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On mindset, reframing thought and affirmations

I've been having so many chats with wonderful women lately about the impact of these last few years on our resilience and nervous system and how it has impacted on mindset.

And I've been thinking a lot about the things we repeat to ourselves - both positive and negative, often to cope with stress or because of stress and how that can affect us in moving forward with our health and wellbeing.

Here's an example - I realise I've been telling myself "I am always so tired" ever since having my babies.

Those babies are now 10 and 8. So I've been feeding myself the same line for 10 years now!

I do the things - I eat well, I move, I take my B vitamins when I'm feeling ordinary but these things just haven't been working as well and I'm tired or feeling tired so I've started to turn my narrative around to say to myself "you have amazing energy".

And guess what? My energy has a lot since I changed my narrative. Almost instantly.

As the wise Gandhi said -

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,

Your thoughts become your words,

Your words become your actions,

Your actions become your habits,

Your habits become your values,

Your values become your destiny.”

When it comes to both physical and mental health and wellbeing it's important to have a look at our beliefs.

Do you believe you are always tired?

Do you believe you have no time?

Do you believe you will never be well again?

Do you believe you will fail at motherhood or are not worthy to be a mother?

Do you believe you are not worthy of good things or a happy life?

Do you believe your body has always, and will always let you down?

Do you believe your body is a burden?

Do you believe that you have tried everything and nothing ever works, so nothing ever will?

Do you believe that because your mother had these same health issues, and so did hers that you will do, or you will not find and answer because they didn't?

Do you believe you always get the rough end of the stick? Are prone to bad luck?

Do you believe it's all too hard?

Do you believe life is hard?

Do you believe it's no use?

Do you believe you can never be happy?

Do you believe you will always be anxious?

Do you believe that every food you eat is going to upset you?

Do you believe it's hopeless?

There have been numerous studies (there is a nice collection below) into the benefits of affirmation. We could call this anything else we want to - positive thoughts, positive self-talk, assertions, declarations, statements, mindset confirmations.... I like "reframing". I am taking something I believe or think and looking at it in another light.

Now, instead of saying "I am always so tired" I catch myself when this happens and have changed it to "I used to be so tired, when my babies were waking multiple times in the night. They are no longer doing that. I sleep well, I am looking after myself, I'm not so tired anymore. I have amazing energy. I have moved out of that stage".

I'm reframing a belief.

Another example of reframing - if your belief is "my body always lets me down, I do not like my body" why not change it to "My body has let me down in the past, however it was not the fault of my body, and it was not my fault. I choose to love and accept my body and myself. We are doing the best we can to work together toward better health and a better future. I believe we will achieve this".

Reframing or using positive self-talk can actually bolster resilience, increase flexibility and reduce stress and our perceived feelings of threat.

So try to notice if you feed yourself negatives and change the script.

You can write out your own affirmations or record yourself saying them and play it back to repeat out loud with yourself. Affirmations while you shower are a great way to get that positive mindset working out regularly.

There are also many affirmations you can follow along with on spotify or youtube. Louise Hay is a good one to start with, short and sweet. .

See what happens, you've nothing to lose ❤

Emma xx

For those who love looking at the studies -

  1. The Psychology of Self-Affirmation: Sustaining the Integrity of the Self (Steele, C, 1988);

  2. Self-affirmations have been shown to decrease health-deteriorating stress (Sherman et al., 2009; Critcher & Dunning, 2015);

  3. Self-affirmations have been used effectively in intervention that led people to increase their physical behavior (Cooke et al., 2014);

  4. They may help us to perceive otherwise “threatening” messages with less resistance, including interventions (Logel & Cohen, 2012);

  5. They can make us less likely to dismiss harmful health messages, responding instead with the intention to change for the better (Harris et al., 2007) and to eat more fruit and vegetables (Epton & Harris, 2008);

  6. They have been linked positively to academic achievement by mitigating GPA decline in students who feel left out at college (Layous et al., 2017);

  7. Self-affirmation has been demonstrated to lower stress and rumination (Koole et al., 1999; Wiesenfeld et al., 2001).

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emma jacques

Women's Health

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