Welcome to your final week of the Postpartum Depression Recovery Program.
This week I just want to leave your mind with some very clear messages about how to look at your life from the perspective of reality thinking and not only overcome your postnatal depression, but continue on with your life thinking this way and understanding the true essence of what life is all about.
The whole Mind TRACK to Happiness process is about taking a journey, not trying to get your life right. It’s about teaching you how to consciously move yourself up the ladder when you have found yourself once again, sitting at the bottom feeling the emotions of stress, depression and anxiety.
Life is not about travelling along this one straight line of expected experiences (the peaks) without ever encountering any valleys.
And seriously, why would you want it to be like that?
If you walked into a movie theatre and watched a movie where a child was born to two perfectly happy parents, who never struggled with money, had the perfect house, perfect friends, were never angry at the child, or to each other, raised the perfect child with perfect grades who had perfect friends, never got into any trouble, went to the top university in the country, graduated with the top grades in the school, went on to become the top person in his/her field of work, got married, had children of their own (that were also perfect) and nothing every went wrong in this movie whatsoever, how much would you enjoy this movie?
I’m guessing you would walk out of that theatre saying to yourself, “What a boring movie. Nothing actually happened in that story. What was the point?”
Well isn’t this movie idea often what we expect to happen in our own lives? Do you think we would be content to have our own lives play out this way? I’m guessing, no.
Do you think, if everything went perfectly in your life you might be left thinking, “What’s the point?”
The reality is that you will never get your life right and you will never get life to always go to plan.
But you will always have an experience and these experiences set our life in motion. All of those ups and downs you have define who we are, push us to have other experiences, force us to learn and grow and then interact with others, influencing the way their lives unfold.
The bad times teach us new things that push us outside our comfort zones and make us feel invigorated, empowered or even just grateful after we have overcome them. They bring life to our existence just as much, if not more so than the experiences where life does go to plan.
You need to start embracing these challenging times. You don’t have to love them, you don’t have to feel the emotion of happiness in regards to them, but you do need to understand at some level this unwanted experience is going to add tremendous value to your life.
There is a huge distinction between a happy life and feeling the emotion of happiness. I believe that happiness is a healthy understanding of everything that happens in your life.
Happiness is not something that you will have every moment of your life because happiness is an emotion based on how we are rating a present situation.
There will undoubtedly be many times when situations will not make you happy and this is not a reflection on the quality of your whole existence. It is just one moment in your unique journey of life.
It is just one emotion among many that will occur in your life. You will experience love, elation, joy, happiness, laughter, tears, guilt, stress, sadness, regret etc.
Happiness is when you can put these emotions into the correct perspective. The joyous emotions are the fun times in my life, the unenjoyable emotions are my times to dig in, learn what I need to and find solutions that align with my bigger picture aims for my life.
When you find yourself feeling down about an unwanted event or series of events that have occurred in your life, you may want to sit in these feelings for a while. That’s okay, we all do that every now and again.
However, don’t stay there! This is where your emotions turn into psychological stress, depression and anxiety. It is when you allow your thinking to expand in the direction of conflict with reality and when you draw key conclusions about your life because of this situation (stress – my LIFE is not going to plan because of this situation; depression – why bother. I am a failure; & anxiety – I must control and prevent).
Once you find that your emotions are beginning to consume your life or take up a large part of it, it is time to realign your thinking back to the Reality thinking model, start setting goals again without attaching your self-worth to them and begin finding the solutions that will move you towards what you want.
This is the essence of the Mind TRACK to Happiness process. It’s not about getting life to go right all of the time.
Life will only ever go right all of the time when you have complete control over every single little anomaly along your path towards what you want and this is an absolute impossibility.
You cannot control how life unfolds so all you are left with is what you want, working on how to get there and then learning how to deal with, overcome and go around whatever comes up in your way.
This TRACK process not only applies to the challenges that occur in motherhood, but also the ones that appear in life.
In the early stages of you becoming a mother there is a huge adjustment period where you have to sometimes let go of the way you have defined yourself and embrace a new you, set some specific goals around what sort of ‘new you’ you would like to be and work towards that.
So much of who you are changes when you have a child and if you are stuck attached to the way it used to be then you will inevitably end up lost in stress and depression. In Chapter Eleven of The Happy Mum Handbook download you have access to as part of this program, there is a chapter on Loss of Identity. If you are feeling lost and resentful of the life you left behind and are struggling to redefine this new you, then I encourage you to thoroughly investigate this chapter.
Because you now have a thorough knowledge of the Mind TRACK to Happiness process, it is not necessary for you to read the entire book preceding this chapter, as this chapter will use the TRACK process within it and stands alone from other chapters (as does all of the chapters in part B of this book).
The essence of the Mind TRACK to Happiness process essentially reminds you of your true worth. This understanding will form the key to releasing you from your stress, depression and anxiety and whatever you can do to help yourself to remember your 100% worth, I urge you to bring it into your life, not just for you, but for your children to have a role model to copy for their own lives.
The more you learn to detach your self-worth to outcome, the more you will enjoy your life and teach others to do the same.
This week’s lessons will highlight for you some very important areas to keep applying these essential principles to, so you can walk away from this week and this program armed with the knowledge that you need to live the life that you want.
Every now and again you will come across an older generation person who will want to add their two cents worth about how there was no postnatal depression when they were a mother and how they just had to get on with it and not keep complaining about all this emotional stuff we now go on about in today’s society.
While that may be true for those times (and I suspect there were probably more mothers than there are now silently suffereing), these comments are irrelevant.
You see I believe that we are stuck in a generational gap that is confusing us mums. Instinctively as humans we thrive on community acceptance and approval, wanting to fit in and with all the current media exposure, we develop the need to get life right in order to feel worthy.
Place these instinctive needs into the area of motherhood and you might wonder. How exactly do you get motherhood right?
The problem is that on one hand you have the way we saw our parents interact with each other. Most probably we saw our mums still doing most of the housework and tending to their kids. They probably didn’t work, or at least didn’t while you were really young and the male of the house was the sole breadwinner and treated with a hierarchy to be obeyed and respected, even to the detriment of your mother’s needs.
