I sat in my car outside the grocery store crying because I felt so lost. This running away from my responsibilities and sitting in self pitty seemed to be becoming a bad habit.
I sat there trying to convince myself it was my baby’s fault when deep down I knew it was that I no longer knew my place in the world. I no longer knew who I was, what I wanted, or how I fit into my roles. Motherhood was taking over everything and I didn’t know how to handle it.
I knew life couldn’t be the same as before but I had a hard time moving on and accepting that it was up to me to take the necessary actions to feel better and move forward.
I’m not for one second saying that mental health is our fault, I am however saying that once we recognize that mental health is a problem, the only way to move away from a dark place is to accept it and take responsibility for how we are going to respond to this knowledge.
It’s in that choice to respond that we regain our personal power.
It was much easier, and still is some days to place the blame for how I feel or the struggles I’m having on my children. There are still days where the only reason I get out of bed is because I know I have someone counting on me.
Changes began to happen, and happiness, health and fulfillment started to come my way when I took responsibility for myself and started using all the habits I was learning from reading about personal Development.
I began to recognize when I suffering, asking for help, and began to respond to my circumstances rather than react to them, life for me and everyone in my family dramatically improved.
The Habit of Happiness
It’s hard to do the things that make us happy when we feel so low, which is why getting into the habit of happiness is key in loving your journey of motherhood. When you practice little habits every day so they become something you just do, it’s harder to be or stay as low for as long.
Habits are funny things, they stick if they are good or bad if they have the right circumstances. The fundamentals of habit formation as Charles Duhigg, the author of The Power of Habit explains, are Cue, Routine, and Reward.
The Habit Loop
In order to make happiness a habit, you’ll need to consciously choose a cue for yourself to stack the new habit onto. For example, if you want to add gratitude, or any of the happiness habits, to your day, each time you change your baby’s diaper could be the cue for you to say something you’re grateful for out loud.
This is called habit stacking, it’s using something you already do to trigger action rather than creating a new cue from scratch.
The second part of the habit loop is routine. This is the action you are going to take each time you are triggered by a specific cue. Again, saying something you are grateful for is the action, the cue is the diaper change.
Lastly, you need to make the habit appealing. It’s only going to stick if the outcome or reward is positive in your mind. Yes, when we eat too much chocolate the instant reward was a serotonin release which made us feel happy. It may not seem like a reward if you want to lose weight, but hormonally it’s a reward.
So, make the reward appealing. And if it’s a new habit you’re forming, or a new cue you’re using, the reward can actually be your choice. For example, you only get your coffee after you say your first gratitude or the baby’s diaper has to sit on the changing table unless you say something you’re grateful for.
Habits are made of a cue, a routine, and a reward. So, when you pick your happiness habits, note the cue, the routine, and the reward for each and then practice them regularly in order to help yourself feel better the moment you are cued to put the habit into action.