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  • Rashida Dinehart

S2E4: More than Grief: Mindfulness in Motherhood

Motherhood is a journey that is filled with joy, challenges, ups and downs, the best of times, and the worst of times. They say it's the hardest "hood" you'll ever go through and "they" ain't lyin'. Motherhood requires copious amounts of constant learning, growth, and adaptation to the ever-changing needs of our children. As mothers, we are often called to do it all, balancing our roles as caregivers, nurturers, and providers, all while managing jobs, households, and sports schedules. While we never want to paint the picture that motherhood is all doom and gloom, we also won't sugarcoat it. In the quest to balance it all, it can be easy to get caught up in the chaos and lose sight of the present moment.

Though "mindfulness" has become a bit of a buzzword in recent years, in essence, it really just means the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. When expanded upon mindfulness involves being fully present in the moment and paying attention to our thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment. Mindfulness in motherhood can help moms become more aware of their thoughts and feelings, and better understand how those feelings are affecting their behavior and interactions with their children. It does not have to mean deep 1-hr meditations or long silent walks. For me, it's been about finding little pockets of time to reground myself during the day.

Meditation and affirmations are two powerful tools that can help us stay grounded and present in the moment, enabling us to better navigate the challenges of motherhood (and grief of course). While they may seem similar on the surface, there are significant differences between the two. In season 2, episode 4, I discuss my newfound love of affirmations. I use an app called I AM, to send me daily affirmations. When they pop up I allow myself a moment to reflect on them. Something about having the guided phrases to focus on has helped me stay consistent in a way meditation couldn't seem to.

Meditation is a mindfulness practice that involves training the mind to focus on the present moment, often through deep breathing or visualization techniques. The goal of meditation is to increase awareness and gain a deeper understanding of one's thoughts and emotions. Through regular meditation practice, individuals can learn to calm their minds, reduce stress, and improve mental clarity.

There are many different types of meditation, including guided meditation, transcendental meditation, and mindfulness meditation. Each type has its own unique focus and technique, but all share the same goal of promoting a sense of inner peace and mindfulness.

Affirmations are positive statements that are repeated to oneself in order to promote a more positive outlook on life. The goal of affirmations is to reprogram the subconscious mind to focus on positive thoughts and beliefs, rather than negative ones. By repeating affirmations regularly, individuals can change the way they think about themselves and their circumstances, leading to increased self-esteem and confidence.

Examples of affirmations include "I am confident and capable," "I am worthy of love and respect," and "I am in control of my thoughts and emotions." These statements can be repeated silently or out loud, and are often used as part of a daily self-care routine.

While both meditation and affirmations promote mental and emotional well-being, there are several key differences between the two practices. One of the main differences is that meditation is a passive practice, while affirmations are active. Say what? In meditation, the goal is to let go of thoughts and emotions and simply observe them, while in affirmations, the goal is to actively change the way you think and feel.

Another difference between the two practices is that meditation is focused on the present moment, while even though they use the present tense, affirmations focused on the future. Meditation encourages individuals to be fully present in the moment and let go of worries about the past or future, while affirmations encourage individuals to focus on their goals and aspirations for the future. Also, meditation is often practiced in silence, while affirmations are spoken aloud or silently repeated. While both practices can be done in solitude, affirmations are often used as a tool for self-affirmation and self-motivation, while meditation is a tool for quieting the mind and finding inner peace.

Whatever tool fits your fancy, incorporating either into your daily life as a mother can help you stay grounded, centered, and positive in the midst of the chaos of motherhood. By practicing mindfulness and affirmations, you can cultivate a sense of calm and confidence that will benefit both you and your babies.

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