Monthly Archives: April 2015

Notes from a Mean Mommy

Once, right before Christmas about 20 years ago, when the boys were 2 and 4 years old, I don’t remember what they were doing, but they were definitely doing something to piss me off. And, eventually I lost it. Amidst their shrieking, fighting, tantrum, whatever it was, it probably involved all of that, I picked up the phone and proceeded to call Santa in front of them

“Santa,” I said. “Don’t even bother coming by this house. These boys have been terrible this year, and they don’t deserve anything from you.”

That shut them up pretty damn fast. But the minute I hung up the phone, they sobbed uncontrollably, promising to be better and begging me to call Santa back, which I didn’t, because I am a Mean Mommy.

Another time when they were 10 and 12, I was driving them home from school. They were arguing loudly, being rude to each other, and I used that famous line, “If you say one more word, I will pull over this car, and you will walk home.”

That didn’t stop their antics, and the older one was being a real jerk, so I pulled over the car and kicked him out.

“Walk home,” I said, and drove off. Suddenly, my younger son was completely silent in the back seat.

It was winter time, literally freezing, and the walker wasn’t wearing a coat (I’d long since given up fighting with them to get them to dress appropriately in cold weather). And, being in the jazz band in middle school, he had his electric bass with him. Yep, I drove off and he walked the rest of the way home, about a mile, in the cold, without a coat, carrying his backpack and laden with a guitar case.

It was around the same time, the older one informed me that he didn’t want to invite his friends over anymore, because they all thought I was the mean mom. “Badge of honor,” I thought, “badge of honor.”

Despite this, my boys (now grown men – 23 and 25) are not in therapy. They’re both college graduates and gainfully employed, so clearly the scars I inflicted weren’t too deep. But, yeah, it’s true. I will never be nominated for a great parenting award. Still, I’m trying a little more with my daughter to be a mother of reason.

Case in point. One day last week, the teachers at my daughter’s afterschool program (called Hort) went on strike. It was all very German. I received a letter and emails weeks in advance notifying me of the strike. The teachers personally asked if this was inconvenience and if I was able to find alternate care. Since I work from home, it wasn’t such a big deal to pick her up early, but school ends at 11:20. In the morning. So that means I basically have an entire day with my daughter, which is a recipe for frayed nerves, a short temper, and typical Mean Mommy behavior.

To get us out of the house and doing something entertaining, I suggested to my daughter that we ride bikes to the zoo. Now, the zoo is 4 miles from our house, and Emmy has ridden 4 miles before, but with a long break at the half way point. Yes, I had stars in my eyes.

I figured I’d pick her up from school, we’d come home to drop off her backpack and have lunch, and then we’d be off to the zoo. It might take an hour (that’s probably twice as long as it would take me by myself I figured) and then we’d have a few hours at the zoo before leaving and riding home.

Naturally, that’s not at all how it went. Instead, the after school time went something like this.

We get home at 11:30 and immediately start homework. I had forgotten about that, because Emmy normally does homework at Hort. Half an hour later, Emmy decides to fill out a Friend Book she’s been given. These books are all the rave among grade schoolers. They’re passed around to friends, who fill out pages with questions like “What are you hobbies?” and “What’s your favorite food?” I have to translate every prompt for my daughter and then help her spell while she writes. After taking an hour to complete her page in the Friend Book (which required printing a photo to glue onto the page), I beg her to eat lunch because she definitely can’t ride for an hour on an empty stomach. Finally, at 1:30, I think we are ready to leave.

But then the questions start.

“Mom, can I bring my doll stroller?” she asks.

“No. We’re riding bikes.”

“Well, can I bring my doll then?”

“No. We’ll be at the zoo. You don’t need anything.”

“Can I bring Ellie [her favorite stuffed animal]?”

At this point, frustration is setting in, but I’m not going to give into it.

“Fine, bring Ellie, but that’s it. Now let’s go, because it will take us a while to get there on bikes.”

Fifteen minutes later, I call out, “Em, are you ready?”

“Just a minute. I’m putting clothes on Ellie.”

“Em, Ellie is a stuffed animal. She doesn’t need clothes.”

“But she’ll be cold.”

“No, she won’t. It’s 70 degrees out.”

“Well at least let me wrap her in a blanket.”

“Really?” I ask, wondering how much more until my last good nerve snaps.

Finally, 2 and a half hours after we left school, we are on our way to the zoo.

We unlock our bikes, put on our helmets and start riding. For about 5 minutes.

