When my children were just two years old and six months old, I was at my lowest, desperate to try anything that would stop me from feeling like the failure I thought I was.
Everyday became about how bad, wrong or stupid I was and how I was hurting, neglecting the needs of my child or how I was wrecking their life.
Those thoughts that rolled around in my head time and time again were bound to lead me to ultimate destruction.
So how did this situation change? How did I change from being that sad, miserable mummy who hated motherhood, to a calm (well most of the time), happy and inspired parenting coach who now helps mums with their motherhood stress and postnatal depression?
I worked hard at my mindset. That’s what I did. It didn’t matter what situations were going to come up in my life. If I continued to live with the same mindset that I had, I was bound to revisit depression in my life over and over and over again. The reality of life is, you cannot always get things to go the way you would like and everyone experiences periods of struggle and problems. I was no different.
The five step Mind TRACK to Happiness process you’ve just learnt is your tool to changing your mindset too.
There will be no relief to your pain by continuing to wallow in what is wrong with your life, what you are missing out on, hanging onto the coulds and shoulds of your past and feeling like you are a failure. This will undoubtedly keep you fixed in that horrible place that I know you do not want to be in.
By the same token, it is popular amongst many helping fields to continually roll around in your muddy past, rehashing your stories about what happened to you and how it made you feel. While this can be insightful and helpful for the therapist to get an understanding of where you are at and why you are there, it often does not teach you how to stop thinking this way.
You need the tools to stop thinking this way and because the past only exists when you create it in the now, you need the tools to work on the thoughts happening now. Why would you deliberately recreate all those stories about your past in your present thinking? Goodness knows the repurcussions of those thoughts linger around long enough, you don’t want to deliberately create them.
You want to start where you are at right now. Address the thoughts that you are having as they come up and interfere with your happiness NOW.
The TRACK process is your answer for doing that. It is your answer to retraining your brain to view life differently and being able to let go of your thoughts about your past.
Every time you find yourself feeling low, down, stressed, angry, guilty or any other emotion that makes you feel bad, tune into your thoughts and your opinions on the situation. Tune into how you are attaching your self worth incorrectly to the situation, and tune into those memes that are repeating themselves in your mind, for this is what is causing those feelings to occur. This is step one of the process – Thoughts
Once you have identified this thinking, you must then change your perspective. This thinking is not true. It is conditioned, it’s habitual and it has been ingrained within you by the minds of others who also don’t know any better. These thoughts are not who you are.
Detach from these thoughts with the knowing that it is simply incorrect conditioning that has come from your life thus far, and start to focus on thoughts that align with the reality thinking model. Start challenging these thoughts, reassessing the situation through your new eyes and deliberately making the effort to change how you would normally view things.
Take charge of your life by taking charge of your mind. Repetition of this conscious process will be your saving grace. Constantly being aware of the language you use in your mind and when you talk to others so that you can consciously change it.
When you do this over and over again, you will find that you will begin to form new habits of thinking over time. You will begin to let go of that old, stress inducing way of thinking and embrace more empowering, more reality-based thoughts that are going to completely change the way you feel about your life, and most importantly, how you feel about the challenges you encounter in your life. This is step two of the process – Reality.
Why the Mind TRACK to Happiness Process works
The five step TRACK process takes you on a journey. You begin stuck in conflict with reality. You feel stressed from believing that it should be different, you are in denial about the present situation and you are holding onto beliefs that are simply not serving you well at all.
As you begin to align your thinking with reality and establish a new pathway of thinking, you then position yourself to being able to do something about your situation (steps three to five: aim, choices, know your plan).
By accepting the reality that you are currently experiencing and being able to look at it with a healthy sense of self-worth and the reality of life’s ups and downs, you are able to move your attention towards what you want and how to get it.
Remember this quote that I love from Wayne Dyer – American spiritual teacher / psychologist. He says:
“When you change what you think about, what you think about changes.”
Have a think about that statement for a minute. When you shift your focus onto the reality of a challenging situation, parenting, life and your self-worth and then you focus on the solutions to your problems, you find more evidence of this new thinking being true.
This is the process of enlightenment. When you become awakened to a different way of viewing your life and an understanding of your real self-worth, you start to think differently about every area of your life. What you also find is that your relationship with yourself and others changes and your life experiences change. All of a sudden you are moving towards the life that you want.
The Mind TRACK to Happiness process helps you to remember how to do this. I regularly catch myself starting to feel bad and then quickly remember the steps to changing how I feel. This process was designed so that you can remember what you need to do when you come across challenges without having to re-read numerous books again.
When I was searching for answers myself, I would read a book, be completely inspired and then think ‘so what do I do now’. I wanted to give you a resource that taught you exactly what to do to avoid stress and then teach you the 5-step process to do it.
After applying this method repeatedly, you will start to get quicker and better at it and it will end up becoming a way of life. Feeling bad about things becomes either non-existent where before it was a big deal, or the amount of time you initially spend feeling bad about your unwanted events, is dramatically reduced.
Conversations in your mind end up become more like this:
“Argh, I’m sick of my children not behaving. I’m sick of being the slave in this house and never having any time to myself. Okay hang on a second, look at how this is making me feel. This talk is not helping. The reality is that my kids are learning how to form proper behaviour habits and I am the one that has agreed with my partner to do the housework. I’m not a slave, this is just part of my role in the family, right now. So what am I going to do about this? How can I teach my kids, or reinforce good behaviour? What can I do to plan for myself to take a break?”
With your conversation travelling up the ladder towards the solutions, you leave behind the anger that would surely have led to an explosive outburst from you, most probably directed at your children, your husband or another loved one.
Do you remember back to week one where you were taught about how the brain learns through a youtube video? The Mind TRACK to Happiness process works because it is easy to remember and is a tool that will help your brain to learn how to view life in a healthy, stress-free way. The more you use this process, the more you will be literally forming new, physical pathways in the brain, and allowing the old, destructive, stressful and depressive thinking to die off.
Repetition and consistency is how new habits are formed and old habits are thrown away. Think about how you learnt to walk, talk, use a spoon etc. This didn’t happen overnight. It happened with practice. The same will apply to changing the mindset that leads you to depression. Unfortunately there is no quick fix. You will have to put the hard work in and the time to correcting your mindset in order to make dramatic changes to how you feel about life.
The good news is that you can begin to see changes almost straight away. Because, as Wayne Dyer says, when you change what you think about, what you think about changes. And you will notice this quite quickly as you begin to use this process.
Because repetition of this 5-step process is critical to being able to start creating those new pathways, I want to spend this week going through a complete summary of each step of the Mind TRACK to Happiness process. This is to ensure that you have a clear understanding of each step of the process so you can automatically start using it as you go through your life.
This week is going to summarise all of the information you have been given so that you do know exactly what to do next. I don’t want you to walk away from this course and feel like you don’t know what to do. That is also why you have access to the Q&A Forum too.
In tomorrow’s lesson I will begin to summarise step one of the Mind TRACK to Happiness Process – Thoughts.