Now this is not always the case. I’m just generalising for the purposes of this lesson. If this wasn’t the case for your mother and she happened to ‘break the mould’, I would suspect that it definitely was the experience of her mother (your grandmother) to obey and dote on her husband and do all the child raising.
It has not been that long since this family dynamic was considered the norm.
However, in this day and age, we have now been conditioned to believe that women are a lot more powerful (and useful) than we orginally were. Society is realising that women are the queens of multi-tasking, organisation, compassion and business ability, so now we are being taught that we should be able to pursue whatever it is that we want to, while still raising our children and tending to the household needs.
In between these two generational extremes, you may find a mum who is trying to ‘have it all’ and feeling very stressed in the process. All with the same underlying theme of acceptance, approval and fitting in.
In the old days, there was more likely to be external support surrounding mums too. Other mums who were not working could get together and have coffee while the kids played. The mums who didn’t work could help them to raise their children. Often families lived in a close proximity to one another, rather than continents away from each other, so there was most often support there.
Not only was a mother’s life simple in the old days (raise your children and take care of your home and husband), but there was a lot more support.
Now fast forward to the average mother in today’s society and you find families living away from any family support, full-time working mums with kids in daycare, dads working hard too, the cost of living has gone up exponentially and the pressure to be, do and have in life in order to be deemed ‘successful’ is at its all time high.
What’s worse is in the mix of all of this achieving and juggling come the emotions. Guilt over not being there for the kids all the time (like we’re supposed to from the old days’ conditioning), resentment over all the household duties to keep up with (also a conditioned belief from the old days that it’s the mother’s job) and sheer exhaustion from lack of rest, relaxation and good old fashion fun, No wonder mothers are stressed.
Stress is growing in the area of motherhood because there is too much pressure (largely coming from ourselves) to do too much and we need to slow down and pull things back into perspective.
If this is you trying to juggle everything, or even feeling stressed because you aren’t one of those mothers ‘doing it all’, then it’s time to implement the Mind TRACK to Happiness process.
Take notice of what you are thinking about your current situation first (step one – thoughts). If you are the mother who is trying to juggle it all, try to become aware of your thoughts about why you are working so hard. What are you trying to achieve? Are you trying to live up to the expectations of others, or the way you believe you ‘should’ be? Are you trying to gain notoriety, respect or status (all with the real pay off of feeling worth-more)?
If you are a mum who is feeling like she is missing out on all that career stuff and is feeling stressed because of that, have you pinned your self-worth to this idea of the ‘super mum’ from today’s conditioning and feeling like the old school mum of the old generation now makes you worth-less?
The reality is (step-two) that nothing makes you more valuable than just being you living your day to day, so stop and think about what it is you really want (step three – aim).
Take some time to enjoy your life instead of trying to live up to the shoulds and coulds of the conditioning of the general popular (whether current or old thinking). Consciously think about what it is you want out of life. How would you like to create your life?
Think about how much time you would like to spend in each area of your life (motherhood, work, fun, relationship) and then go about resourcing how to get that life (step four – choices), and create your plan for getting there (step five – know your plan & action it).
It is so common for us to get stuck in the normality of life, thinking that this is ‘just the way life is’, when there are millions of people out there who are living the lives they want with the balance they are looking for, not the balance that they think they ‘should’ have in their life.
Life is about choices. Choices are goverend by the priorities you have in every moment. Priorities are governed by your beliefs. When you assess what it is you want and why you want it, then create a plan to achieve it, life becomes a lot simpler.
It becomes even simpler too when you take out the self-worth component.
Your life is like artwork. You can buy it ready made, visions and thinking from someone else’s mind, or you can go out and find the blank canvas, look for the best paints to use (resourcing the options to get what you want), learn how to paint and then paint the picture you see in your head for yourself. Either way the choice is always yours.
You can follow the path of another because that’s what you think you should do, or you can consciously plan the life that you want and then work on how you are going to achieve it, along the way, learning some valuable lessons about life and always implementing the 100% self-worth rule of detachment.
One final thing to say about creating the life that you want to have: You don’t have to do it alone.
In amongst all this need to succeed and be seen as the supermum who does it all and has it all, there is an unspoken and ridiculous rule that you have to do everything yourself.
Don’t be afraid of asking for help. Do you know of any highly successful person that has said that they owed their success only to themselves? No way! For every accolade presented to any music artist, actor or any other high profile person in the word, one of the first words that come out of their mouth when giving their acceptance speech are…”I’d like to thank……”
Achievement doesn’t happen because of one person. It happens because many people work together to help each other out. This is how the world works. This is what makes all of us worthy. Ask for help and also give it in return, for this is what you are doing anyway in life, so you might as well be deliberate about it.
The dynamics that have been set up between you and your husband can make a massive difference to how you feel about your parenting experience.
It is common for mums to feel like they are not understood, are devalued, not supported and belittled, especially if you are a full-time stay at home mum not earning any income.
Working out what you are thinking about your relationship and becoming aware of how you are perceiving things between you and your partner is the first step to changing it.
Way too often we can get stuck in believing that it is all our partner’s fault and if only he would change then things would get better. However, us ladies have a habit of thinking a lot deeper than men ever do and this can often be our own undoing.
Use the Mind TRACK to Happiness process to start changing your perception on the relationship with your partner and start becoming solution focussed about what is going on in the relationship.
The catch cries of many mothers out there are:
The list could go on and on.
My response to all of these comments is: You teach people how to treat you. In my book The Happy Mum Handbook (which you have a copy of as part of this program) I show you an example of how this is set up.
A mum, tied up in the excitement of a new baby, can often teach their partner that their help is not needed because they can either do it quicker, know their baby well (because they spend most of the time with the child) or are happy for their partner to go off and do other things because they are happy to visit friends and show off their new baby.