Then Emmy shouts to me, because I’m riding ahead of her, “Mom, can we have a break? I’m really tired.”

Oh. My. Goddess. We haven’t even gone a mile. We will never get to the zoo.

“Okay. We can stop, but would you rather just lock our bikes up and take the bus?” Wisely, I have chosen a route that parallels the bus line that goes to the zoo.

“No. I just need a break,” she said.

A few moments of resting, and we start off again. This time we make it about 250 meters further.

“Mom, I’m tired.”

I take a deep, deep breath and try to channel the Dalai Lama to keep Mean Mommy at bay.

“Okay. Let’s just cross the street and lock our bikes at the bus stop. How about that?” I asked her.

“Okay,” Emmy said, smiling at me. “Thanks, Mommy.”

So we rode our bikes another block to the bus stop, locked and left them there and took the bus to the zoo, where  we had a great afternoon.

Good Mommy still has her work cut out for her, but she’s getting there.

Here's the happy girl at the zoo. Her Good Mommy remembered to bring the anti-bacterial gel!

Here’s my sweet girl at the zoo. And, true to Good Mommy form, I remembered to bring the anti-bacterial gel to purge petting zoo germs from her hands. Maybe I will move quickly to Great Mommy status.

Writing Yourself Right

I’ve always liked the idea of keeping a journal, chronicling my life as it happens. And, over the years, I’ve kept one on and (mostly) off. Looking back, it seems that my periods of journaling corresponded to times when my life was in turmoil. Did this writing help? Did it serve any purpose other than rehashing what I was going through at the time? And would it be worthwhile to write during other times?

Delving into the research, I have found that writing about yourself and your experiences can significantly improve mental and physical health. I could cite a million papers if you were interested, that’s how overwhelming supportive the research is, but I’m going to focus on 2 researchers who spearheaded the work in this field.

These are 2 journals I keep, 1 on gratitude and 1 on Up With Me! stuff

These are 2 journals I keep, 1 on gratitude and 1 on Up With Me! stuff

Back in the 1980’s, Dr. James Pennebaker (at UT Austin, where I got my Master’s degree in Neuroscience) pioneered this work, establishing that writing about a traumatic, emotional event  for 20 minutes a day for 4 days has dramatic effects on health. In the immediate short-term, this type of writing lowers mood, but in the long-term it boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure, increases happiness, reduces anxiety and depression, and improves emotional resilience. In addition, patients suffering from various medical conditions (cancer, AIDS, arthritis, e.g.) show improvements specific to their individual condition. In other words, getting your negative, emotional experience out on paper, even if no one reads it or you end up throwing away whatever you wrote, is much more beneficial than keeping it in.

Why is expressive writing so helpful? For starters, this type of writing is a self-reflective tool. It forces you to to explore whatever your issue is and manage your feelings about it. Also, because the writing is spread out over 4 sessions (you could do it 4 days in a row or once a week for 4 weeks, the research doesn’t differ in terms of net results), you tend to move beyond your own perspective of the event and are able to see that of others, which is beneficial.

As for how often to write, Pennebaker found that writing fewer than 4 days cracks the surface of the issue but doesn’t allow the writer to go any deeper, so it’s kind of like tearing off a scab but not knowing what the underlying injury really is. On the other hand, writing more often creates the potential for rumination and over analysis of the trauma, neither of which is helpful. Four days isn’t a rule, but it’s a good starting point and what has been supported by the science.

Adapting Pennebaker’s work, Laura King (at the University of Missouri) was interested in finding out if writing about something positive might confer similar effects as writing about something negative. King utilized the same writing session length (20 minutes every day for 4 days) and conducted a study in which participants wrote about their future best possible self (BPS). This is essentially your idealized self, a personalized representation of everything you’d want or like to be. King’s results were similar to those of Pennebaker in that overall health and mood improved. But, King found that mood improved significantly more when writing about BPS than about past trauma (her experimental groups wrote about BPS, past trauma, both, or a neutral event), and there was no negative short-term effect when writing about BPS.

Like writing about a traumatic experience, writing about your BPS forces self-reflection. This type of writing helps you to identify, organize, and prioritize your goals, and doing it on a regular basis can increase your positive expectations about the future.

I love the idea of writing as therapy – and not just because it doesn’t cost anything, and it doesn’t take a huge amount of time to reap the benefits. Since I’ve started blogging, writing on a daily basis as part of my own therapeutic experience, I’ve definitely benefited. I’ve written about my own past trauma but I’ve also written about life goals and changes I’m working toward. The combination has helped me develop self-compassion and feel more connected to others, which ultimately makes me happier.

