Intuitive Motherhood and Anxiety

Monday, March 13, 2017

Do you struggle with knowing the difference between worry and intuition? You're not alone.

As a mom who has postpartum anxiety, I know exactly how it feels to question almost every thought. Some days it is really hard for me to be an intuitive mom with all the noise that comes with anxiety. I stress about all the "what ifs" - what if my kids don't have friends? What if my baby dies in the middle of the night? What if I am a horrible mom and I don't even know it? Those thoughts (and the strange way they just jut themselves into my mind uninvited) make it so hard for me to trust myself.

One of my biggest questions when I have thoughts concerning my kids or my motherhood is "Do I actually need to pay attention to this, or is it something my brain just made up?". It can be exhausting for me to have to really mull over each thought every time, so I came up with a way to quickly determine the difference between an intuitive and anxious thought. I want to share it in hopes that it helps other moms who struggle like I do.

Thought identification characteristics

Intuitive thoughts are SAFE. Safe thoughts are:
  • Solution-based. These thoughts give reasonable answers to questions. They solve a problem or provide insight that is informative and helpful. These thoughts make me feel like I'm having an "ah-ha!" moment or that there is a "light" at the end of my figurative "tunnel".
  • Active. I feel inspired to act. I have a clear plan to actually do something. Even if that "something" is nothing, like allowing a natural consequence to occur, my actions are thought out and intentional.
  • From the inside out. When a thought is intuitive, it feels true to myself. I don't question if it is right or genuine. I feel like I am making an impact on the world and I am working together with the people in my life to progress.
  • Encouraging. I feel comforted and peaceful when I have these thoughts. My body feels calm and at rest. I feel comfortable sharing my thoughts with others.
Anxious thoughts are a big NOPE. Nope thoughts are:
  • Negative. I feel worried and uncomfortable when these thoughts come into my mind. My body feels tight and tense. My breathing is shallow and I feel like there is not enough air. I feel scared of either whatever I'm thinking about, scared of myself, or maybe both. I feel ashamed and I hesitate to share my thoughts and fears with others, even if they may be able to help me.
  • Obsessive. There is no end to these thoughts. No matter how much I resent thinking them, these thoughts continue to come into my mind and eventually spiral into worst-case scenarios and far-fetched, unlikely possibilities.
  • Passive. I feel helpless. I think there is nothing I can do to either stop thinking about my fears or find a reasonable solution to alleviate them. I feel like I'm watching a scary movie that I know how to turn off, but can't.
  • Enter from the outside in. I feel like the world is pressing in on me. I constantly worry about gaining approval from others like family members, friends, strangers at the grocery store. I feel like there are standards that I am pressured to meet (or else), even if they are impossible, irrational, or perfectionist in nature.

How thought identification helps you

Running your thoughts through the SAFE and NOPE identification process empowers you to objectively observe your inner self and be an active participant in your motherhood. Instead of being victim to ingrained patterns of negativity and worry, you can create an inner landscape of peace. When you feel peaceful and properly equipped with tools for success, you can make positive and healthy decisions for yourself and your family. 

A peaceful and empowered mom is a force to be reckoned with.

Take it with you!

Want a printable copy of the SAFE and NOPE identification process? Click here to download my cute free printable made just for you!

Share with me, mamas!

Do you have a thought identification process or tips that work for you? I want to hear about it! You never know - maybe your way will help another mom!

*Please note: I am not a doctor or licensed mental health professional. This post should not be considered medical advice. It is only to be used as a self-help solution. All questions and concerns about mental health should be discussed with licensed health care providers.
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