After a while, things settle down and the normalcy (and sometimes monotony and pressure) of life continues and because of this current dynamic (you’ve got it covered) your partner thinks he is doing what you wanted. Meanwhile your resentment is rising until an outburst is imminent and when you do, he has no idea of what just happened. This is because you helped to set up this dynamic in the first place.
It’s important to understand that whatever is happening in your relationship right now, you have contributed to it as well. Somehow you have taught your partner that this is okay, it’s acceptable that he behaves this way and now your mission needs to be (if you’re not happy) to change this dynamic.
Start looking at what you are thinking and doing and be really honest with yourself about how you are contributing to the current problems you are having and how you may be able to change your approach and make things better. This will require a lot of honesty from your part.
Sit down and write yourself a half page on what you think is ‘wrong’ in your relationship, what you think you are ‘missing out’ on and what you think should be happening or your partner should be doing.
After doing this, you now want to start using the reality thinking model to upgrade this thinking.
Also, try thinking about what you are grateful to your partner for? It’s so easy to fall into the trap of what is wrong with your partner, and what’s not happening, but what IS happening that you are liking? How is your relationship matching your expectations, rather than diappointing them all the time. There are always two sides to a story – the pros and the cons. There will be some pros, you just need to start looking for them and sending your attention in that direction, rather than thinking it is hopeless all of the time.
What defines self-worth again? That’s right. Learning and how you contribute to the unfolding of life. Everything that happens in life is made up of different variables that enable it to function. A family unit comprises of several people working together, playing different roles and helping each other out.
This is how a successful family works. No one person in that family dynamic is more important than another. When you are talking about being a stay-at-home mum, then most probably your responsibilities are about raising your child, keeping the house functioning, cooking meals and any other extras that need to happen or be organised for the family to function. Perhaps your partner’s role is to provide the money to pay for the household to function. Both parties are equally important to the successful running of this family and if you believe that he is more important than you, you will teach him to treat you this way.
However when you believe differently, your actions, reactions, conversations with him etc will change too and he will learn to treat you with the respect that you believe you deserve.
Your beliefs and perceptions about your self-worth and what treatment you believe you deserve will come largely from what you were taught as a child. How could you possibly know any different? This was the information that you observed and experienced and this is the information that formed neural pathways in the brain.
If you had parents who constantly bickered, got violent or where one or the other was being controlled and bossed around, then you will likely copy that and repeat this cycle in your own relationship. Even sometimes it can happen inadvertently when you have been determined that it wouldn’t.
This happened to a friend of mind that was determined not to marry a man that was controlling and who hit out at her child, however, ever so subtly this has started to become the norm. It happened over a 15 year period, not over night. It is highly likely that you will create the same patterns of a relationship that were displayed to you as a child, and once you become aware of it, identify your own thinking and become aware of your contribution to how this current dynamic was set up, then you can begin working on changing it.
But you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge so you have to begin being really honest with yourself about your part and your beliefs and then upgrade your thinking before continuing on the Mind TRACK to Happiness steps aim – choices & Know your Plan and action it.
In step three – Aim – you begin to look at what you want. Stop focussing on what you don’t want and what you aren’t getting and start focussing on the ideal of the situation. Make sure you are really specific in this step as the more specific you are, the clearer you are on what you are trying to achieve and the more likely you are of achieving it.
What exactly are you looking for? If the fairygodmother came and waved her magic wand and granted you your ideal relationship, what would it look like?
When you have established exactly what you want, it’s now time to start researching how to get it. There is a lot of preparation that needs to happen before negotiating change in a relationship and also rebuilding a crumbling relationship. It doesn’t just happen by itself.
Again, I refer back to a business analogy. When there is an agreement between two parties there is often a set of rules that each party needs to follow, there is an agreement between them about conduct, aims, plans on how to achieve their aims and outside of this agreement there are regular meetings that discuss how these plans are going and to iron out any problems along the way.
Also, before this agreement is signed and accepted, often there is a mediation process whereby both parties negotiate the terms of the agreement.
This is exactly what needs to happen in your relationship. It’s all about give and take, setting up firm rules and boundaries with each other on what you expect and what you will contibute that makes BOTH parties happy. However, of course, in relationships it’s a little bit less formal.
That said though the fundamental principles are the same for business and relationships with anyone. Not just with your partner, but with friends, relatives and work colleagues – even social ettiquette lends itself to agreed terms of acceptable behaviour.
Negotiation, compromise, agreements, alignment and boundaries are the foundation of a solid long-term relationship and if you don’t know how to create these things in your relationship, then this is what I would be focussing on learning before you begin trying to save your relationship.
Begin change with the skills you need to work with your partner at getting what you both want. Find out what he wants and what his ideal relationship looks like so you can decipher how you are going to compromise to give him that and get what you want in return.
Have an aligned goal that you are working on together that excites you and keeps you both interested in each other. It’s good to have your own individual goals that you are working on, but it’s equally important that you have a joint goal that you are both working on too.
The final step on the Mind TRACK to happiness process when it comes to relationships, now that you have thoroughly resourced lots of information on creating a successful relationship, is to put together an action plan of how you are going to first initiate conversations with your partner on making changes, but then work with your partner to create a plan of agreement on how you are both going to work together to make these changes.
Chapter Thirteen of The Happy Mum Handbook gives you a complete 40-page explanation of exactly how to use each step of the TRACK process in the area of your relationships, so that you can learn how to negotiate, communicate and actively change your relationship to be what you want it to be. So if this is one of your issues, I urge you to check it out.
One final note on relationships that I’d like you to remember: Your partner is not your enemy. At some point in your relationship you came together because there were qualities about that person that you liked, and vice versa.
Yes things change over the years, people change and goals change, but your relationship needs to grow and adapt to these changes too. You have two people who are each after the same things; happiness, love, acceptance, appreciation and peace.
As I say in my book:
Relationships are a team effort. You can’t handle these
issues in a selfish way, nor allow your partner to. You are two individuals who are integrating your lives into a partnership that will allow you to be the individuals, the couple and the parents that you both desire to be.
