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4 weeks ago · · 0 comments

Dealing with Anxiety In Motherhood

Dealing with Anxiety In Motherhood – How Well Do You Cope?

Dealing with Anxiety In MotherhoodAnxiety is common in motherhood

Being a mother and a therapist, I would have to say one of the most common emotions I observe in mothers is anxiety. Dealing with anxiety in motherhood is a very common struggle. Anxiety begins in pregnancy and often never leaves a mother, because with motherhood comes the worry, stress and concern for your child’s safety, wellbeing, security and happiness.

There are many stages of motherhood that lend themselves to anxiety. For instance, when a new baby arrives, you can begin to feel anxious about looking after this fragile new person who depends on you for survival. It is natural after birth to have anxieties, however, if these anxieties become debilitating, then there is a real risk to yourself, your child and your loved ones.

What is the difference between worry and anxiety?

General worry and stress disappear once you regain control and no longer feel fearful. A good example of this is feeling anxious the first time you have to present a speech at work, but after giving speeches several times, you now feel comfortable when asked to prepare a presentation. However, if this anxiety does not dissipate over time and you find yourself dealing with increasing anxiety, the anxiety then can become debilitating.

Beyond Blue defines anxiety as

… when these anxious feelings don’t go away – when they’re ongoing and happen without any particular reason or cause. It’s a serious condition that makes it hard to cope with daily life. Everyone feels anxious from time to time, but for someone experiencing anxiety, these feelings aren’t easily controlled.

The key elements in anxiety are:

  • the inability to control the anxiety
  • their ongoing nature
  • occurring at any time

Dealing with Anxiety In MotherhoodAnxiety can occur at any time and for any particular reason. Anxiety is also often linked with depression and low self esteem. In motherhood anxiety can often become debilitating because mothers often try to cope with anxious feelings alone. New mothers also often report being embarrassed or ashamed to admit they are not coping. This can lead to further anxiety – trying to become the perfect mother.

Here are just some of the common issues mothers report feeling anxious about:

  • a child becoming sick
  • children doing well enough in school
  • financial stress
  • relationship pressures
  • whether children are eating the right foods
  • lack of time
  • being about to manage the daily to-do lists
  • having a messy home
  • ageing parents
  • buying a bigger home
  • being able to afford a good school
  • keeping children safe
  • cyber bullying
  • meeting external expectations
  • what others might think of them

and the list goes on and on….

So you can see, how easy it is for mothers to become anxious, particularly if you as a mother are prone to anxiety, or you have experienced anxiety in the past.

Developing effective coping strategies for dealing with anxiety in motherhood is imperative to your health and the health of your loved ones

dealing with anxiety in motherhoodYou may have gone through life finding ways to just cope with anxiety symptoms, such as a racing heart, sweaty palms and rapid breathing. There are ways to control these physical symptoms of anxiety. Many people seek medical help for anxiety in the form of anti-anxiety medication. Whilst medication has it’s place, it is important to understand that medication only masks the underlying issues causing anxiety. Taken over prolonged periods of time, these drugs can also result in difficulty when trying to come off the drug – the anxiety reappears. As with any drug, there are also side-effects that you need to seriously consider. If you are looking for a product to take to support your anxiety, try a herbal remedy. For instance, Herbario in Melbourne Australia has a variety of herbal elixirs to support many mental and health conditions – including anxiety reduction drops.

So what are better solutions for dealing with anxiety in motherhood?

Dealing with mental stress

Often anxiety develops out of a fear of getting into trouble, being disapproved of or not liked. In such cases, the key is to challenge the negative thoughts.

Ask yourself:

a) are my thoughts rationale (e.g. it’s natural to be nervous before presenting, but I can relax because I know my topic really well)

b) how would I cope if my fears became a reality? (e.g. If I get asked a ‘hairy’ question, I can deflect and say that I’ll get back to the person with the right information. Further, if I forget what I’m saying, I have my notes to refer to. If people in the audience are bored, I can walk closer to them to re-engage them, or choose that moment to start an exercise to get them more involved)

This type of anxiety is trying to prevent you from getting hurt so it has it’s purpose. It helps you to decide whether a behaviour is worth the risk. However, often this fear extends way beyond what is healthy. So you need to question it.

