Create your own mindset toolbox
Something I hear quite a lot is: ‘I wish I had your mindset’.
And this is great news because mindset is something you can change. Yes it takes time and yes you have to put in some work if you want to look at the world differently, but the good news is, it is possible!
Before I jump in with what’s in my mindset toolbox, I want to acknowledge something really important…
Life isn’t fair.
We have good days, and we have bad days and sometimes shit happens and it’s not worth celebrating. While there is always something to be grateful for and always a silver lining, forcing yourself to look for it is not always the best move.
In fact, trying to put a positive spin on things is sometimes the worst thing you can do! That’s toxic positivity – ‘always look on the bright side’ or ‘someone else has it worse off’ – it can be dangerous because it is essentially ignoring the truth about how we are feeling.
For me, maintaining a positive mindset is not pretending negative emotions don’t exist, it is about acknowledging and using all of our emotions to move us forward in a way that benefits us.
Seems easy enough when things are going well, but how do we do that when it feels like one thing after another is being thrown at us? Testing us? How do we, in those circumstances listen to our truth and work though it?
I’d like to share a recent experience of my own with you where I felt like an avalanche of challenges was slamming down upon me…
I was really looking forward to being pregnant again. With my son, 3 years ago I had a lovely time. I experienced none of the horrible symptoms often experienced by so many women, I was riding a wave of excitement as I set up and grew my business and was thoroughly enjoyed myself!
Of course, I knew that every pregnancy is different, and my experience wasn’t guaranteed to be the same as the first time but what I wasn’t expecting was how different the two 9 months would be!
I’m not going to go into the nitty gritty but as a general overview: I had nausea and sickness for the whole of my first trimester, I caught COVID at the beginning of my second trimester (just at the point the morning sickness was easing off and my energy should have been on the up). The COVID really knocked my immune system and led to a hospital visit, double ear infections and then shingles. I also broke two toes halfway through my second trimester and at the end of November my Granny passed away. I actually started to feel human again in January, as I entered the third and final trimester, and then – bang – pelvic girdle pain (PGP). This made sleeping, walking and any movement extremely painful at times and there was very little that could be done.
My work was affected, because I was so tired and uncomfortable, and my mindset and mental health took a downward turn. I remember after breaking my toes, while suffering with shingles thinking It can’t get worse than this, soon after my Granny passed away and I even had thoughts that I had caused it by ‘tempting fate’ – to be clear, that is not how manifesting works! If you want to know more about manifesting, click here.
Is this something you can relate to? Not the pregnancy story exactly, but the avalanche of stuff! That feeling like you cannot catch a break and when you think it can’t possibly get any worse…boom! It does!
The important thing, as I experienced this is that I knew that I could make choices to feel and think differently – it might not be easy – in fact it’s never as simple as ‘just think something different!’
But with work and reaching into my mindset toolbox I could move through these thoughts and be okay, after not being okay.
It’s important to remember that creating a mindset toolbox is quite a personal thing, and what works for me, might not appeal to you (read my blog on mindset and business your way for more on this). What I love about having a mindset toolbox is creating a whole raft of go-tos. Some will become daily (and I would encourage that!), some might just be there for particular challenges or specific emotions. It’s your tool box and it’s bottomless!
1. ALWAYS START HERE: acknowledge your current feelings; however difficult and unpleasant, however scary and shocking. For a long time I used to skip this step. I just wanted to feel better and acknowledging that I wasn’t feeling good led me to feel like a fraud – people love my positive mindset after all! But without acknowledging where you are, how can you move forward? When you set off on any journey the first piece of information the sat-nav needs is your starting point. Your mindset is the same.
The way I acknowledge my feelings is out loud to myself – I name those emotions and I let them out. You may find talking to a trusted person or journaling works for you but the important part to remember here is you’re not looking for a solution – yet - you’re simply acknowledging.
If you find this very difficult, practice does make it easier and regular mindfulness – just 2 minutes a day – will really help you.
Sometimes simply sharing how you feel (even if that’s just with yourself) can make a huge difference to your mindset.
2. Regular gratitude practice – this is one that is an ongoing practice that really makes a difference when times are challenging. It’s not one to just pick up during the hard times. By regular, I mean daily. I do my gratitude practice every evening in my free Facebook community LEMONADE and I also have a blog that digs deeper into this topic – read it here.
3. Meditation – I love a guided meditation and particularly enjoyed sound baths during my pregnancy to allow deep relaxation. When we relax in trance our brains slow down. Often during times of challenge, we can feel very stressed and as if we don’t have enough head space for everything that’s happening. Slowing down our brains allows us the space to process. This slowed down state is actually when we come up with the best ideas so it’s such a great tool to help you come up with solutions – note: not all solutions will come to you consciously, especially when it comes to healing the body and managing pain.
4. Yoga – I love yoga and really enjoyed it during my first pregnancy. Strangely – as so often is the way – I stopped going between pregnancies, something I plan to change now as I found it so helpful during this, more challenging pregnancy too. Movement is part of our external communication system (along with words and tone of voice) and impacts and influences our internal communication system which includes our self-talk, the area that commonly suffers when we are experiencing challenges. Shout out to the wonderful Sam at Her Peaceful Place for the wonderful yoga and sound bath sessions.
5. Affirmations – I have affirmations that I use daily which I use specifically to support my growth, in business and for myself, but I also have affirmations that I store in my tool box ready to bring out when most helpful. During this experience I drew upon:
· I am doing it
· I am surviving
· The pain will pass
· I am strong
6. Breathing exercises – this links very much to mindfulness, something I recommend as a daily (at least) practice, but this is also a specific tool for when things feel overwhelming, those times when it feels all too much. There are lots of relaxing breathing exercises out there. I love box breath:
· Inhale for 4 counts
· Hold for 4 counts
· Exhale for 4 counts
· Hold for 4 counts
7. Know when to ask for help/ reach out – please do not suffer in silence. There is support out there if you are struggling. I reached out for help in a local Facebook group – Bumps, Babies and Beyond – after a post asking: ‘Are you pregnant? How are you feeling?’. I answered really honestly, and a lady contacted me to let me know about a local Mums in Mind group. I started going every week and it became such a wonderful resource for my mindset. Sharing my experience with people who get it really made a difference to me. There is lots of different levels of support out there.
8. Previous work – I genuinely believe that my mindset took a permanent positive shift following TimeLine Therapy. Releasing negative emotions doesn’t mean they never show up, but it does mean I process them quicker and more actively than I did before. Learn more about TimeLine Therapy here.
Whatever you decide to put into your mindset toolbox is perfect but please note this…the work doesn’t end here. Mindset mastery is a continuous journey of discovery, development and positive change. That’s why working with a coach or being part of a supportive community is so beneficial – The Bubble, my monthly membership has both! Check out more information here.
Being a female entrepreneur can be overwhelming at times.
Please know that that is normal and you’re not alone…regardless of what social media would have us think!
And how did my story end? Well as with so many challenges, it was worth every moment and is now – nearly – all forgotten. My beautiful daughter, Hero, was born safely and successfully on Monday 11th April ’22.