If you are interested in writing exercises to improve your health, check out these links for writing about past trauma, your future best possible self, and self-compassion. Write yourself to health!

 

King, L.A. (2001). The Health Benefits of Writing About Life Goals. Pers Soc Psychol Bull, 27:798-807.

Pennebaker James W. and John F. Evans. Expressive Writing: Words that Heal. Enumclaw: Idyll Arbor, Inc., 2014.

Sheldon, K. M., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2006). How to increase and sustain positive emotion: the effects of expressing gratitude and visualizing best possible selves. Journal of Positive Psychology, 1, 73-82.

 

Spring Break 2015

Recently, I flew home to Austin for 12 days of sunshine and family/friend time. The trip did not involve going to a beach, getting a tattoo, or, frankly, anything you might see on an episode of Cops, but I’m still sharing the highlights with you.

Before I start, let me say that I LOVE the U. S. A. (that’s me below wearing a flag dress in support of a friend who became a US citizen a few years ago). Yes, it has its problems (which, frankly, are too many to name here), but it’s my home and there is nothing like 4 years in Germany to make me want to get back to Texas as often (or as fast) as I can and re-embrace American culture to it’s fullest.

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Proud to be an American!

First stop, Target, where I prefer to go on a Sunday at 8am to avoid the masses and shop with ease. I can pick up my decaf-coconut milk latte from the Starbucks inside and sip it while I browse the endless aisles for a new summer skirt, batteries, mascara, and a bottle of wine. Oh, scratch that. Despite that I can bring my concealed and loaded handgun into a Target in Texas, I can’t buy a bottle of wine before noon on Sunday. That law’s been on the books way too long in my opinion.

After shopping for the essentials, I headed out for lunch. Being on vacation means eating out and eating to excess. So, it was off to Chuy’s with the family, where the overindulgence began with the endless basket of chips and ended with the Elvis Presley Memorial Combo. In between – don’t mind if I do – I treated myself to a Mexican martini, maybe two, because it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. Even though I can’t buy alcohol from a store on a Sunday morning, I can still buy it from a restaurant. Bottoms up, y’all!

Once I’d consumed more calories in one meal than I typically consume over several days at home, I waddled to my car. (This is the only thing non-American about my trip. My mom, born and raised in Texas, does not drive an SUV. She drives a Toyota. Oh, Mother!) This is a driver’s paradise – highways, toll roads, and long commutes. There’s no walking or cycling or taking a bus in my hometown. Don’t make me laugh! These modes of transportation are a lost cause unless you live downtown and want to grocery shop exclusively at Whole Foods, which you probably can afford to do if you live downtown. Even in your immediate neighborhood, you drive. Going down the block to pick up your prescription at Walgreens? Get in your car. Want to take the kids to the neighborhood park three streets over? Get in your car. My mother-in-law told me she drives her car to pick up her mail. From her mailbox. On her property.

No trip home is complete without going to the mall. In my defense, I’m perfectly happy to do all my shopping at Target, but my 6-year old daughter demanded a trip to the mall, and who am I to deny her the occasional shopping spree.  I figure it’s never too early to start promoting consumer debt and acquiring more stuff, so let’s go shopping! The beauty of the mall is that I can uphold these American ways of life (acquisition and debt) while munching on a giant pretzel and contemplating whether or not to get my teeth whitened at a kiosk that is conveniently located next to the pretzel stand. I love the U.S.A!

At some point, I’m finally able to drop off my daughter with my mom and have some ‘me’ time. This is one of the greatest perks of visiting home – free babysitting 24/7. Normally, my daughter would use this opportunity to park herself in front of a TV, something we try to curtail at home. This is apparently a concept that’s lost on grandparents. Luckily for me, however,my sister-in-law had her first daughter a few months ago. So on this trip, Emmy preferred to play with her adorable 6 month-old cousin instead of being glued to a screen. As a result of this, whenever I returned from whatever it was that I was doing, Emmy would beg me to have another child or let her get a dog (bless her little heart, she’s really not picky) so that she could have a playmate. In hindsight, maybe it would have been better to let her watch TV.

Childless, I headed out to see my girlfriends. Four of us went to get Botox from my friend Kristin, who works for a plastic surgeon. If you’ll recall from my post a few weeks ago, I’ve entered a new stage in life, which mostly sucks. But, it sucks slightly less since I got neurotoxin injected into my face. And, what an awesome experience to do it with my tribe. Going with my girlfriends ensured not only a temporary face-lift from the Botox but also a flab workout from the laughter.