Dealing with physical stress

Dealing with Anxiety In MotherhoodWhen your body becomes anxious (often due to mental stress), your body reacts in a physical manner. It sends signals to the brain that it’s time to get out of this situation to protect yourself from harm. Your body begins to react in order to push you to do something. If you just try to push through the anxiety, you can often become more stressed the moment you notice these physical signs taking shape.

During bouts of short term stress, there are quick and easy things you can do to reduce these physical reactions, such as a increased heartrate, sweaty palms and shortness of breath. The key is to find the method that works quickest for you.

Try some of these methods to see how quickly you can reduce your physical signs of stress:

  • Take a moment to stop and breathe in and out slowly to reduce your heartrate
  • Engage in physical activity to shake out the stress
  • Close your eyes and visualise yourself performing or coping well with your stressful situation
  • Talk to the person who is causing you stress, to clear the air

Anxiety is a natural physical and mental reaction. So it’s important to not berate yourself for being stressed. Your aim is to allow your anxiety to be there as a sign to help you and then manage your emotions accordingly. Instead of getting stressed about feeling anxious, ask yourself why you are having this reaction and get to the bottom of it. Try not to mask your feelings and you will have a much happier, healthy and fulfilling life.

 

Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

Author of Perfect Mums: How To Survive The Emotional Rollercoaster of Motherhood & Refresh Your Life: 30 Day Motivational Weightloss Program

9 months ago · · 0 comments

Improving self esteem unlocks the key to happiness

Why Improving self esteem is vital to your health and happiness

career mother returning to work and improving self esteemWhen you do not feel happy about yourself at your very core, life is so much harder. Low self esteem has a profound impact on all aspects of your life. Feelings of insecurity, self doubt and lack of self confidence are all intrinsically linked to low self esteem. Yet, improving self esteem is often at the bottom of people’s to-do list. People spend copious amounts of money on external things in a hope this will boost their happiness levels; like going on shopping sprees, going on expensive holidays, having regular day spa treatments, cosmetic surgery and going into millions of dollars in debt to purchase a bigger home. Whilst these things are lovely and will give you an instant buzz, they do not lead to long term happiness or self-confidence.

If your self esteem is low, the good feeling you achieved from these external purchases will only last temporarily. If you are regularly making these purchases (& they are not causing you further financial stress), the feeling you gain from these experiences will be long lasting and treasured. For instance, when you save for a holiday and really enjoy the experience, that positive feeling stays with you for life. On the flip side, if you took that holiday as an escape from your current life, you would return to the same problems and your ‘holiday buzz’ would soon dissipate.

In order for these feel-good moments to last, you must first work on improving self esteem, so that these experiences enhance your life, rather than you relying on external events, people and circumstances to boost your self worth.

Improving Self esteem In Relationships

We often measure ourselves by how people are treating us. We often feel happy when our family, work colleagues partner or friends are nice to us and can feel devastated when we are treated poorly. To have a healthy and strong self esteem it’s necessary to have strong resilience. This means that when things happen you are entitled to have a reaction to them (e.g. to feel upset). However, it’s important to deal with the issue at hand and not take the next step and assume you are a bad person as a result of someone else’s behaviour or their beliefs.

When you can accept criticism as separate to you, your self esteem is kept intact. You can also deal much more productively with issues that arise in relationships over time. Instead of crumbling every time someone points out a criticism, you can look at the criticism objectively, separate if from how much you value YOU as a person and deal with the criticism is isolation.

The next time someone upsets you, put it in perspective. Separate yourself from the other person and deal with what just happened – as soon as possible – so you don’t internalise it and assume you must have done something to create their behaviour.

Improving Self esteem Through Exercise

There is a strong connection between being active and feeling good. Just try to go to the gym and do a workout and NOT feel good afterwards. Unless you overtrain or give yourself an injury it’s pretty hard not to feel great from exercise. One of the reasons you may not be exercising is that you don’t remember that good feeling, or you feel too tired now to get up and take part in the exercise.

However, how would you feel if you knew that being physically fit and healthy actually leads to improvements in all areas of your life. This is especially true for your energy levels? Think about how much more confident you feel when you’re healthy. What about the fact that you are less snappy at other people because you’re in a better mood? What about the fact that you have a lot more tolerance, can think clearer and have more energy to do all the things you’ve been putting off?

improving self esteemSo, the first step is pushing yourself to just get started. In the Refresh Your Life program we just start with 10 minutes of walking – that’s it. WHY? Because 10 minutes is achievable for most people. Also, once you see how easy it was to do 10 minutes, you can slowly increase the time exercising to gain even more mental and physical health benefits.

