn’t work out!
3) Change the question. Be on the lookout for any version of “What’s wrong with me?” or “Why can’t I figure this out?” in your head. Once you’re conscious of it, recognize that no valuable answer comes from a negatively oriented question. Try asking a different set of questions, like:
“How can we have fun?”
“What am I grateful for right now?”
“What am I willing to do to create a new reality?”
“How can we make this an amazing adventure?”
“What is perfect about this moment?”
“What am I learning?”
These questions will reorient you into a positive state of mind. The transformation from Grumperella back to Sweet Loving Mama is great!
What tips do you have for maintaining your ability to provide consistent and loving care when you’re feeling tired or grouchy? We’d love to hear them. E-mail us at
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About the Author:
Monica Cravotta is the voice behind the online resource Attachmentmama.com, where you can find over 100 articles related to parenting and family wellness, including natural childbirth, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, empathetic parenting, plantstrong nutrition, healthy conflict resolution and others— all inspired by her own early parenting trials and triumphs. This article was originally published as “Three Easy Tricks to Maintaining a Loving and Positive State of Being” in Attachment Parenting International’s API Speaks.
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #28.
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