You can create your relationship to be what you want it to be. You just need to learn how and change how you’ve been taught to have a relationship from your own upbringing.
Fear comes from the belief that you are not going to have the life you expect to have. You don’t want something to happen that could jeopardise your quality of life.
Stricken with fear you either spring into anxiety mode, attempting to control your life and prevent any threats to your quality of life or your life going to plan, or you do nothing for fear of it happening anyway.
In motherhood, this can happen when:
Or more generally it can appear in your life when:
My goodness I could spend pages and pages writing about the fears that can hold you back from enjoying your life.
Underneath all of these fears are incorrect beliefs that life can unfold incorrectly and if it does then your life will be less worthy and not as valuable.
Continue using the Mind TRACK to Happiness process whenever you are hesitating about doing something that you initially thought would be enjoyable.
Investigate what this fear really is. How do you think it is going to effect your life? What is your worst case scenario? What could possibly happen to you if you just go for what it is you want?
Feel the fear and do it anyway!
Continue challenging that thinking that tells you that you can’t, that you shouldn’t, that it’s not possible. Analyse this thinking, seek out where it came from. Who taught you that it wasn’t possible, or that you couldn’t do something?
Also, lay out all of the possible scenarios that you are fearing and put them to the test of the reality thinking model. What other perspective may there be to the scenario that you are really fearing? Before succumbing to fear, challenge your thinking first. How else could I view the situation here?
When you do this what you almost always find, is that there is nothing really to fear about a situation. You find that you will get over the unwanted situation, you will move on and sometimes it will lead you to an experience that becomes the most enjoyable time of your life.
Don’t be so quick to expect that everything new, different or challenging is there to ruin your life. Sometimes things are blessings in disguise.
Push yourself to try new things. Even if it is just a tiny step towards what you want. Give it a go.
If your fear is due to an event that occurred in your past that you are now worried will happen again, it’s important to go back to your thoughts on this event and upgrade your thoughts on your perception of what happened. Was it all bad? Did it in fact, lead you to some good times to some degree? Any degree?
Look back at your entire life, has it been full of ups and downs that were equally beneficial to your life, albeit that some of them were painful? Try to find as much evidence as you can that prove to you that there is no wrong way for life to unfold.
Should some of the events of your life occurred? Probably not, but the reality is that it did and it was out of your control because you cannot control all of the variables in your life. Life doesn’t always go to plan but that doesn’t mean that these times don’t hold value.
You have to teach your mind to see the hidden good in the bad, to observe and challenge your thinking and push yourself to see other angles of perspective about that situation (step one and two – thoughts & reality), and then start setting yourself little goals (step three – aim) that push you outside your comfort zone.
Seek out information and resources that help you to overcome fear. A lot of the time fear is just an ignorance of vital information. Learn about the area of your life that you are concerned about and get the facts.
What are the odds that this will happen to you? Are you afraid of something that is a one in a billion chance that it would ever happen? Statistics and factual information can often release your fears and help you to understand a situation more clearly. You might just find that all this time and energy that you have spent on your fear, is unjustified when you find out the facts.
Once you find out the facts, create a plan of attack, using these facts to push you towards your goals. Little baby steps that slowly push you to try something different and do the things that you are fearful of, so that you can prove to yourself that you can handle whatever happens.
Most often you will find that what you feared does not actually happen, but if it does, it does not mean that your life is less valuable, because there will be value in it, you just need to search for how and change your perspective on it.
How much of your life have you spent holding onto something that is out of your control? How much of your energy have you wasted setting one goal after another trying to control and prevent life so that it goes to plan?
What if for a few moments in time, you stopped trying to do anything and just let go. Don’t try and fix the kids’ arguments, don’t try to be the perfect housewife, don’t try and juggle everything without making a mistake, don’t try and get everything done on your list, but just do what you can. What do you think would happen?
Chances are, nothing important. Sometimes we place so much importance on a feared outcome that never happens. I love Mark Twains quote:
“I am an old man and have known many troubles, most of them never happened”
How much of your life are you spending on troubles that don’t happen for fear that they will. When you teach you mind to adopt the beliefs that there is value in everything and that there is not ‘right way’ for your life to unfold, then you learn to relax and enjoy your life.
Letting go of something that has happened (particularly if it was traumatic or painful) can be one of the hardest parts to change. If you believe that what happened has caused your life to be ruined or you rate it to now mean that your life has lost some of its value, then it can be very difficult to let go.
The first thing you need to do then, is to upgrade how your thinking about what happened. Think about what value it did give you, what you learnt, what it now makes you appreciate and how it has benefited your life. Look for what direction it took your life, the people you met because of it who now benefit your life. Remember when you put your attention on something, it expands in that direction.
Keep searching and listing (on paper) the hidden good in this perceived bad situation or event, so that you can keep referring back to why it is valuable everytime your habitual thinking says it has ruined your life.
Don’t feel like your life is ruined if this memory of this past event keeps coming back to haunt you. This is simply what the brain does. Because your habitual thinking has linked your present perception of life to that event, you then start to think about that event a lot. Through this lens you think, ‘what if’, or ‘he/she/I should have’. But the event is gone now. It’s over. it doesn’t exist anymore until you create it in the now with your mind.
You will get rid of these frequent recurring memories when you teach yourself to stop this thinking and change the direction of your thoughts to align with the reality thinking model. The frequency of these memories will dissipate because you are no longer attaching them to your self-worth.
You will need to do this deliberately at first, but then over time you will find this new reality thinking taking over and it won’t be such an effort.
Something to take note of though while we are talking about memories. We have our memories triggered all the time. Listen to a particular song and it often takes you back in time to an event that you associated with that song. Look at a picture of a place you have visited and your mind will recall the significant events that occurred at that time.
You will remember significant events (good or bad) from your past from time to time, because that is how the brain functions. It does not mean anything about you or your life, it is simply a memory. What causes your stress over that memory is not the memory itself, but what you believe about that memory, the perception of that event and how you believe it has negatively effected your life. This is what needs to change so that you aren’t upset everytime this memory is triggered.
