MamaBlogger365 – Dealing with Tough Times by Diane Lang

Sometimes, we need to re-frame the thinking in our own heads before we can even entertain the idea of re-framing motherhood. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the day to day, letting it grind down our optimism and enthusiasm until we can’t see anything but the negativity. And that’s before we get hit with unexpected obstacles at work and at home… Get rid of the negativity and get your life back so you can get on with re-framing motherhood to fit your and your family’s needs and goals.

Times are tough. That’s what we hear from everyone. Unemployment is high, fear of layoffs, gasoline prices are through the roof, natural disasters are all around us… and these are just a few of the stories we see on a daily basis on our TV, on the homepage of our computers, in newspapers, and on the radio. How are we to escape all this negativity so we can move forward in our day to day lives? When things are bad in the world, we still need to have some normalcy so we can sleep at night and keep our kids happy and healthy. I wish I could get rid of all the stress and negativity in the world but here are some tips to help you get through your day on a positive note.

1. Stay away from the negative — there is no reason why you have to watch the negativity on the TV, read it in your newspapers, hear it on the radio, etc. Make a conscious choice to limit your negative time. I have learned that it is better to watch the cartoons and kids shows on Disney with my daughter then all the morning programs. Why? because the morning shows have one positive story to 10 negative ones. I can’t compete with the negative. I’m not saying to ignore the world events but limiting the amount of negativity you get in one day is definitely a healthier choice.

2. Negativity is not just found on your local news programs. Watch the “toxic” people in your life. Moods and emotions are contagious. If you surround yourself with negative people it will rub off on you. It only takes about 10 minutes for a mood to be passed onto others.

3. Watch the negative self-talk. Try this experiment for a day (snap to awareness exercise): Wear a rubber band around your wrist and every time you have a negative thought, action or say something negative to others, snap the rubber band. You might be surprised how red your wrist is by the end of the day. When we are feeling negative we tend to over-generalize what is going on and one small issue turns into a big issue. We domino affect one problem into many others.

Example: You’re driving to work and all of a sudden you hit traffic and you’re stuck. You get upset but instead of just focusing on the traffic, it turns into a negative party. You start insulting the traffic, the car you drive, the other drivers, the weather, the place you were going to, etc.

When you do the “snap to awareness” exercise with the rubber band, you find out how negative you are. This self-awareness can allow you to slow down the negativity.

Watch the negative words like: maybe, should, could or would. Replace them with power words like: choose, choice, I will, etc.

4. Work on what you can control in your life, not what you can’t. Just a quick reminder — we can only change ourselves, we can never control others. If we try to change others, we are setting ourselves up for failure because it’s unrealistic. Make a list of everything in your life you can control then ask yourself, what can I do about it now? Set up goals and action plans. Make sure all your goals are realistic and achievable. Take baby steps when making changes.

5. Tough times are real but they are only temporary. Remember that when things are bad. Instead of saying things like: This will never change, This problem seems impossible, etc. Start saying: This issue/situation is only temporary. You’re not a victim. Go back to #4 and work on what you can control. This brings back the power.

6. Tough times are teachable moments. I always tell clients, don’t live in the past, learn from your past. The tough situation your in now will be temporary and then one day will be a teachable moment. Think to yourself, what can I learn from this issue? What can I do to not be a victim? I have adult college students tell me I lost my job BUT I’m using this time to further my education or learn a new skill. There is always a positive side to every negative story. Look for the positive

7. Consequences — think of the consequences if you remain negative, stressed out and unbalanced. You will feel the affects emotionally, mentally and physically. Here are some the signs to look for:

  • Change in eating/sleeping habits
  • Low energy/fatigue
  • Poor concentration, focus and attention
  • Irritability/mood swings
  • Low immune system
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Migraines, jaw pain
  • Stomach problems
  • Isolation, depression
  • Burnout — mental, physical and emotional exhaustion

8. If you feel completely overwhelmed by your situation, then seek professional help. Remember you’re not alone. APA reported that 80% of Americans feel stressed due to the economy and Harvard research says that more than 60% of doctor visits are due to stress.

Bio: Diane Lang is an educator and Life Coach. Diane has dedicated her career to helping people turn their lives around and is now on a mission to help them develop a sustainable positive attitude that can actually turn one into an optimist, literally. A therapist and educator of Positive Psychology, she has seen that it can provide a strong foundation for finding great happiness and is gratified that it is becoming a mainstream method of treatment. As an expert in her fields of therapy, Diane has been featured in the Daily Record and Cookie Magazine, seen on NJ 12 TV and the national television program “Fox & Friends”. She has also participated in a reality based Internet show, ourprisoner.com, hosted Generation X-tinet and appeared in various educational videos. In addition Lang writes a bi-weekly column “The Balancing Act” at www.thealternativepress.com and sharing her expertise on parenting and living a positive lifestyle on The WTBQ Expat Show.

For more information visit Diane’s website, www.dlcounseling.com or e-mail her at Lifeline36@aol.com.

MamaBlogger365 needs you! Tell us how you’re re-framing motherhood and help the Museum of Motherhood secure a permanent home in 2011!

Photo credit: Young Woman Thinking by Petr Kratochvil
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