Anxiety can be passed down biologically, through your environment or how you were growing up as a child. Chances are, if your mother was anxious, most likely you will turn out anxious too. One example could be if your mom were a "helicopter mom". She swoops in to save every situation, and you might believe that you don't have what it takes to handle a stressful situation. You start to become anxious when a challenging situation is present, and your mom is not there to help.
In a way, you've been programmed to feel anxiety. When you become a mother, your anxiety can be felt at different stages. Whether it's worrying about your baby's development or wondering about your child's safety walking home from school, it can cause you to spiral down the anxiety quicksand. While some concern helps prevent your kids from harm, for example, you make sure they wear their bike helmet while they ride their bike, it should not inhibit you from living life, especially if it keeps you awake at night. The truth is you cannot control what happens in the future, but you can choose how to react.
If you're continually worrying or stressing out over small things, you might need help to address your mom anxiety. The first step is to acknowledge how you feel and not ignore the fact. The second step is to take actions that can help you ease your stress. The third step is to get professional support to manage how you feel.
Here are some ways to ease mom anxiety:
Stop comparing yourself with other mothers. When I was a new mom, I used to think that mothers who wore makeup and dress well have their shit together. I felt terrible for not dressing up. Or when I heard other mothers talk about their memorable trips with their kids, I felt awful not providing more experiences for my kids. It wasn't easy to stop comparing myself, but I learned to let go of expectations over time. I tell myself that I'm doing my best with the resources I have, and that's enough for my kids.
Reframe your thoughts. Reframing is a positive way to look at things. I learned it from my NLP training. What you say to yourself can change the way you look at things. Instead of telling yourself, "I'm afraid that cars will hit my child". Say, "I trust my child will be safe." Or "I'm worried that I'm not doing enough" Say, "I'm doing my best". Learn to reframe your thoughts from a negative one to a positive one.
Limit media intake. It doesn't matter if you are reading the news or scrolling on social media. It's essential to limit your daily media intake. It can take one news report or social media debate to get us riled up and start spiralling down towards anxiety. Also, try to avoid watching the news first thing in the morning or before going to bed. It affects how you feel for the rest of the day, and vice versa affects your ability to wind down and sleep.
Go outside in nature. Studies have shown the benefits of being in nature, and it's a great stress reliever. Being outdoors, breathing fresh air and enjoying the scenery can do wonders to your body, mind and soul. It helps you get out of your head and focus on the beauty around you. There is a Japanese term called "shinrin-yoku", or forest bathing, and it's spending time under a canopy of trees or immersing oneself in the forest. Research has shown it does wonders to the immune system, lowers anxiety and stress.
Practice mindfulness. A lot of anxiety happens when we project into the future. We worry about what-ifs. While it's good to plan for the future, you can't always prepare for worst-case scenarios, and you can't control what happens. By focusing on the here and now, you can ease your anxiety. Meditation is a useful tool to help us be more focused and present in life. When you are fully present, for example when you're playing with your kids, you're not worrying about the future. There are many meditation apps that you can use, Headspace, Calm, Insight Timer. Start with 5 minutes of meditation a few times a week, and slowly move to 10 minutes every day.
Get support and help. Talking to a friend or partner, sharing your worries, and talking aloud might make you feel less anxious. However, if you notice your anxiety levels are getting harder to manage, perhaps working with an NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) coach can help you feel more in control and less anxious. NLP works on rewiring your brain on a subconscious level that breaks old thought patterns, allowing you to break-free from anxious thoughts and feel more at ease.
What do you think of these tips? Do you find them useful?
Book a free clarity call here with me if you are interested in an NLP session. Let's see if we are a good fit before you commit to working with me.