One more thing that can happen that stops you from letting go, is your attachment of your self-worth to that event. This time I’m not talking about you believing you are worth-less because of the event. This is because you feel like your worth is defined by that event.
Perhaps that sounds like an odd thing for someone to do, however it is very common, particularly with the labels we place on ourselves for having gone through a difficult time. For example, I am a depression sufferer. I am an anxiety sufferer. I am an abuse victim. I am a victim in general.
Sometimes we can perceive our experiences to be who we are, instead of just things that have happened. You are not a depression sufferer, you do depression only because of how you think. The same goes for anxiety.
You are not a victim of any kind, you just had an experience where someone believed it was okay to do something to you that wasn’t okay. If you are feeling offended because I have written that you had an experience instead of validating that it was bad or wrong, then chances are you have your self-worth tied up in the label of being the victim.
Indeed this experience would have formed a pivotal part of your journey. It would have taught you so much about life and developed a personal strength within you that no other experience may have ever been able to teach you, but this experience is just like any other pivotal moment in your life. It happened. It’s gone and it left lessons and personal growth.
This can happen with a joyous event, like winning lotto, or going overseas by yourself in a foreign country where you didn’t speak the language. You are not defined by these events either, they were simply events on the long journey of your life that left an imprint on it that served to teach you lessons that now contribute to how you interact with the world. That’s it.
With or without this experience, you are still 100% worthy. Stay very aware of the thinking that you have associated with any traumatic event to check whether you have let go of these events. Change the label in your mind of what they mean to you. Widen your perspective using the reality thinking model to remind you of the ups and downs that occur in life and that no single event defines your existence, but just serves to teach you and grow you.
Letting go is about being able to embrace right now. It’s not about hanging on to the past, nor is it about trying to control your future. It’s not about letting anything define your worth and dictate the path your life is going in, but it is about understanding the reality of life and learning.
Nothing will ever make you more important or less important than you are right now. You are always 100% worthy and that cannot be added to or taken away. Experiences and events in our life are only drips in the pond of life that cause a ripple effect that influences everything and everybody around us and it all serves a purpose.
So enjoy your life, let it be. If you feel emotion, then feel it, then let it go. If you feel stressed about a situation, let go of the outcome, for you can’t control it anyway and it will always lead you to something else. Look for fun and don’t fear pain, for it to is teaching you important things you need to know so that you can experience the good times.
We don’t know good until we’ve experienced bad. We don’t know up until we’ve known down. We can’t accept the outside, until we have accepted the inside (your true self-worth).
Keep pushing yourself to let go of the outcome of your life. Set goals – yes! But don’t become attached to the achievement of them.
When you look back at your life from the age of 80+, do you want to remember all of those time you spent stressing, worrying and trying to control every little detail of your life? Do you want to look back and wish you had’ve done things regardless of your fear? Do you want to wonder what your life would have been like if only you had tried something or let go of a past hurt and tried to reach your goals regardless of your last failed attempt?
You only ever have the now to start creating the life that you want to lead. It’s not always easy, but nothing ever is. All of life is full of hard and easy, so you might as well just push yourself and go for what you want anyway.
Because the reality is that whether you fear, control or let go, you will enjoy life at times, you will come across adversities, you will learn and your life will go in different directions to what you had planned sometimes. So you might as well go for the things that you want to create in your life and direct it towards the things you want, rather than sit in fear and regret.
By far, the most powerful information that I ever learnt (apart from a true understanding of my self-worth, that is) was the knowledge about how my brain functioned.
I found that it was so liberating to understand that there was a physical component to my depression that was beyond just a chemical imbalance in my brain that made me feel like I was broken somehow. Furthermore this physical component was something that I could reverse.
Knowing the process that my conditioning, my childhood environment was largely responsible for my current thinking, immediately helped me to detach my abilities from my thinking. I stopped feeling like I was to blame for my ‘stupid’ thinking (which was my assessment at the time).
Mind you, I didn’t start blaming my childhood either, but it made so much sense that I could think that way I did, when I looked back at all that had been going on as a child.
I naively witnessed events in my childhood that made me perceive myself in a self-critical way. Not all of this was a direct result of my parent’s behaviour, but a lot about my perception on what was happening. I didn’t know any different, I was just a child.
But it made perfect sense that through consistent exposure to the repetitive beliefs, situations and conversations with the influential people around me, I could adopt specific thinking and that this thinking was grown in my brain in the form of physical neural pathways, like in the video you watched.
It wasn’t all destructive thinking though. I also adopted some pretty empowering beliefs from both of my parents on how to get what you want. I just hadn’t adopted the self-worth component that I now know.
I hope that by explaining a little bit of how the brain works and helping you to understand the association between what you think and how you feel helps you to detach from your emotions a little more.
I hope that by being able to look back at your own childhood (especially now you are raising your own child and can see how innocent and naive they are) that you can understand that it is not your fault that you feel the way that you do, nor is it the fault of anyone else’s.
Every human being on this planet is a product of the experiences they had as a child. Every child adopts beliefs about life from the environment they grew up in and unless they go through the process of deliberately changing those beliefs over time, which is essentially what we have been teaching you to do in this program, then they will inevitably take these beliefs with them for the rest of their life.
So if you grew up with criticism, whether it was to you or you just witnessed it, conflict, sadness, looking at the glass half empty, viewing everything you are missing out on and feeling like a victim, not having experienced much love and affection, or anything else (good or bad) from your childhood, you have likely adopted these beliefs and are re-living these experiences to some degree in your own life.
What you’ll also find, if you choose to investigate, is that the people that taught you to this very lens on life, was taught to them by their parents. So it can be very interesting sometimes to go back and look at your parents’ or your key influencers in your life and understand how they came to teach you the very things that have assisted you to do depression.
It continues to amaze me when I coach people, and when I reflect on my own thinking, how critical those first zero to seven years of a child’s life is. Sometimes I can even get overly conscious of that when I’m raising my own boys.
