It is a fact that, if you are human, at some point in your life the sh*t will hit the fan. If you’re a parent the odds are even higher. And if you’re a mother, let’s be honest, sometimes the shit will hit the fan more than once a day. #truth
While the sh*t hits the fan in our house quite regularly (I have 3 young kids after all!), something happened a few weeks ago that involved one of my children that was a little more serious. Read the whole story here.
In the lead up to this I had been practising 5 strategies to train my brain for when the sh*t hits the fan, because at some point it definitely will… and it did!
Below is one of these exercises. I encourage you to read the purpose of these exercises and how to practice them effectively by reading the introduction to this series prior to getting into the exercise.
Exercise 5: Talk
Congratulations and thank you for getting to the fifth and final strategy of 5 Ways To Train Your Brain For When The Sh*t Hits The Fan.
The whole reason I created this series was because the sh*t had hit the fan for me. And I used these exact strategies to navigate my way through it.
I then thought perhaps you would benefit from these strategies too (if you missed the previous exercises you can access them HERE.
Have you done any of them?
Have they helped?
I would love to hear your feedback. EMAIL ME!
Anyway, back to my original sh*t. It was a trivial first-world problem, but it involved one of my kids. If you’re a parent you can no doubt understand why it affected me so much.
Mumma Bear came out in full-force, and with one goal: to ferociously protect my cub.
So, while it might seem minor and insignificant to some, it was huge for me.
I have talked about the pink fluffy dressing gown photo throughout this series because that is how it all started (you can revisit that story HERE or join our private Tough Mothers group HERE to read the original post).
I have also spoken about my condensed milk, straight from the can, highlight… but there is something else that happened before both those things, when the sh*t hit the fan for me.
I called my friend, Lydia.
Lydia is wonderful mum who I have been lucky enough to build a deep and connected friendship with. In short: she gets me.
And I knew she would get my sh*t that day.
So, I rang her in tears and blubbered down the phone to her for at least 20 minutes. Lydia listened. It was just what I needed, and I am so very grateful.
Something fabulous happens when we speak out our thoughts and feelings without the intention of the listener fixing the problem for us. We start to trouble-shoot our own problem.
Talking to someone you trust is literally like a massive brain-dump. As parents we have so many tabs open in our computer (brain) that speaking out loud is like shutting some of them down.
If you have a wonderful listener (like I did) they only need to offer a small opinion or piece of advice (a perspective shift perhaps – see exercise number 3)for things in your mind to change and become clearer.
Sometimes it is the sheer act of speaking that lets you create your own perspective shift.
This clarity is actually a sign that your brain is rewiring and changing itself. You are using different neural pathways and connections to think things through.
I have written about the brain rewiring and changing itself throughout this series, because that is the foundation of the work I do with mothers in our Tough Mothers courses.
Tough Mothers provides holistic support for women during matrescence (the transformation a woman goes through when becoming a mother) and motherhood. It’s where neuroscience and psychology meet philosophy and spirituality (in its true sense), for mothers to create strategies to change their own brain wiring through self-directed neuroplasticity, and create a fulfilling life for themselves.
Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change its own wiring, and to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections/pathways. This allows us to adjust and respond to new situations or environments. Through utilising self-directed neuroplasticity we can intentionally learn (or unlearn) new skills, actions and behaviours.
It sounds much more complex than it is. In fact, it is actually really simple.
Like the exercises in this series. They’re quite simple actually, right?
So, don’t let the science scare you, that just proves it works!
BUT BACK TO THE BENEFITS OF TALKING:
❤ Studies have shown that speaking your worries and feelings out loud reduces activation in the associated brain regions.
For example, when a person feels scared, their amygdala is activated. This is the region in the brain that alerts the person there might be danger. However, studies have shown that if the person speaks out the word “fear” the amygdala activation is reduced. How cool is that?
So, talking is not just good for getting things off your chest. It literally changes your brain wiring and therefore the neural pathways between key brain areas.
❤ Studies have also shown changed brain wiring in people who regularly speak to someone about their worries. They saw neural connections strengthened and a significant amount of improvement in the people’s lives. Even over the long-term.
This leads to less stress and worry, and also to creating more joy. Amongst many other things of course.
Most importantly though, you are teaching your brain how to deal with problems not only in the here-and-now but also in preparation for when another bout of sh*t hits the fan. Which is inevitable. Because, you know,… life
Sometimes when we have immediate sh*t, like mine was, speaking to a friend can have a profound effect. However, if there is recurring, or very serious sh*t in your life, I wholeheartedly recommend speaking to a professional.
This doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you or your mind, it just means you value your mental health, and you want to get out of the sh*t (no matter how big it is) quicker and more effectively – remember YOU can rewire your brain with the right strategies.
If you feel that life is not quite what you hoped it would be at this point in motherhood. Or you would like to create strategies for your journey through matrescence. Or you just want to feel better within yourself (you’re allowed to, by the way!).
Please accept a complimentary chat with me, Dr Jen, HERE.
I GET YOU!
I’m a mother of 3, and am in the throes of motherhood. My unique background in psychotherapy and 25 years of brain research (I have a PhD in neuroscience), as well as working in this space with mothers for over 10 years, means I truly get you.
I hope that you continue to use the strategies in this series not only when the sh*t hits the fan but also in every-day life. Because when you change your brain you change your life.
Life is too short for “that’ll do!”.
Use motherhood as the catalyst to create the fulfilling life you deserve to live.
This is the last exercise in this series.
I will be bringing more info and tips to you via this blog. So, be sure to check back regularly, or sign up to get my blogs straight to your inbox as soon new ones land.