Making a start is all you need to start boosting your energy and positively impact your self esteem too.

 

 

Improving Self esteem and Rebuilding The Past

It can be very difficult to let go of past pain when you’ve suffered rejection. This is a big one for many people, particularly when it is associated with a bad break up or rejection from within ones own family.

It’s never easy to deal with this rejection. Sometime we just have to learn to accept that everyone lives in their own world of experience. Being rejected does NOT mean there is something wrong with you. In fact, it says volumes about the person rejecting you. In children rejection often comes from feeling hurt or rejected in the first place. Children lash out with rejection to avoid being hurt again. Being rejected also does not mean you’re not worthy of that person’s love. It simply means that the other person does not have the capacity to be strong enough to maintain the close relationship or at least verbally explain why he/she is no longer able to be close to you.

Learning how to deal with rejection is a key aspect of re-building self esteem.

Reducing Feelings of insecurity is vital for improving self esteem

Insecurity is often associated with low self esteem. When you feel unsure about yourself you can spend a lot of time double guessing your thoughts , behaviours and feelings. It’s common in this mindset to irrationally question things like whether:
  • you said the right thing to someone, because they haven’t called you back today
  • indirectly you upset someone, because they look tired/bored
  • or not somelike likes/diskiles you, because they forgot to thank you

Many of your self doubts can be based on interpretations of behaviour, rather than on actual facts. For instance, many women spend a long time asking their partners “are you OK?”. This often happens because their partner doesn’t feel like talking, isn’t smiling at that moment in time, or is just too tired to pay as much attention as usual.

It’s really easy to assume someone is upset with you when you read into facial and body expressions. This is particularly evident when you’re feeling insecure about yourself. The easiest way to get around this is to ASK questions. Seek reassurance in a kind tone – without it seeming like an interrogation. For example, there is a difference between saying:

  • “You seem a bit quiet tonight, are you tired” and
  • “What’s wrong with you, am I boring you?”

Ask questions to open communication and keep those insecure emotions in check and take the time to rebuild your self esteem to reduce feelings of insecurity too.

Improving your self esteem is vital to your health and happiness. Make yourself a priority and do this first. Then everything else in life will be SO much easier. Start by downloading our free ebook on the ‘5 Everyday Ways to Add Serious Self-confidence to Your Life

Lizzie O’Halloran, Founder of Help For Mums

12 months ago · · 0 comments

How To Build Self Esteem Through Your Relationships

How To Build Self Esteem Through Your Relationships

There is a lot written about how low self-esteem can impact on your relationships (e.g. through insecurity, jealousy and mistrust). However, what is often forgotten is the impact that having poor or high quality friends can have on your level of self-esteem.

Studies looking at adolescence (a very important time for friendship development and subsequent identity development) show clear impacts of the quality of friends on girl’s self-esteem (particularly the friendships they have with boys). A study looking at the relationship between friendship quality and self-esteem in adolescent boys and girls found:

“… that girls’ self-esteem was significantly lower than boys’ self-esteem and that girls rated their relationships as stronger, more interpersonally rewarding, and more stressful than boys did….As expected, girls’ self-esteem was positively correlated with the friendship quality of their cross-gender best friend.”1

mums making friendsResearch shows us that when we are happy within our friendships, the way we feel about ourselves (our self worth) is much higher and we are much less likely to suffer from low self-esteem

But why does having good relationships impact on our self worth so significantly?

Our self-esteem and self-worth are a combination of our internal messages (what we say to ourselves) and our internal beliefs, as well as the messages we absorb about ourselves from the outside world. The messages we tend to take on board and believe the most, often come from those we love, admire and respect the most.

Our relationships with friends, family members and partners have the greatest impact on us and can be our greatest asset, or our greatest enemy to  self-esteem.  In intimate relationships, it’s also very easy to take each other for granted, particularly if you have been together for a long time. If your relationship is not regularly tended to, complacency can quickly set in, leading to regularly snapping at each other and talking in a negative manner towards the person who arguably should be treated like a true best friend.