(Postscript: I’m just slightly bitter that Diana, below, didn’t need any Botox. You bitch, you’re older than me. Look like it already! Just kidding. You’re beautiful, and I love you.)

 Diana

The beautiful Diana (who has no wrinkles and needs no Botox)

The girlfest continued. Thank you, Laura, for hosting a Girls Night In. This was a Saturday event that started early and involved about 10 of my good friends. We drank aperitifs and ate appetizers. We sat outside under a barbed wire chandelier that Laura made (she’s an amazingly talented artist). The chandelier hung from a mountain laurel tree, which was in full bloom and smelled heavenly. We ate a fabulous dinner paired with great wine and the conversation was full of love and laughter. After dinner, and more wine, we played an obnoxious round of Cards Against Humanity (that game cannot be anything but obnoxious), and then headed back inside to finish the night with drunken karaoke. Juanita killed it. Oh my goddess, it was such fun.

Around 2am, I crawled into bed at Laura’s house. Her guest room, my room for the night, is what we lovingly refer to as the Dead Animal room, a moniker acquired when my daughter and I stayed there this summer. Lying in bed staring up at the ceiling and walls, my daughter asked me, “Mommy, why are there so many dead animals in here? It’s kind of scary.” Laura’s husband is a hunter, and the walls of this room are covered with deer skulls and antlers and pelts and taxidermied ducks. So when my daughter, who watches the sidewalk to ensure she doesn’t step on pill bugs, asked this, I felt a little badly because honestly, I hadn’t even noticed the carcasses in my field of vision. Taxidermy is Texas decorating de rigueur, so I just chalked it up to being back home. But, Emmy’s home is Germany, so she’s less oblivious to these decorating choices than I am.

IMG_7989 Laura, the hostess with the mostest, among her taxidermy IMG_7988

Laura, the hostess with the mostest, between some of her taxidermy decor

The rest of the week in Austin continued much like this. Twelve days of Texas. Twelve days of shopping, overeating, drinking, visiting friends, and staying up late. By the time it ended, I needed to get back home and detox.

Austin, it was fun, and I love you, but I’m not sure I can sustain my spring break lifestyle anymore. Tattoos and a Cops episode might be easier on me.

Change the World By Changing How You View the World

Too often, we immediately judge or have preconceived ideas about people.

“She’s obviously lazy.”

“The guy that just honked at me is a jerk.”

“Those people can’t be trusted.”

“They just shouldn’t be allowed to get married.”

Who hasn’t said something like this at some point in time without even knowing the person or his situation?

We draw automatic conclusions about people based on their race, culture, country of origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, political persuasion, religious affiliation, and the list goes on and on. When we make these snap judgments, we further segregate ourselves, our “kind”, from everyone who is not like us. It’s a cycle that perpetuates closed-mindedness and stereotyping. And when we allow this to happen again and again and we don’t challenge our own thinking or that of others, the stereotyping becomes institutionalized. It becomes policy, and it breeds fear and hatred.

mississippi

Image courtesy of BBomerinDenial (morguefile.com)

That’s heavy stuff, but I have a small idea that each of us can try to enact and make a difference. Here it is. Change the world by changing how you view the world.

I recently read a book by Jesuit priest Greg Boyle. For the past 3 decades, he has worked as a parish priest in the gang-infested community of Boyle Heights, the poorest community in Los Angeles (click here and here for info and short videos on the amazing work he has done ). He writes of one instance where his church, the Dolores Mission, decided to become a shelter for undocumented workers. The men, who were homeless, could come and sleep at the church at night. Over time, a certain odor began to permeate the church from the homeless men. Some of the parishioners complained, and Father Boyle decided to address the issue. This is from his book.

 

I start the homily one day with, “What’s the church smell like?”

People are mortified, eye contact ceases, women are searching inside their purses for they know not what.

“Come on, now,” I throw back at them, “what’s the church smell like?”

“Huele a patas” (smells like feet), Don Rafael booms out. He was old and never cared what people thought.

“Excellent. But why does it smell like feet?”

“Cuz many homeless men slept here last night?” says a woman.

“Well, why do we let that happen here?”

“Es nuestro compromiso” (It’s what we’ve committed to do), says another.

“Well, why would anyone commit to do that?”

“Porque es lo que haria Jesus.” (It what’s Jesus would do).

