Emotional wellness is how a mother handles stress and is in touch with her emotions. Motherhood is full of ups and downs including happiness, sadness, anger, frustration and fear. All of these emotions are normal. However, it is important to be aware of various emotions and stressors to be able to channel them in a productive manner.
Take anger for example. If someone is very reactive with anger it can be a destructive emotion. If it is acknowledged and dealt with properly, it can be constructive.
The following are ways for a mother to work on emotional wellness:
- Name feelings. Think or say to yourself “I feel sad right now” or “I feel frustrated right now”. As simple as it sounds, acknowledging the exact feeling you are having can prevent build up and strong reaction over time.
- Use progressive muscle relaxation with strong emotions. This involves tensing up muscles intentionally, then letting the tension go. You can start with your feet and work up to your head.
- Use deep breathing for taking a moment. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, then out through your mouth. Focusing on breathing physiologically slows your mind and body down.
- Embrace positive emotions! As a mother, when I feel happy, I often find myself thinking “This won’t last, what is going to happen next?” and it can ruin the great feeling. Knowing that of course, you will not be happy forever, and embracing the times you are can make a big difference. It is those moments that will bring you through the difficult times.
- Talk about feelings with your kids and name their feelings so they can own them. There is a great show on PBS called Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood that often has lessons about feelings. The more you talk to your kids about their feelings, you can become aware of your own.
- Take time to do what you love. It could be hiking, art, movies, exercise, window shopping or more. Whatever you love to do, do it! These activities will help positive emotions.
Wellness for Mothers Series