But all is not lost though. You can correct and change those physical pathways in the brain through the process of synapses pruning.
By repetitively feeding your brain new information and supporting this information with new experiences that convince your brain of a new way of thinking, you will begin to literally grow new physical connections in the brain.
Keep doing this deliberately and stop yourself as often as possible from thinking in the old habitual way, and the brain starts to sift through the unused thinking and essentially ‘prunes’ these connections. They no longer exist!!!!
Of course, this is not as simple as it sounds and there is a lot of consistent, repetitive work that you need to do for it to happen but this explanation gives you a visual of what is going on in your brain everytime you feel down or negatively about something.
I found this visual so crucial in understanding my emotions and stopping myself from feeling like a complete failure for living my life the way I did.
It become so much more do-able that all I needed to do was keep applying a new mindset and the old one would disappear. Whenever I found myself sinking into despair, anger, self-criticism, guilt or any other emotion, I would quickly remind myself that this line of thinking was not going to make me happy. It was not going to help me to my goal of being happy and it was not going to help me to teach my children not to think this way either.
Remembering the physical process of how the brain works was often enough incentive for me to keep looking for another way to think and perceive the situation and apply the reality thinking model.
It seems so logical to me now, whenever I’m feeling an emotion to associate it with my thinking. I mean if you wanted to move your arm, how do you do that? You first think about moving your arm. If you want to walk over to the tap to get a drink, you first think about being thirsty, then look for how you are going to stop that and get up and get a drink from the tap.
Everything you do and feel first comes from a thought. There is even extensive research these days that looks at using your mindset to overcome diseases like cancer and other terminal illnesses. If you started to look you would see amazing results that people have with their health because they have worked on their mind. What do you think we are doing with your depression?
Depression has the chemical imbalance in the brain component to it, but how do you think it got there? You had specific beliefs in your brain that have been there for a long time that because of an experience, triggered these beliefs and created that physical chemical imbalance.
Medication can correct the imbalance, hence why you may feel good, but it doesn’t correct the beliefs that caused the depression to occur in the first place. If you want to live depression free and come off your medication you must work on changing your mindset. Then you won’t need medication.
It is possible, just knowing this information and having followed this program that you don’t feel like you need medication now, but that would, of course, be something that you would discuss with your doctor. Never come off your medication without a medical plan of attack (set your goal, resource information and create a plan) because this can actually send you back into depression again.
At the end of the day, it’s nobody’s fault that you do depression, stress or anxiety. It is simply the journey your life has taken because of the events that you have experienced. This is because of the people you happened to have come across who hold particular beliefs from their experience in life and because of the way you have perceived those experiences through your limited knowledge at the time.
Whenever you find yourself thinking in a way that doesn’t align with your bigger picture aims, it is merely an alarm bell to wake you up and get you to start looking for what is needed to realign your life to you want, by changing your thinking and learning what needs to be done to get you there.
The concept is simple. Keep applying the Mind TRACK to Happiness process and your life will become simple too.
What do you really want for your children? If asked this question I bet you say something along the lines of ”I want them to be happy, to be self-confident or successful.”
How do you think they will become this way? How will they learn what happiness is, what it means to be self-confident or what success looks like?
What have we learnt about how we define those characteristics?
We learn them from our outside influencers, our teachers and our repetitive environment, primarily during the ages of zero to seven.
In this program we have really only been concentrating on you, your emotions, your thinking and how you can change your thinking. It’s all been about you.
But what about my children, you might say? How can I help them not to repeat the same mistakes that I have, or how can I stop them from going through stress, depression and anxiety like I have?
The continuation of your own personal development. You will teach your children correct beliefs about self-worth, self-confidence, success and happiness from their experience of you.
By living the lessons that you have learnt from this program and seeking out information that will teach you even more about yourself and how to live in a more peacefully accepting way without holding onto fear, resentment, self-criticisms, judgements, conflict with reality and an inability to forgive, you will show them how to be within themselves.
If you are simply preaching to them the very things that you are not doing in your own life, somehow they pick up on these inconsistencies and end up learning a lot of the traits about yourself that you are avoiding.
The learn through experience They will learn from how you speak, how you react to situations, how you handle challenges in your life, by the words you mean (not just from the words you say) and from their perception of life.
Of course they aren’t just learning off you, they are also learning off many other people that come into their lives and leave a mark, but you are a primary influence in your child’s life, particularly between those ages of zero to seven. During this time, this is where they are growing the neural connections in their brain that are likely to take them through the rest of their life, unless they are consciously and deliberately changed over time, just like you are doing now.
It is crucial that you continue to improve your own mindset, not just for your own sanity and overall happiness, but so that your child has a chance to break the depression/stress cycle and live a happier existence too with a correct understanding of life.
There is so much power in what you have learnt over the last few weeks because you also have the tools to be able to become aware of your child’s thinking and perceptions of life.
If you notice them talking about how life has gone wrong, how they are missing out and holding onto what has happened in the past, believing that they should have or could have done something differently, or that someone else should have done something differently, find out what the self-worth component is.
What do they believe it means about them now that they have experienced this new unwanted situation? What is their perception of their life now that it is not what they wanted or what they expected?
Use the reality thinking model to help them to get a better, more realistic understanding of life. Help them to find the hidden good in the bad. Help them to learn to be grateful and appreciative for things that they have in their life.
Recently I found my five and six year old to be whingeing a lot about their lives. ”I hate this day” was too often coming out of my son’s mouth whenever life didn’t meet his expectations.
The whinging was highlighting to me their ignorance over what they have as opposed to what other children their age have in less fortunate countries.
I knew it wasn’t their fault, because you only ever know what you know at any given moment and my children could not know what it was like to live any other way than what they had been living. They had their Nintendo Wii games, their warm house, clothes, food, water, toys, bikes and anything else western children in a middle class society would have. How could they know that they should appreciate what they have?
So I decided that they should get an experiential understanding of how to appreciate their lives, by holding what I called a “Live like an African child’ day.