“Well, then…what’s the church smell like now?”

A man stands and bellows, “Huele a nuestro compromiso” (it smells like commitment).

The place cheers.

Guadalupe waves her arms wildly, “Huele a rosas” (smells like roses).

The packed church roars with laughter and a newfound kinship that embraced someone else’s odor as their own. The stink in the church hadn’t changed, only how the folks saw it.

 

The world didn’t change. How these parishioners decided to view the world changed. They were able to make a shift in their thinking from revulsion to acceptance. The homeless workers became a group to embrace rather than scorn.

What would happen if we all did something similar? Imagine a person who isn’t anything like you.  Imagine the type of person you might see on the street or on TV to whom you would have a negative, knee jerk reaction without even knowing the person. Someone who is homeless, a born again Christian, black, an Arab, a lesbian, tattooed, a Republican, whoever that different person is.

What if instead of immediately judging him or her, we made an assumption of goodness on that person’s behalf? What would happen if we didn’t attribute an automatic, negative trait to that person, who we don’t even know? And, instead, we chose to recognize the common humanity that we both share, the fundamental oneness we have because we are both human beings, living this life with our own struggles and experiences.

I think we could change the world if we changed our view of the world. Let’s give it a try.

men_sitting copy

Image courtesy of hotblack (morguefile.com)

I used this mantra this week after finishing Father Boyle’s book, and it seems appropriate here. May I have unlimited compassion and unqualified kindness for all beings.

Think it. Say it. Live it.

Peace, y’all.

hands-compassion

Image courtesy of jclk8888 (morguefile.com)

Boyle, Gregory. Tattoos on the Heart. New York: Free Press, 2010.

Random Things on the Web I Dig Right Now (April 2015)

Have a great day image

Image courtesy of kakisky (morguefile.com)

  1. The Greater Good Science Center 

The Greater Good Science Center (GGSC), part of UC-Berkeley, sponsors research on what I would collectively call positive psychology. It also provides resources from this research – reader friendly articles, videos, free online courses, and original research articles – to the general public. Using the core themes of gratitude, altruism, compassion, empathy, forgiveness, happiness, and mindfulness, the GGSC is a wealth of science-based information on how to live a more meaningful life. Since I am all Up With Me! and a science nerd, I’m totally into this.

I’m not really sure how I first came across the GGSC website, but some time last year I noticed they were offering a free, online Science of Happiness course, and I signed up. I was in a mental space where I needed to be thinking about and improving my well being and working on my emotional resilience. This course helped me stay on course. It was 8 weeks of video lectures, readings, quizzes and tests, and a class forum. In other words, it took time, but it was worth it as I gained some  new insights and tools tools for how to be happy independent of any external condition.

Check it out and see if the GGSC doesn’t offer something for you.

 

  1. University of Wisconsin Integrative Medicine and Department of Family Medicine’s Detoxification to Promote Health Program

First, let me say that I have never ever done a cleanse or a detox in my life. I am incredibly wary of “diets” that require you to buy special supplements, eat only 1 thing, or last for longer than my will power (which is to say not long). Besides the fact that I don’t think there are any scientific data to support that detox cleanses actually do anything for the body. Having said all that, I just spent 2 weeks in the States completely overindulging in Mexican food and alcohol. I was feeling tired, bloated, and gross before the trip was over, and I knew I needed some kind of detox when I got back to Germany.

So I poked around on the interwebs and found this 7-day, self-guided detox created and used by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine (read: my idea of a pretty credible source). The diet component of this detox is basically the following: eat vegan and cut out caffeine, alcohol, and added sugar for 7 days. That seems both rational and do-able, especially since I have mostly cut out caffeine because of my perimenopausal madness. The regimen also recommends getting 2 enemas during those 7 days  (oh, hell no!) and using a sauna and/or getting massages (oh, hell yes!).

But, what I really love about this detox is that it addresses the mind as well as the body. In addition to the diet component, the detox encourages exercise, self-reflection, and journaling as part of the cleanse. Even better, the website provides self-reflection writing exercises (55 pages worth) and meditation guides. It’s free therapy and a spa in one. I’m sold.

I’m currently on Day 4 of the plan, so I’ll check back in with y’all later and let you know how I fared when it’s all over. Right now, I need to schedule a massage.

