Anxious, overwhelmed, lacking sleep, homeschooling (basically), and stuck between a puddle of tears and a really successful “next project.”
Does this sound familiar?
Are you watching others around you use their time at home to dive into projects, programs, and growth, while you micromanage your children, struggle to move forward in your business, or continue to engage in old, ineffective practices to move toward growth?
Let me start by saying, you are not alone.
For every person who shares their story of success, there are at least two who are hiding in the shadows waiting for someone or something to save them from this living hell.
For every mom who is sharing how amazing her children are, there are two more who are ready to let their child be a school dropout at seven years old.
It is the world we are living in currently—and could be for some time.
The consequences of isolation, too much together time, and a crappy economy are wearing on us all.
For many, this past year has been a year of tremendous growth. I happen to be one of those people. But, please, understand, this growth did not come without obstacles.
For others, the obstacles created new entrenched beliefs: rooted in fear, emotional resistance, and overwhelm.
I appreciate the struggle of managing children. I appreciate the struggles of anxiety, negative self-talk, and self-doubt. I hear you when you say, “I don’t have time,” to accomplish any of the things on your list. I get not knowing the path. I feel the heaviness of sitting with self. I know what it’s like to avoid the hard.
Believe me when I say, I am familiar with the hot mess you see in yourself. I, too, am a hot mess from time to time. Truthfully, I was the same angry, hurt, and scared hot mess all the time—I was just really good at hiding it.
But, I am also intimately acquainted with the strong, empowered, and capable women you are underneath it all.
So, how do you make the shift? How do you lean in to your capabilities, and walk away from your limiting beliefs and barriers, and how did we get stuck here in the first place?
Blame it on the brain!
Specifically the neural pathways that are traveled the most often. This means that your old stories—“I’m not good enough,” “I’m not capable,”—are literally keeping you stuck in the hamster wheel.
As Dr. Dan Siegel says, “Where your attention goes, neural firing flows and neural connection grows.”
The long and short of it: whatever you pay attention to in your mind, wherever you put your effort, that is what you get more of from a neurological perspective. So, think negatively and you will experience more automatic negative thinking.
In contrast, move from a place of strength, gratitude, or competence, and you will see more of your strengths and notice more to be grateful for.
Are you seeing a pattern?
Here are a few of my favorite tips for activating the neural pathways that lead us toward a more fulfilled and peace-filled life:
1. Develop a gratitude practice.
A consistent gratitude practice, where you write down three things a day you are grateful for, will wire the brain to see more things to be grateful for, creating a snowball effect with positive neural connections.
2. Keep a running list of all your “wins,” and look at it daily.
Same as gratitude, but this act targets the “I’m not really that great” struggle. This practice is great for everyone, but especially if you are someone who does not focus on you, your needs, and your brilliance enough. If you are someone who struggles to see your value, this is your practice.
3. Write a mantra to combat your struggles.
Mantra’s work for everyone. They are simply a statement that combats not only your automatic negative thoughts, but the deeper story that goes along with it.
For instance, inaction toward your goals might, on the surface, be rooted in chaos and not making time for yourself, but the underlying story may be something like, “Allowing myself to be seen, truly seen, will cause people to reject me,” or even deeper than that, “I am not worthy of love and success.”
When you dig deep into the story, you get at the root; mantra combats the root directly. In this case the mantra becomes, “I am worthy of success, love, and good things.”
1. Repeat a positive affirmation or your mantra any time the struggle arises. If you are not ready to do the story work, grab some positive affirmation cards and use those to get going. Otherwise, practice the mantra any time that doubt arises.
2. Listen to music that brings you joy, calm, or happiness. The element of water, which is often conveyed through music, will help create a shift and bring you a sense of peace.
3. Meditate. Every day, not once in a while—every day. Develop a consistent practice of mediation. Once you start, you will realize how easy it is to work it into your busy life. There are apps, YouTube, and plenty of options out there. Start exploring, and see what resonates with you right now—then do that.
4. Connect with people who lift you up. Sometimes we end up with people in our life who do not serve our greater purpose. It’s okay, it happens. When we are not clear, we draw into our lives people who do not offer what we need.
Ever had a friend for a while, or dated someone who seemed so right, only to be revealed as so wrong for you? This is exactly what I am talking about.
My greatest fear was being rejected, not loved, or cared about for who I was, so I just didn’t show anyone who I was. I was a therapist, so I just played that role in all aspects of my life, so guess who I drew in as friends? People looking for a therapist! A free, one-way relationship that they didn’t have to put anything into. And I’ll be honest, that worked for a very long time. Until it didn’t.
I challenge you to explore who you need in your life, what you need from the people around you, and to engage in more of those types of relationships. We call that connection with like-minded people. So, jump in.
Finally, the most important thing to remember in this growth, forward movement, and shifting into the you you are meant to be: what you consume matters. Be careful what you spend your time doing, listening to, and engaging with.
It would really suck to do all this work, and then wire the brain back to the old way by engaging in some drama on social media.
To get your big wins, you simply need to do a little house cleaning, and take daily consistent action to move toward that calm, peaceful, positive thought patterns we all truly desire.