We started by looking at some photos of how African children live. We then put on some old clothes and went out onto our back deck. It was winter, so we were very cold, but we had one doona (with no cover) to wrap around the three of us, and we rolled out yoga matts on the floor as our pretend bed.
The rules were that we had to fill up an old milk carton full of water from the outside tap as our water for the day and the only food we were allowed to eat was dry wholemeal bread, apples and oranges. I explained that even that was more food than an African child would eat. I allowed them this however, as I do believe for their age, there needed to be limits on how far I took this ‘re-enactment’.
We had no toys, no computer games, no TV and no bikes to ride. All we had was each other and our imagination.
The final rule was that everytime we missed something that we would normally have in our lives, we would write it down on a big cardboard sheet we had. At the end of the day we had a long list of all the things we appreciate in our lives.
It was a challenging day for all of us, with several meltdowns from my six year old who said ”I don’t want to do this day anymore” to which I replied, “Do you think South African children want to live like this? You have it pretty lucky don’t you mate?”
By the end of the day I interviewed the boys and asked them what they’d learnt from the day. Both of them said that they’d learnt to be grateful for their lives. When I asked them what they were going to do as soon as we went back inside, they both shouted , “GET WARM FOOD AND WARM DRINKS!” Their lesson was learned.
Weeks on from this little exercise and they are still talking about South African children and how they are lucky for some of the things they have in their life. To the point where my five year old randomly went up to thank his daddy for the Harry Potter product he’d bought him with the local newspaper, after he’d been reminded by his older brother (the very resistant six year old) that he was very lucky that Daddy had done that for him.
The point to this story is to illustrate that your children only ever know what they know as a result of the environment that they are exposed to.
If you expose your children to an environment where they are taught to accept life however it unfolds and to find the value in those events, and you do this both by example and through using their life to teach them that, then this is the neural connections that they will grow in their brains and will be what becomes their habitual thinking.
But it all starts with you. You can’t teach what you do not know for yourself, so you must continue to practice and grow in your understanding of the realities of life, so that you are armed with the correct information to pass onto your children.
Be mindful though:
You cannot control how your child perceives life
Your child will be exposed to not only your influence but many other people along the way, who also hold different beliefs and perceptions on life that your child will experience. They will adopt other beliefs about life that do not align with your way of thinking, reagardless of whether you are teaching them reality based thinking or thinking in conflict with reality.
There will be value in this too. Whatever experiences they get in their life they will be adding to their development and to the unfolding of their unique journey through life. They will, regardless of your input experience ups and downs in life and that is NOT a bad thing.
In order to help our children to flourish and live a happy and free existence, we must let them experience the world full with all the lessons they are supposed to learn in their life. We cannot control how life unfolds and will not be able to control our child’s life either.
All we can do is be aware of our child’s choice of words and take notice of the perceptions of life that they hold as they experience their life and help them to correct their thinking where possible and where they permit us to. Because, as you know, you can sometimes talk until you’re blue in the face, but they will only listen when they are ready to listen.
Sometimes they will have to learn their lessons the hard way. It’s kind of like telling someone not to put their hand in the fire. If they don’t listen, they will put their hand in the fire anyway and will experientially learn their lesson.
Just like the experiential lesson of my ‘live like an African child day’, no amount of telling them that they had a fortunate life was going to teach them to appreciate their life. It took experiencing that lesson for them to get a real understanding.
This happens in life for all of us, so don’t try to stop it happening with your children all the time. I don’t mean neglecting them, abusing, them or not protecting them from obvious harm, I just mean to allow them to make some mistakes, and then guide them to appreciate the experience by teaching them to find the value in it.
If you do this, then you will arm them with vital tools to take on their journey through life.
Being a parent is not about being the perfect mother who never stuffs up, never makes a wrong decision and who devotes her life only to her children.
Children need to learn that parents are human and just like them. We are continually growing and learning too. Just because we know more about the basics of living than our children, it doesn’t mean we are better.
Sometimes our children are better at some other things than us (like being in the moment, having fun, not concerning themselves with the small insignificant stuff).
So don’t be afraid to admit that you are wrong, that you are sorry, that you made a mistake, because this will make it okay for them to feel that they can do these things too.
We are nowhere near better or more superior than our children, we’ve just been around a lot longer, which means we have experiential awareness of things that they don’t have.
I believe it is not our job to get our children to obey us, ‘do what they are told’ all the time, get straight A’s, or please their parents. After all, do we tick all these boxes? Are we the perfect people that we are trying to get our kids to be?
Instead, I believe it is our job to guide them, teach them to understand life, to love them for who they are and for the person they are trying to become and teach self-worth in a society that is determined to attach worth to the achievement of getting life right.
In order to be the kind of parent who has children with a healthy sense of who they are, and who believe in themselves and are happy and confident, we do a full circle back to you.
When you apply this mindset to yourself and expect for them what you expect for you, respect them the way you want to be respected and love yourself the way that you want them to love themselves, then you will have done everything in your power to provide them with exactly what they need to live the life you want them to…and the life that they will ultimately want to live.
There was a time when I felt like the worst mother in the world. I wondered what sort of life I could give my children when I was the biggest influence in their lives at such an important time?
I thought that I was a complete failure, not just at this motherhood gig, but at life in general. Thinking this about myself made me feel miserable.
While I look back at this time of my life, I still feel saddened by it, but I am also overwhelmed with gratitude for having gone through this time of my life, for I would not know half of what I do without this experience.
It took me to get to the bottom of my pit of despair to actively search for the information I needed to change my situation and learn what I needed to so that I never felt like this again?
Did it work? Absolutely! Do I ever feel sad, down, lonely, stressed or irritated these days? For sure I do!. But I learnt that this didn’t make me a failure. It was simply because I was a human being and this is how I function. I observe life, rate it according to my beliefs and I have a physical reaction in my body due to how I’m rating it.
That is simply how my brain functions and I cannot control which habitual beliefs my brain chooses in each particular moment, because there are so many neural pathways in my brain.