Veggies image

Image courtesy of MaxStraeten (morguefile.com)

I’m All Out There – Mental and Physical Stretch Marks and All

A few months ago, I started this blog with a scheduling goal of posting 2-3 times a week. Well, with my full time job working on myself, the full time job that actually pays me a salary, plus raising my 6 year old and sustaining a marriage, within 2 months, I changed my goal to something slightly more realistic, posting once a week. Then I went on vacation. Last week, week 1 of vacation, I managed to write a post, but now this week is almost over and I’ve posted nothing.

Then…epic save. My very first every guest post submission was accepted on MindBodyGreen, and it’s live today. Yay me!

When I started the blog, I contacted about 50 people with whom I shared the site. I didn’t email everyone I know, didn’t tell all my family members, didn’t post on Facebook, and certainly didn’t bring it up at work. Honestly, I was nervous, because I was putting it all out there. You all know that. I write about the darkest times of my depression, my 2 hospitalizations, and my drinking. I even posted a photo of my stretch-marked stomach, for crying out loud. Do I want everyone seeing that? My life challenges are recorded, on the Internet, in perpetuity. Given the small number of people who know my blog, who know me, I was okay with that exposure.

True, I also talk about my growth, personal transformation, and self-nourishing practices, but that’s not the scary stuff. That’s the good stuff. Well, life isn’t always made of good stuff. There are lots of times when it’s really hard and times when it really sucks. And I think it’s important that we talk about those times just as much as we talk about the other times. If we don’t, then how do we ever feel connected? How do we ever know we’re not alone when we’re going through what we’re going through?

So now my real name and real picture are out there and associated with the blog. My mental and physical stretch marks are available for all to see. And, that’s okay, because this is what I write about. This is who I am, and, I’m sharing it with y’all (and  everyone else on Earth).

 

The Power of a Mantra

When I meditate, I often repeat a mantra. The words I say are specific to what I’m going through at the time, and they speak to what it is I want to make manifest or an intention that I hope to set into motion that day. I do this, but part of me wonders if this is just wishful thinking or if there is anything more to it. Does saying these words actually bring about change?

It turns out that many studies validate the benefits of self-affirming mantras. Writing or speaking self-affirming mantras provides psychological immunity much in the same way that vaccinations provide biological immunity. They have the ability to boost self-esteem, buffer against stressors, and help form adaptive responses to difficult situations. In other words, self-affirmations are catalysts for change, allowing you to tap into your psychological resources and effectively deal with what life hurls at you.

But how exactly do you self-affirm? A common self-affirmation activity is to reflect on core, personal values. Writing or talking about why your values are important to you and how they influence your life helps you develop emotional resilience. For example, one of my values  is health – mental and physical. This is important to me, because I suffer from depression. I also have a family history of diabetes and I have a difficult relationship with alcohol. I need to be healthy. And, while it’s something I want for myself,  it’s something that, when I have it, also improves the relationships in my life. When I’m healthy, I feel better, my marriage is better, and my relationship with my daughter is better. So, I might speak a self-affirming mantra like, “I do things that nourish my body and my mind.” Saying this during my meditation time and then repeating it throughout the day helps serve to right any veering off course I might do (like drink a third glass of wine).

But, it turns out that the mantra has to be fine-tuned, because the way you phrase an affirmation influences its efficacy. Framing the words in the interrogative form (“May I”) rather than the declarative form (“I will) apparently makes a big, old, statistically significant difference in achieving what you want. So I would rephrase my mantra to “May I do things that nourish my body and my mind.” Reflecting on these words, I think of what this means for me. Nourishing my body and my mind, in concrete terms, means that I take my meds, exercise, drink lots of water, eat lots of vegetables, and meditate. I know that I am more balanced and feel better when I engage in these types of activities.

 Mantra Power

The idea that a self-affirming mantra can be an agent for transformation, that this has been proven scientifically, means that a small change can reap enormous rewards. So start thinking about your values, and crafting your own mantras. Speak them, repeat them, and invite positive change to happen in your life.

 

The Science Behind the Affirmation:

G.L. Cohen and D.K. Sherman. The Psychology of Change: Self-Affirmation and Social Psychological Intervention Annu. Rev. Psychol. 2014. 65:333–71.

Senay, D. Albarracin, and K. Noguchi. Motivating goal-directed behavior through introspective self-talk: the role of the interrogative form of simple future tense. Psychol Sci. 2010. 21(4):499-50.

Helpful Sites for Crafting Affirmations:

http://www.the-guided-meditation-site.com/how-to-write-affirmations.html

http://unitycounsellingservice.co.uk/positive-affirmations-use-self-talk-create-want/