Homeschool mama self-care means that I recognize how my thoughts are influencing me.
Researchers say we have 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day. That sounds like plenty of thoughts, but I know that some of these thoughts are not all that inspiring.
- “Remember to take Vitamin B12.”
- “Get the kids to take their Vitamin D.”
- “How’d this plate break?”
- “Could you please stop fighting already?”
- “Oh my goodness, he’s growing up…my baby’s growing up!” (this thought occurs every November 7–my baby is 11 now).”
- “I really need to stop eating Halloween candy. It’s January.”
- “I should really go to bed earlier.”
So many thoughts, so little time.
Wait. I’ll just repeat those exact thoughts tomorrow.
I don’t often spend time thinking about how I’m affecting my own thinking.
My thoughts might arise from my inborn predisposition, or influenced by traumatic events, or influenced by formative people in my childhood, or the culture that I live in, or a convincing person, or my Enneagram or Meyers Briggs personality type. A lot of possibilities.
I have learned I could think differently about pretty much anything in life. I have learned this by talking to other people that don’t think like me. Which has happened a lot, since I have travelled plenty, owned a bed and breakfast, and enjoy listening to people’s stories and perspectives, especially people that don’t think like me.
All this confirms that the world is not filled with people that think like me and we come by our perspectives, our thoughts, differently.
Yet those people still want similar things: life purpose, ability to act on that purpose, community connection, to feel understood, and to understand others.
Yet, still, we humans aren’t identical and we don’t think identically either. But we do all have uncomfortable feelings.
Some of our thoughts are uncomfortable and we would rather not have them.
You know, those thoughts: feeling angry, feeling overwhelmed, feeling despair or depressed, feeling uncertain or confused, feeling….you fill in the blank.
Dr. Daniel Amen, author of Brain Health, first introduced me to a series of questions that help put all uncomfortable feelings in perspective.
Really? All of them, you ask.
Actually, yes. But I’m hardly saying there isn’t a reason to feel depressed or angry for reasons. We are human beings, in fact, and human beings feel a whole bunch of feelings. But a lot of our uncomfortable feelings would benefit with self-examination which can give us perspective.
First question: “Is what I’m thinking true?”
Usually, I’d answer, “Yes of course,” to that question. “Of course it’s true, why else would I be thinking it?
Second question: “Can I, with one hundred percent certainty, know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my thought is true? What if I had a different perspective on it?”
Hmmm, maybe that would change the outcome to my assumption. Okay, I’m thinking about other possibilities now.
But the third question is the clincher.
“What if there is a different way of thinking about things? How would a different thought affect how I approach my situation? And how might that affect the outcome?”
I later discovered these questions were not unique to this well-known brain doctor, Daniel Amen. These questions were part of a psychological approach to cognitive therapy, psychology stuff. Therapy stuff. Stuff you pay a hundred bucks for.
Caveat: Sometimes you need a friend to sift through your thoughts. And sometimes you need to spend that hundred dollars.
Mantras aren’t a magic bullet to thought utopia. But they are definitely daily influencers to my homeschool parenting approach.
This is the morning mantra the kids and I have repeated before our studies for years. The kids have their version of sign language to accommodate these words. Sounds like a familiar scripture verse, reminding us to think on pure, kind, lovely thoughts.
Our thoughts influence our practical, tangible experiences, so consider each one.