What I could do though, is to stay aware of that habitual thinking, because in the past so much of this thinking had been like a repetitive tape going on in my head that I had forgotten to take any notice of. This tape was causing most of my misery.
Learning how to change my thinking everytime I became aware of my rogue thoughts, was the most powerful part for me in conquering my depression and anxiety.
Understanding true self-worth and knowing my inherent value, despite my experiences made so much sense to me. Of course we are always contributing to each other! Of course everything I do becomes an important link in the chain of another person’s life! Of course my learning, growth and contribution to the world is what defines my existence! How could I not have seen that before?!
From here, with this understanding, going even further by establishing what I want, instead of engaging in this tedious conversation in my head about what I’m not getting, and sending my attention in a solution focussed direction, became the icing on the cake.
When I am focussed on what I want and have information and a plan of how to get it, my whole psyche changes, my whole perspective on life changes. The way I feel, the way I interact with my children, my husband and others, all revolve around how I feel.
Deliberately sending my mind up the ladder of The Mind TRACK to Happiness process over and over again started creating new habitual thinking, so that now it is almost second nature to keep focussing on reality and aims, reality and aims, reality and aims, then reminding myself of my steps to achievement.
Sure, things happen in my life where I get discouraged and I feel like it’s all going ‘wrong’. I’m not sure this thinking ever goes away, at least it hasn’t for me yet. But it’s different now. Now, even though I’m feeling this way, there is always that other part of my head that is upgrading and changing the perspective.
It’s like there are two tapes running in my head now. One that sometimes plays the songs of ‘poor me’ and ‘look at how bad my life is’ and the other that is constantly playing the debut album – ‘songs of reality thinking.’
Sometimes the ‘woe is me’ album is playing louder than the ‘reality thinking’ album, but I find at some level that reality thinking is always there now, it’s just a matter of how long it takes me to realise it’s there.
This will happen to you too over time. With practice, consistency and with repetition you will come to habitually run these tapes too.
We are not here to fix your life, because it’s not broken, although I’m sure that’s initially what you started out to do. However we are here to fix your thinking, to help you to align your thinking with reality and give you the ability to embrace change, challenges and life’s unexpected outcomes, to acknowledge the presence of your adversities when they do arise and to teach you how to look at these times with an accurate and healthy perspective so that they don’t drag you down and sink you into complete meltdown despair and depression.
From this day onwards you no longer need to stay in the cage that your mind has kept you in. YOU have the tools you need to change your life.
Free yourself from motherhood stress and any other stress in your life with the knowlege of 100% worth and value in everything.
Remember, keep going! Keep detaching your self-worth from whatever is playing out in your life, including your behaviour.
You are learning to behave and think differently and in alignment with some clear intentions (aims) for being a parent, your life, your self-worth and your overall happiness. This won’t just happen overnight.
Every time you catch yourself thinking in a way that is in conflict with reality and you acknowledge that you are in conflict with reality, you are one step closer to changing your thinking because you are aware of it (the first step to happiness – awareness).
Every time you recognise in hindsight that something you did in the past was because of your incorrect beliefs about your self-worth (your memes), you are raising awareness and changing the current habitual thinking in your mind.
Every time you consciously upgrade just one little belief that is in conflict with reality, you are one step closer to changing your habitual thinking.
Every time you re-align yourself with your bigger picture aims about what you want, you are working towards changing your current mindset.
Every time you take a step towards your goal by researching or doing something towards your goal (action) you are one step closer to the life you want to lead.
Everything you do is a valuable contribution to your life and is the pathway to the life you want to lead.
Not doing what you want and realising that it’s not what you want, is every bit as much progress as doing what you want. How do you know what to do until you have acknowledged and learnt what NOT to do?
Along this journey to changing your life and becoming the happy mum and person you want to be, you will stuff up, you will make mistakes, you will fall back into the trap of thinking in the same habitual way that caused your stress, depression and anxiety in the first place. But every time you get back up and re-align that thinking and action back onto the Mind TRACK to happiness process you are making progress.
Over time you will find that you will have to apply this process less and less consciously. You will catch yourself automatically upgrading your thinking to the reality thinking model. You will find yourself automatically thinking about what you want and taking action steps towards it. You will find that your new tape has started to play and will run ever so subtley in the background whenever you are going through your ‘moments’.
You will find that life will no longer suck you into long term weeks and months of despair, but arrive and disappear fleetingly once you remember to apply the process again.
When you continue to have defined goals to work towards and use the reality thinking model to keep a rational and realistic perspective on the ups and downs you encounter on your way to your goals, you will find yourself feeling more empowered, happier, calmer and freer than you ever had before.
This is happiness.
You have now graduated from this program. You have completed learning the process of how to stop stress, depression and anxiety, not just in the context of motherhood, but in life too.
However, your journey has not ended. It has only just begun. As always your progress starts and ends with you. You have done extremely well to get to this part of the program where you have perservered through three months of learning and resourcing information to change.
Now you must continue to implement step five of the TRACK process – action. YOU are the only one who can change the way you feel about your life and you now have the knowledge and tools to do this.
For the next two weeks, you will still have access to this program and the Q&A Forum so that you can catch up on any missed weeks, do exercises that you didn’t do and ask any questions that may be lingering before you are sent on your own.
You will also have an opportunity (via email you will receive soon) to keep using this program as ongoing support for just $29.95 per month, or buy liftetime access to the information and support for just $59.
So to end this program, I have some final words for you to take with you:
YOU are an amazing human being right now. Nothing you can do or say will ever change that. No mistakes, behaviour or events could ever take away how important you are to everyone you come across, right now! Your children will learn what they need to learn off you and you will always be the best mother that you can be with the information that you have.
Keep pushing yourself, working on yourself, improving your knowledge, strengthening your desired abilities and staying focussed on the life that you want, all while keeping that solid understanding about your value.
Your life has done depression for long enough now. It is time to set that bird free and move on. Live, love, cry, laugh, experience and enjoy, because no matter how your life unfolds: