Mindset is something that I have struggled with throughout my life. I had a very challenging childhood with a lot of bullying and difficulty making friends. So from a very early age I told myself ‘No one likes me’, ‘I’m not good enough’ and I felt incredibly sad and alone.
Fast forward to adulthood and those thought processes are very engrained in me, it has taken a lot of self reflection, therapy and practice to change them. Especially now as a mother, these negative thoughts come up regularly. I tend to question my ability as a mother. I criticise myself for not being the “perfect mother” that I always wanted to be. However, I have learned that these negative thoughts are not helpful. They make you feel sad, angry, frustrated, guilty and then you are left there having a crap experience of life just because of your state of mind.
So I made a commitment to myself to change my mindset. I have learnt a lot of techniques over the years to help with mindset, and now was the time to finally make the change. I knew it would take a conscious effort (which is why it had never worked in the past), and it would take time, but I was ready.
Step 1 – Having A Growth Mindset
First, to change your mindset you need to have more of a Growth Mindset. What does that mean? Well, there are two ends to the mindset spectrum. A Growth Mindset – where you believe you can change your thoughts, intelligence and skills through practice and learning, and a Fixed Mindset – where you believe your intelligence and skills are at a fixed level and are unable to be changed. No one is 100% one or the other, they are on a continuum. However, it is clear just by definition that you need to be more on the Growth end to believe you CAN change your mindset through practice.
No matter where you are on the continuum I want you to know that purely from a science point of view, that your brain literally grows and develops more neuron connections the more you practice something. So there is science behind how a Growth Mindset works. Practicing a new way of thinking literally can become faster and easier through practice. So much so that it can become automatic.
Step 2 – Practice ABC Journalling
Secondly, I found practicing a process called ABC Journalling as the easiest way change your mindset. I recommend you start by writing this process down as it will be easier and give you a greater understanding. As it becomes easier you can start to do the process in your mind.
You are going to think about a certain situation that you reacted to negatively and analyse the situation as follows:
A = Activating Event
The activating event is the situation. What happened to cause you to become upset/angry/sad?
Eg. My toddler was screaming at dinner time and all he would eat was a biscuit.
B = Beliefs/Thoughts
What did you think about the situation?
Eg. “I’m a failure as a mother. Why can’t I get my son to eat healthy. I’m hopeless.”
C = Consequences
What did you feel/do because of the situation?
Eg. You may have felt sad, or angry or frustrated at your son and at yourself. Maybe you raised your voice. Maybe you where rough with them, or chose to be withdrawn and scrolled on your phone rather than playing with them after dinner.
Overall this whole situation doesn’t make you feel good, likely your child isn’t happy and the consequences are poor behaviour. Now, I would like you to use the same activating event, and think about it in a more positive light.
A = Same event
B = “He had a very short sleep at day care today so he is probably very tired. I know he ate all of his healthy lunch at day care so it isn’t too bad if he doesn’t eat his healthy dinner”
C = You may feel less stressed, less upset. You may not raise your voice, instead you choose to let go of the fight and are therefore more open and playful with your child that evening.
There you have it. It is the same situation, but because you chose to view it differently you had a completely different outcome. You and your child are likely to be happier and connect more because of how you changed your mindset.
By practicing viewing situations in different lights you will open up your world to a whole new perspective. As you get better at this process you will be able to do it in your head and as the stressful situation is unfolding which is very helpful for reducing anxiety.
Grab your FREE ABC Journalling Template below!