It can be pretty easy for us parents to slip into a pretty stuck mindset. The lack of sleep, constant nagging from the kids, financial stresses...the list of our worries can be quite extensive. However, we can combat this by developing an understanding of the two pillars of positive mindset: gratitude and self-determination. Here is the first part of Staying Positive as a Parent.
The balance between gratitude and self-determination is so important. If you lean too much towards gratitude you are unlikely to achieve growth, and growth is one of the greatest joys in life. However, if you have too much self-determination and not enough gratitude then you will quite simply never be happy! It won't matter how many goals you hit, how much you achieve, it'll never be enough.
Gratitude is all about being thankful for what you already have. Most people are fixated on their problems, and this leads to some pretty negative emotions. I mean, why would you feel happy when you're constantly thinking about what you don't like about your life?! It seems like common sense once we start delving into it, but most people miss this vital principle.
Before we go any further I want to make it clear that I'm not saying you should avoid your problems, quite the opposite in fact. If you are unhealthy then don't ignore it, deal with it! If you are in debt, again don't ignore it but deal with it! Ignoring your issues is no more positive than obsessing over them. Head in the sand is not a viable course of action long-term!
What we need is some kind of balance, and as most people don't give enough thought to what they love about their life then this is a great place to start when looking at staying positive as a parent.
Read more: Staying Healthy as a Parent
Whether it might seem that way or not, we all have things to be grateful for. Whether we are a billionaire living on a yacht in the Caribbean (and believe me they will have problems too), or a regular person hit by misfortune with everything seemingly going wrong, you can be grateful.
I have worked on my own gratitude for the past four or five years, and it's still got room for improvement. It's not a quick and easy change to make, but it is a simple one. If you can train yourself to look for what is good all around you then you will find life much more enjoyable. Not only that, but you will see more opportunities to drive yourself forward towards your goals.
I've conditioned myself to a point now where even in times of hardship my mind automatically switches to gratitude-mode. I get an unexpected bill for hundreds of pounds which I don't have, and where previously I would have panicked I stay calm and find a solution. A relative gets a shocking diagnosis from the doctor, and instead of disappearing into depression I see the diagnosis as a positive step towards fixing the problem.
I'm not sharing my personal journey to impress you, you are probably more concerned with your own journey. I'm sharing it to show that this stuff works. It takes time and consistency, but I am so much happier and more content now this thought pattern is installed.
Read more: Not Your Typical FitPro
Ok, how do we start making this change?
Well the good news is it's one of the most simple and sustainable habits I've ever worked on! All you need is a journal (or notepad/paper... handwriting works much better than doing it electronically), and five minutes in the morning. You don't have five minutes? Your mornings are a blur of getting the kids ready for school and yourself ready for work? You need to set your alarm five minutes earlier and make this a priority. If you don't then things will remain exactly as they are, and I know you're reading this because you want to change something. Five minutes is nothing, quit whining.
So when you wake up, grab your journal (I use Daily Greatness, click here for a 5% off code) and write down three things you are grateful for.
Yup, that's it.
Try and think of some different things each day, but often you might find yourself coming back to the same kind of things. That's fine, as long as you're not writing them down without thinking. You have five minutes, so spend a few of these thinking hard about what you are thankful for, and really feeling that gratitude.
If you keep this up as a consistent habit you essentially rewire your brain to be grateful. You ever notice how you get a new car and then suddenly you see the same model everywhere? We are set up to notice more of what we focus on! If you practice conscious daily gratitude you will find yourself seeing more to be grateful for. I honestly can't stress enough how much this simple activity affects staying positive as a parent!
Daily Greatness Journals: 5% Off!
As a parent you are in the unique position now to change the way your children grow up. Imagine if you had been taught this practice of conscious gratitude as a child! How much more able would you have been to cope with the challenges of growing up? Imagine how much happier and more content you would have been.
Invite your offspring to join you in your gratitude routine each morning. Kids are actually really good at this activity, you might find it useful! Ask them what they have in their life which makes them happy. Have a little chat about what they are glad about. Imagine how much this small change could benefit them throughout their life! Kids learn stuff much faster than we do. Plus the habits we learn as children often stick with us the longest!
The second part of 'Staying Positive as a Parent' will be available to read next weekend. Make sure you come back to get the rest of the picture! And don't forget to share it around with all your parent friends.
If you are interested in taking the next step and staying positive as a parent, my FREE 7-day Family Fit Challenge features daily gratitude. Check out the details here and request to join the Challenge Crew here.