People often assume others should just know how they feel about them and so don’t take the time to tell others how they feel, or what they mean to them. In addition, tiredness, irritability and exhaustion, which we all experience from time to time, can lead to a less than kind communication style within partnerships and families and things can then be taken the wrong way (e.g. a partner’s snappiness, or tiredness could be misconstrued as not caring, simply due to lack of clear, calm and respectful communication). Further, during arguments people often say things they don’t really mean, but these negative comments stay with those receiving them. Last, but not least, in friendships, those that are not assertive can be taken advantage of and neglected, simply because they will be the least likely to complain later on.

As a parent it is important to be aware of our child’s self esteem and the impact that friends can have on a child’s self worth, particularly when they begin to become interested in dating. Throughout life, intimate partners play a significant role on our self esteem and self confidence. This is why, the best thing you can do in a relationship is to make sure you are close friends (best friends is preferable) and that you never compromise on trust and respect in the partnership. By following these 3 guidelines you will maintain a healthy relationship and both people in the relationship will also maintain a healthy self esteem too.

The take home message

  • Be mindful of your communication style with significant people in your life.
  • Don’t be afraid to be assertive and speak up when you feel you are not being treated kingly or with respect.
  • Look after your health because this plays a significant role in how you feel and then how you communicate as a result of your internal emotions.

Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

Personal Development Coach & Author

Reference

1 Thomas, J.J. & Daubman, K.A. Sex Roles (2001) 45: 53. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1013060317766

2 years ago · · 0 comments

Why It’s So Important to Increase Self-Esteem

self confidence at workThe underlying cause of a lot of unhappiness is low self-esteem (a lack of confidence in your own worth or abilities). Self-esteem is the product of your life history, genes and circumstance. Low self-esteem is usually coupled with insecurity and self-doubt. These negative aspects of the ‘self’ have a nasty habit of causing self sabotage and reducing confidence.

It’s heartbreaking to witness how low self-esteem debilitates ones life through fear and doubt. The cruelest part of low self-esteem is that no matter how strong your belief is about how much you believe you deserve something, low self-esteem will find a way to ruin any chances of success unless you manage or heal it.

Let’s look at the example in relationships. It’s a strong desire for most people to attract and maintain a loving, supportive and fun intimate partner. When the relationship is yet to manifest, the desire intensifies until the universe nicely conspires to place you at the right place at the right time to form this potential partnership. If your self-esteem is moderate to high you will be yourself, show your best qualities and allow the relationship to grow organically. However, if your self-esteem is low you will panic at the slightest perception your potential partner has lost interest, behave in ways inconsistent with your true values and sacrifice much more of yourself than is appropriate in order to sustain a relationship that deep down you don’t believe you truly deserve.

Read the Full article here to learn Why It’s So Important to Increase Self-Esteem

Self esteem tip: How to know it’s time for a break

2 years ago · · 0 comments

Self esteem tip: How to know it’s time for a break

Low self esteem can result from being overworked and feeling burnt out

I am a very driven person. It’s something I learnt from my mother who has an amazing ability to decide she wants something and then go for it. My internal drive pushes me through when I feel like I have nothing left to give. However, the down side is it can be difficult to know when to stop, when to take a break, or when to shift focus.

Over the years I have learnt various ways to identify there is a need to stop and also now ensure I schedule a week off once a year to rest and recuperate.

increase positive thinkingWhy it’s important to take a break for your self confidence and self esteem

One of the things that happens as a result of burn out is poor decision making. The consequence of pore decision making is usually negative feedback. When you think of building your self esteem and self confidence, a great deal is based on your perceptions on yourself and these are based on internal and external validation.

When you feeling burnt out you begin to increase self criticism, have a tendency to judge yourself too harshly and can assume you are being judged negatively by others also. As a result your internal validation is very low and you perceive your external validation to be low also. Both of these things are a recipe for poor Self esteem.

So how do you know it’s time to take a break?

One of the most obvious signs is when you feel like you are pushing against the flow rather than travelling along the flow. In other words things feel like a real struggle. This often happens when you’re feeling burnt out in business. Your ideas don’t flow as easily, you feel like you’re pushing people to buy your products and you’re no longer truly enjoying the process.

When you feel you are working too hard and not enjoying the flow or seeing any real progress, it’s time to take a break. It’s not time to quit. This is not the time to give up, but rather to give yourself headspace to come up with more innovative ideas to grown and succeed in your endeavours.

So protect and manage your self esteem and self confidence regularly and take a break whenever you start to feel the signs of potential burn out.

For assistance to improve your self esteem and gain self confidence visit www.helpformums.com