Motherhood has a way of stripping us bare and forcing us to re-assess what is important, our priorities and our purpose. As mothers we are never the same, our life doesn't just carry on as it was after two weeks paternity leave with only the evenings and weekends that have changed. As mothers we are adjusting to new emotions, a fiercely protective love and redefining ourselves as we wish to be, as a first time mother.
Within all this beautiful mayhem, there are some ways we can stay connected to our core, to bring us through the transition knowing who we are and how we want to show up as a mother:
Mindfulness is the act of being present, on purpose, paying attention with no judgment. It's aim it to be with what is, to not be moving away from pain or to pleasure, but simply to accept where you are to create inner peace and greater self-esteem.
Mindfulness allows us to listen to our bodies and focus our attention inwards, which also creates a stronger immune system. The more connected we are with ourselves the better we understand our own physical, mental and emotional needs. We learn to trust our instinct and can handle our emotions in a stable manner.
As a mother these qualities are magical, as so many of us are distracted, thinking, doing, reacting, but by being more mindful, we learn to just be in the present moment and remain more calm, even though our emotions might be frazzled.
Learning to be fully present through mindfulness will help to tame the Monkey Mind, which is compulsive, hyperactive and dominated by excessive thinking. It stops you feeling emotions directly and takes you away from experiencing the present moment. It forces you to focus on concerns, 'what if's' and negative scenarios, which is a rocky road for any new mum who is flooded with new hormones, emotions and tiredness.
Instead, learn passive awareness, let those thoughts enter your head and pass through, be still, be silent, observe as an outsider but do not get attached to the thoughts or try to fight them. Just let them be. By learning passive awareness you will tame the Monkey Mind.
It is well known that meditation reduces anxiety and stress, increases focus, creativity and awareness, and creates a relaxed state of mind. The purpose of mediation is to go beyond the thinking mind to experience awareness and stillness, which you can then integrate into your everyday life.
By being more aware in our daily lives means we are living in the now, from moment to moment, without judgment or reaction. The more aware we become of our thoughts, breath, feelings and emotions the more present we become and less controlled by our minds. By becoming more aware as a mother you will be less judgmental and reactive and be able to bring your full attention to whatever you are doing, which in turn creates freedom from anxiety and worry.
Take a few minutes to mediate each day to experience these benefits and increase your coping mechanisms, and to connect with who you are and how you want to be as a mother.
An easy meditation: close your eyes and focus your awareness on your breath, the movement of your stomach and chest as you inhale and exhale, sit up straight and move your head, stretching your neck and back muscles, relax your shoulders and drop them back and down feeling your neck lengthen. Find a comfortable seated position with your shoulders back and spine straight flowing down into your seat.
Open your awareness and let sounds come to you, let thoughts flow in and out of your head, do not focus on them or attach to them. Keep coming back to your breath, if your mind wanders just bring it back and focus your attention on your breathing, counting as you inhale and exhale if this helps (inhale one, exhale one, inhale two, exhale two and so forth). Set your timer for 5 minutes (as a minimum) or ideally 20 minutes for maximum impact.
This is a wonderful way to still your mind, stay connected to your inner desires and be present in the moment. The more you practice these mindfulness actions, the more stillness and awareness you will experience, which will help as you journey through motherhood.
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