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The Voice in Our Head

Mother playing with her baby on the bed. Both the mother and the baby are smiling.

By Dr. Tina Parikh, Pharm.D.

 

Am I a good mom? Have I failed as a mom because I can’t nurse my baby. Jenny lost all her baby weight so why can’t I? And the list goes on. When we think of kindness, we think of doing nice things for others but oftentimes we neglect being kind to ourselves. Does the voice in your head say more positive things about you or negative? For most of us, that chatter in our head contains a lot of negative self talk, especially as mothers. Now let's take a step back. Our bodies just performed a miracle by creating a human being, carrying it for months, and bringing it out into the real world. Post-delivery, we’re sleep deprived, spending our waking hours feeding our baby, changing diapers, and trying to recharge ourselves . Simultaneously, our bodies are readjusting to a new normal with hormonal and weight changes. That’s a whole lot going on. Why are we adding even more stress by putting ourselves down? Give yourself a break and let’s start being kinder to ourselves!


Negative self talk can have a negative impact on our mental and physical health. It has been linked to higher rates of stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also decrease motivation, lower self esteem, and impair performance in various tasks. On the other hand, positive self talk and optimism has been shown to provide greater resistance to the common cold, improve heart health, and better coping skills.

Now that we know the harmful effects of negative self-talk, what can we do about it? How can we change it? Let me introduce the 3 S’s. See it. Stop it. Switch it. First is identifying when or in what situations negative self talk occurs. For example, is it typically when you’re scrolling through social media or in certain social situations or when you’re around specific people? Identify negativity, such as FOMO, jealousy, envy, or fear, as it’s happening. Next, stop it as it's happening or prevent it from happening by following a healthy lifestyle. Exercising can help reduce stress and improve mood. Last is switching from negative to positive thoughts by the use of affirmations. You are a strong and caring mother so why not say them to yourself throughout the day? Use whatever positive affirmations work for you and the specific scenarios that run through your mind. Another way to switch thoughts is rephrasing them. Seeing them through another lens. For example, if you’re a working mom and feeling inadequate for not spending enough time with your child, you can see it as setting a great example of hard work, pursuing your own passion, and what it looks like to be a strong, independent mom. You can also focus your thoughts on the quality time that you do spend with your child. Focus on the positive and don’t dwell on the negative.

Be kind to yourself. Our mind and body performs in miraculous ways by creating a human being and being able to take on life’s stressors. If you tend to have a negative outlook, don’t expect to become an optimist overnight, but with continuous practice, you’ll be able to develop a more positive voice in your head. Positive self-talk is self-care. Remember that your body just performed a miracle so take care of it. You deserve it!

 

Dr. Tina Parikh is a Clinical Pharmacist, Certified Health & Wellness Coach, and amma360 Scientific Advisory Board Member. Tina found her purpose through providing nutritional health and wellness guidance to her fellow moms. She is the founder of Refresh + Rise Coaching and Consulting, and of course, an amma.

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