What works for you as you shift your mindset to be a happier mom? We all talk a lot about reframing, and making conscious mental shifts… but what does that actually mean? We’ve talked about what happiness actually means (maybe it’s a state of being – subjective well-being, deep contentment – as well as a journey we are present for). And we’ve considered 10 things you can do to be happier right now (based on things that help when struggling “in the moment,” i.e. with anxiety). But in this post, we’ll consider something bigger – some of the principles or ideas for how to shift your mindset in order to be healthier and happier.
This post is NOT an encouragement of toxic or false positivity. Instead, this is a series of principles or guiding ideas that help me when I am trying to engage a mental shift or reframe. Some of these ideas help me (I have them saved as a bulleted list in my phone), but perhaps you have other ideas that work for you (and I hope you will share!)
Ideas for how to shift your mindset to become a happier mom
1. Shift to an attitude of “get to” instead of “have to.”
I watched this youtube video where Alicia Keys ( the artist, musician, performer, author of the book More Myself, wife, and mother – that Alicia Keys!) describes shifting from a scarcity mindset to an abundance.
She’s speaking about money – how she shifted from coming from a place of never having enough, to suddenly having more than enough but not making the mindset shift, and still being afraid of spending for fear of it disappearing or just due to the scarcity mindset. (Here’s a link to the youtube video – she reads an excerpt from her book and talks about the mindset shift).
But this mindset shift can also be applied to how we interpret our life circumstances. Are we seeing the things we are dealing with from a place of lack, of scarcity, of struggle? Are we seeing our day-to-day reality as a series of things we “have to do” rather than an abundance of things we “get to do” – and what would happen if we made a mental shift?
This is simply reframing from a place of gratitude. We can apply this same thinking to anything that we are defaulting to seeing as a challenge.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a one-and-done thing. It would be great if we just had to do this once per day, like popping an allergy pill. Because it would be – it IS – easy to do as an intellectual exercise undertaken just once. But unfortunately, we have to do it OVER AND OVER again.
We have to do this reframe every day. It’s okay if we slip up obviously but it has to be a verb.
2. Choose your words.
Making the shift to mental abundance (“I get to”) rather than scarcity (“I have to”) requires effort. When we speak with people, we have to be careful not to fall into the complaining trap, or the one-upping trap, or the commiserating trap. We have to speak from a place of gratitude and thankfulness and wholeness and abundance (and no, we don’t have to brag, lie, exaggerate, or be annoying. We just have to speak from a place of thankfulness rather than a place of misery).
We have to put this reframe into ACTION, into PRACTICE, over and over.
In the sameway, do reframing in your own head. (Remember, it’s a verb). When you catch yourself thinking about how miserable you are, seriously stop and consider the things you are resisting. Are they things to be suffered through? Are they gifts? Or are they simply neutral – simple facts / realities? And if they ARE neutral, how are you going to choose to see them?
3. Choose happiness, on purpose.
Granted every situation is not inherently a source of joy, and there are actual, genuinely sad or hard things. These things, though they could still benefit from some reframing, are not what I am referring to.
Instead, consider the mundane quotidian events and demands of daily life. Do we sometimes treat them as chores to suffer through (choosing misery) rather than opportunities to share joy or create fun memories with our families (choosing happiness/strength)?
This line of thinking is sometimes met with: what, so I have to try to be happy all the time? Or, are you blaming me for being unhappy? It’s my fault because I’m not focusing on the good all the time? No, and no. And you can choose to (or accidentally end up) unhappy either way. And no, you do not have to choose happiness every time. But at any given time, whether you realize it or not, you are choosing something. Sometimes you are being intentional (like if you rail against the idea shared above, fighting to defend your right to be unhappy – that’s fine). Sometimes we choose to be miserable by default, without being intentional about it. What if instead we empowered ourselves?
Do you want to see this “choice” as victimizing you for being unhappy? Do you want to choose misery?
What would happen if we saw this choice as empowering? What if we could choose happiness?
4. Look for things to be grateful for.
What if, instead of feeling stuck, or feeling trapped, or feeling doomed to suffer, we chose to seek out the good? What would happen if we sought out things to be thankful for? What would our lives look like?
If thought creates reality, if our minds create the world we experience, what would happen if we created a reality that was full of things to be thankful for?
5. Be present; be here, now.
Eckhart Tolle says that the secret of happiness is to accept (instead of resist), and to practice being present.
“Being at peace and being who you are, that is, being yourself, are one.”Eckhart Tolle, “A New Earth”
“The ego says: Maybe at some point in the future, I can be at peace—if this, that, or the other happens, or I obtain this or become that.
Or it says: I can never be at peace because of something that happened in the past. Listen to people’s stories and they could all be entitled “Why I Cannot Be at Peace Now.”
The ego doesn’t know that your only opportunity for being at peace is now. Or maybe it does know, and it is afraid that you may find this out. Peace, after all, is the end of the ego.
How to be at peace now? By making peace with the present moment.
The present moment is the field on which the game of life happens. It cannot happen anywhere else. Once you have made peace with the present moment, see what happens, what you can do or choose to do, or rather what life does through you.
There are three words that convey the secret of the art of living, the secret of all success and happiness:
One With Life.
Being one with life is being one with Now.
You then realize that you don’t live your life, but life lives you. Life is the dancer, and you are the dance.”Eckhart Tolle, “A New Earth”
5 mental shifts or principles to becoming a happier mom
How to shift your mindset to be a happier mom in five steps: think in “get to,” speak carefully, CHOOSE happy, seek gratitude, be present. These are the 5 major “mental shifts” to become a happier mom, laid out as 5 principles. 1. Reframe to “get to,” 2. Choose words carefully, 3. Choose happiness intentionally, 4. Look for things to be grateful for, and 5. Be present.
- Shift from “have to” to “get to.” In other words, reframe. Become intentional about the things you say, and even the things you think. Put another way, take care of your thoughts when you are alone. Take care of your words (and actions) when you are with people.
- Choose your words intentionally, consciously. This is, again, more reframing. Meaning when you catch yourself thinking “I have to…” (have to call the doctor; have to bathe the kids; have to balance my job with child-rearing), try to reframe it from a place of gratitude and abundance – “I get to…” (I get to take advantage of modern medicine and heal my children’s ailments; I get to clean my children and access running water; I get to pursue a career and be my children’s mother.)
- Intentionally, consciously, choose happiness, on purpose. Decide if you are going to choose misery or happiness.
- Look for things to be grateful for; shift to a gratitude-centered perspective.
- Be present – stop resisting the present moment in wait of a future moment. Be here, now, where life is currently happening.
PS – A link to More Myself by Alicia Keys on Amazon. You can also get it for free by trying Audible. If you can think of a MENTAL SHIFT or rule of thumb that helps you to reframe, please share it as a comment below this post. Also, consider joining us in our Facebook group to discuss.