13 Nov 6 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health by being Kinder
One of the most challenging aspects of parenthood is seeing your child hurt emotionally. We’ve all been there– your child was bullied online, your daughter’s “best friends” decided they didn’t want to be friends with her anymore, your son was left out at the lunch table, gossip and rumors are being spread around the neighborhood about your kid…
It’s hard. There’s nothing we’d rather do than somehow make that pain escape, and force everyone else to just be nice. That’s why World Kindness Day (today) was created. It’s a day focused on respecting our friends, neighbors, colleagues, and family members, with particular emphasis on intentionally being kind. Can you imagine what this world would be like if everyone made more of an effort to be kind?
As parents, one of the most important things we strive to do is to raise children who are kind. From the time they’re babies we’re teaching them to share, to not hit, and to be polite. We do our best to be a great role model, and share with them uplifting and inspiring stories of those who have been particularly kind and made a difference. Sometimes we exhaust every last drop of energy we have into teaching our kids to be kind.
It’s so important to be kind to everyone, even those we don’t always agree with. Yet somehow, amidst us striving so hard to be kind to loved ones and enemies alike, we neglect one very important person when it comes to being kind: ourselves.
Do you ever find yourself beating yourself up over the “little things”?
- “I forgot to pack Sally’s lunch today.”
- “I was too harsh on Jack’s punishment.”
- “I’ll never look as good as Penny.”
- “I should have made a different dinner.”
- “I didn’t spend enough quality time with my kid.”
- “I couldn’t even run one mile.”
- “I can’t ever get this right.”
- “I’m not a good enough mom.”
If anyone of these sound familiar, we’ve got a problem. “Be kind to everyone around you, but go ahead and beat yourself up” said no one EVER.
The mind is a powerful thing because your thoughts dictate your feelings. And your feelings dictate your actions. So reprogram your mind to align better with what you want.
How do you do that? You can start with changing your negative thoughts and replacing them with positive ones. Instead of “I should have made something else for dinner,” try “I’m proud of myself for making my family a home-cooked meal.” Or instead of “I’m not a good enough mom,” try “I know I’m not perfect, but I’m trying to be a good mom.” Not only will this kinder mindset help you feel better, but your family will be happier, too.
Because we know how much you already do as moms, we’re not going to share a list of random acts of kindness to do for others. Instead, we want to challenge you to be kinder to yourself. Take one of these six actions and put it to the test this week:
1. Be more forgiving on yourself.
If something doesn’t turn out the way you thought it should, learn from it, and move on, and forget. You can’t change the past, but you can change your attitude and how you respond.
2. Keep a gratitude journal.
Multiple studies have shown that those are the more thankful have better mental health. A gratitude journal helps you steer your thoughts positively and be thankful for little things some people often take for granted.
3. Re-direct negative thoughts.
As we mentioned above, your thoughts play a powerful role in your behavior and overall mood. Recognize the negative thoughts that come into your mind and replace them with positive, encouraging thoughts.
4. Create a self-mantra.
A self-mantra is a list of powerful statements about yourself. By repeating them to yourself and looking in the mirror, you start to believe them over time. Click here for some great examples.
5. Smile more.
Even something as simple as smiling can have dramatic impacts on your health as well. In fact, NBC shared an article that stated “smiling helps reduce the body’s response to stress and lower heart rate in tense situations; another study linked smiling to lower blood pressure, while yet another ]study] suggests that smiling leads to longevity.”
6. Consume less added sugars.
We’re all aware of the harmful effects of too much sugar on the body, but few people understand that too much sugar can also affect the brain and contribute to anxiety, depression, and poor cognitive functioning. When you have a sweet craving, reach for a healthier alternative like Jolly Llama’s Sorbet Pops which are made with real fruit and have lower sugar.
Keep teaching those kiddos kindness. You’re doing a great job! Just remember to be kinder to yourself as you celebrate with people around the globe for World Kindness Day.