According to Wikipedia, mindfulness is described as, “the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which one can develop through the practice of meditation and through other training.” For years, I didn’t even know this was a thing! I went through life not really being present in the moment, but as I began to navigate motherhood, I realized it was essential for my sanity.
What I didn’t know was that it would affect many areas of my life (I am sharing my top 5 below) and for that, I am eternally grateful!
1. Mindfulness Balanced My Relationships
Everybody knows that all relationships go through some sort of turmoil at some point or another. Sometimes, the turmoil can completely destroy relationships or help them grow as a couple. Luckily for my partner and I, we have used the conflicts in our relationship as grounds to grow and learn together. To be honest, I felt like I deserved someone better because he wasn’t really the type of guy everyone (including myself) expected me to be with. Throughout the ten years we have been together, I have learned to worry less about everyone else’s expectations of me and focus more on what I truly wanted. There was a reason that this person was connected to me and vice versa even if I wasn’t sure of the reason.
Since I’ve started this mindfulness journey and begin using meditation to help clear my mind, I have learned even more about myself and the role I play in my relationship. Many days prior, I would come home exhausted from pre-k life, deal with my own children and just feel annoyed with my partner. I would feel like I had three children instead of two. I hated it and essentially thought about my options if I just walked away.
Now that the distractions taking over my mind have subsided, I can see that just like my children, he craved my attention as I scrolled through my social media feeds and unconsciously ignored his feelings. Also, like my children, he didn’t know how to communicate his needs so he “acted out” and tested EVERY nerve I had in my body! Now I am able to listen to what he doesn’t say and help balance our relationship.
I’ve learned that when I am calm and a little less uptight, we really enjoy each other’s company. I also realized that while I was saying I wanted to come home and spend time with him, the vibes that I was giving off to the universe were saying something different. I’ve since become more aligned with the desires of my heart and the universe is giving me more of what I want and that’s love, peace, and happiness.
2. Mindfulness Helped Me Implement Self-Care
Since I became a mother almost 9 years ago, I stopped taking care of myself. I focused the majority of my time on my children, even though I said I wouldn’t become that mother when I started having children. Guess what …I am that mother. I became her but not anymore. Now, I am taking ownership of myself again and making self-care a part of my daily routine.
By neglecting myself for so long, I developed anxiety surrounding all of the bajillion things I thought I had to do each day. I became irritable and emotional and unable to be the mother my kids were used to. I didn’t want to burden my children with my sadness because let’s be honest…our kiddos can feel what we’re feeling. Something had to change but I didn’t necessarily know how. Then I decided to incorporate meditation into my daily morning routine before the kids woke up. Talk about LIFE CHANGING!! I could feel the difference immediately. My mind was clear and I could finally relax. This also meant that I was prepared to handle anything that came my way and if I began to get off track, I could use some slow, deep breaths to help center me again.
Since I became a mother, I have been a bit of helicopter mom (sorry not sorry) and while I thought I would outgrow it as my children got older, I’m pretty sure it’s gotten worse! If I am not at work or some appointment, my kids have always been home with me and/or their father.
I would get off of work and fly to get them even if I had a couple of hours before I actually had to get them. I just felt like, there is no reason for them to be somewhere else if they can be with me. Consequently, I found myself always drained and while I love my children to the moon and back, just wished that I could just get a break. A break to only focus on myself, no one asking for snacks or something to drink, no tattling or crying…just peace and quiet. I learned that it is okay to have a break and that my children will still be okay.
In fact, we needed a break from each other and then reconnect to continue strengthening our bond and to feel safe and loved. Today, I take my breaks even when I have to talk myself through any feelings that come up. I have a moment or several to recharge as needed. As a result, I give myself, my children and my SO the woman they need me to be.
3. Mindfulness Improved My Memory
Did you know that anxiety and memory loss are positively correlated stemming from how our bodies respond to stress? Stress can deplete our bodies of its natural resources and cause a decline in cognitive abilities if it becomes excessive. I was stressed and it became harder and harder to manage, causing it to turn into recurring anxiety.
Since my brain was constantly bombarded with thoughts, I became more and more forgetful. Naturally, this only heightened my anxiety. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders as I navigated the to-do list in my brain. I became so overwhelmed that I completely shut down and accomplished very little. That wasn’t a good feeling either.
Mindfulness has allowed me the tools necessary to clear my mind and organize my thoughts. It brought more peace to my life. I started writing my to-do list on paper or in my phone. As I completed each task, I feel a great sense of accomplishment. When my mind is calm, I am able to break down my tasks. I avoid feeling like I have to be Wonder Woman and complete everything in a short amount of time.
4. Mindfulness Changed My Ability to Enjoy Life
For so long, I ignited my own anxiety and literally talked myself out of going places or doing new things. Doubt, fear, and worry have detoured me from living the life I’ve always imagined. You know the life where happiness just radiates off of you wherever you go?! I rationalized why I shouldn’t or couldn’t. Which was depressing when I realized that I wasn’t truly living. I had no desire to spend my life working to pay bills, stressing because there were more financial obligations than finances or denying myself and my children certain experiences because of all of life’s requirements.
When I was invited to events, I became overwhelmed. I imagined people attending would know I was not where I wanted to be in life and judge me. I would work myself up so bad that sometimes I would find an excuse to not go. Other times, I would attend but not be present. My mind still told me I was criticized behind my back even if I knew it wasn’t true. I wasn’t able to control my emotions and it showed.
Now, I live in the moment and don’t concern myself with my own limiting beliefs. If someone judges me and it has nothing to do with me, I mind my business! I’m happier because of it and life is so much more enjoyable.
5. Mindfulness Improved My Mental Health
Reflection has been so amazing in really discovering any beliefs or habits that no longer serve me. I’ve realized that I needed healing from people and experiences that I never knew was an “issue” for me. I’ve had to be honest with myself. While it’s been very uncomfortable, it’s part of the healing process.
In order to truly grow on this mindfulness journey, I had to accept who I am right now in this moment and be clear about who I hope to become. My boundaries are stronger than ever. If it doesn’t bring me joy in some way then it’s not for me. I can’t believe I didn’t start this journey sooner, but I am so grateful for where I am right now. Although I never received an anxiety diagnosis from my health care provider, I knew the signs and what I was experiencing.
At the time, I didn’t know how to help myself. Perhaps it was a little embarrassing to admit that I was so unhappy with my life that I developed anxiety as a result but something inside of me knew just what to do. I am so glad I listened and started actively meditating every day. I can truly see the limiting beliefs I was holding on to and the unfavorable behaviors that caused me to put out vibes that didn’t match my desires. People say, “when you know better, you do better” and it has proven to be nothing short of the truth. I am learning how to be a better person every day and it feels so good!
Here’s a reminder for whatever you are going through…You got this mama! Remember to Just Breathe. Click the link to see what color reminder fits you best!! Check out Juicebox Apparel for more blog posts like this and to shop our store!