Practicing the importance of gratitude and positive self-talk to embracing neuroplasticity and fostering an "I can" attitude does not come easy to me. Below, you will find the ten habits that help me: it is never perfect, it is never always, it pulses in and out, and that is okay.
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Embrace the power of shifting from a "scarcity mindset" to an "abundant mindset" to bring positivity into your life and family.
Practice gratitude with genuine emotions and feelings to amplify the impact of this simple yet effective technique.
Cultivate an "I can" attitude, replacing negative self-talk with empowering affirmations to fuel growth and success in your life and your children's lives.
Scarcity: the state of being scarce or in short supply; shortage
Abundance: a very large quantity of something
Mindset: the established set of attitudes held by someone
Neuroplasticity: the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience or following injury
I remember the first time I did mindset work. Becoming aware of this practice has forever changed my life. Learning how to stay grounded in the phrase “I can…” instead of the “I can’t…” is probably the main reason I am still doing the work I’m doing and really the only reason you’re here reading this blog. Releasing myself from what is coined a “scarcity mindset” has been a total lifesaver. I have always felt comfortable helping children adopt this mindset but had no idea that it would become so much easier when I did the work myself!
Our brains have a negative bias. The reason why we have this bias makes complete sense. In order to stay safe from danger, our brains have developed a strong sensitivity to negative events. Thank you brain- keep us safe!
We desire this safety feature when walking by ourselves at night. Our brain is constantly scanning and decoding information with the goal of getting us to our destination safely. Yes, neuroscience for the win!
But when facing a difficult challenge, this predisposition to negative will also kick in as a way to save us from the threat of stress/failure. Think about when you receive negative feedback, watch the news or any political smear campaign. Ugh, neuroscience for the unnecessary save.
Our brains, along with the external feedback we receive, can help set the mindset of “not good enough.” This is why adopting a more positive outlook or abundant mindset is critical. Research shows that there is a strong ratio of positive : negative interactions to ensure a positive outcome. That ratio is 5:1. Five positive interactions for every negative one.
But the good news is neuroplasticity. With practice and guidance, mindsets can shift, and a more positive/abundant mindset can help boost the results in your life and family!
Below are TEN ways to help foster a more abundant mindset.
It is time to get quiet and notice your thoughts. What’s the inner dialogue going on when facing stress? If you are using the phrases “I can’t,” “I’m not smart enough,” “I’m broke and can’t,” and “This will never change,” it is a strong indicator that there are some scarcity beliefs running the show.
For me, this shows up as my inner bully coming out. I notice what I’m telling myself, and then I consciously ask, “Is this the real MegAnne or the scared MegAnne talking?”
I remember every Fall doing the basic crafts of gratitude with the children in my class. I would ask, “What are you grateful for?” and then write down their answers. Often, it was “My family!” but randomly, there would be answers like “My pink hairband!”, “My puppy lovey for nap!” “Macaroni and Cheese!”.
Those nontraditional answers always got the most notice and giggles when the artwork was displayed in the hallway. Why? Who knows, but I think it’s because they seemed outrageous. Silly and not real. Which I would strongly disagree with for me- in dictating the answers, I got to see who just answered the question and who answered the question.
What I loved is seeing the look in the eyes of the children answering it. The 100% fully answered the question with honesty. So ask yourself- what are you TRULY grateful for? Write it down. Repeat daily.
When starting a business, an early exercise you do is set up your brand words.
What words do you want your brand to convey, and then you practice creating that environment for your customers? My words are “Kind,” “Empowered,” “Trust,” “Connection,” and “Respect.” By doing this exercise, I can clearly stay true to my mission of “Helping parents feel like the superhero of their family.”
I love to ask anyone who will entertain the question what their brand words for their life are. Often, we live our lives on a set of obligations and expectations set to us, a way to stay in the empowered role is getting clear on what YOU want to bring in your life.
Often, when we set out on a task, it is very product-oriented. Most of us are programmed this way from attending formal education. “Here are the directions. Follow them, get the A.” This becomes the process for us. If you want X, do the steps to get X, and you will receive X. Outside of math class, I’ve never seen this play out perfectly. I am the first to share that, more often, this process blocks out so many other opportunities because it “wasn’t part of the plan.” Take a peek at this Harvard Study- hilarious exercise.
Stay grounded in your purpose and allow for multiple ways to get there!
Perfection is a myth. The idea of perfection keeps many amazing projects and stories from happening. Without mistakes, we would not know how to walk, use the bathroom, drive, or have penicillin! Instead of discounting these as “mistakes,” “accidents,” or “missteps,” what if we asked ourselves, “What did we learn?” “What would we change?” “How can we grow?” this takes the pressure off of us and our children from being perfect and embracing that mistakes are opportunities to learn without fear!
Being aware of what we say not only out loud but to ourselves can change what we invite into our lives. Recently, I was stuck in a negative pothole. I was extremely critical of myself and feeling so low that I couldn’t release the feelings.
I spent some time around supportive friends, and a friend did a Tarot reading for me. She pulled a card as my obstacle, and the card was “cruelty.” She shared that externally, I was facing some cruel things happening, but she suspected that I was being equally cruel to myself. It brought me to tears because I realized that I was being a bully to myself.
Not outwardly. I was shining bright and showing my positive self, but internally, I was ripping myself apart. Check out tip #10 on how I’ve been working on changing my inner bully.
Carol Dweck (https://amzn.to/3s6deCs) has a fabulous study where she gave 400 fifth-grade students a series of tests to check on how they would respond to praise and encouragement. What she found is that when saying more praise-centered feedback, “You’re so smart!”, “I’m so proud of your score!” “You did a good job!” children started to identify themselves based on their scores. She also discovered that when facing a failure, these children would get highly agitated and even resort to cheating to ensure a better score. She designated this a “fixed mindset.”
The other group of children received encouragement in the form of sayings such as “You worked really hard!”, “You are a hard worker!”, “I’m impressed with your determination to finish the task.” What she discovered is that children were more accepting of their failures and mistakes when the focus was more on their effort. It allowed for space to “work harder” while being enough, whole, and loved. She labeled this as a “growth mindset.”
This is by far my favorite study to share with the parents and teachers I coach. It’s just knowing that praise is inherently good. Just staying mindful of what is being reinforced can make all the difference!
I love working with children. In every professional situation, it was never the children that irritated me. It was ALWAYS the adults. The adults were the toxic ones. Adults who didn’t know how to gain control and respect any other way but by using fear and force. But the children kept it fun, light, and safe.
Children have this way of taking in the world in such a way that I think adults could learn from it. They ask questions to gain clarity. They are constantly reading the room to find a solution to their problem. They have a determination like no other to achieve their goal. They are open, willing, and curious.
As a coach, this is a practice I adopt in my sessions. Resist judgment and stay curious. There is always something to learn from the person in front of you. I just become a person who can ask questions for perspective, allow space for accountability, and help gain clarity on how to take new steps.
Focusing on the positive is hard work at first. When we are working against our biology, it takes support, accountability, and PRACTICE! Learning to use tools like journaling, meditating, and saying affirmations can all help aid in this practice. I like to say that when we remove a behavior, we need to replace that behavior. It’s not enough to simply say, “I will no longer bully myself.” we need to replace that with what TO DO! “I will no longer bully myself, and when I notice I’m being extra critical, I will go say ten affirmations in the mirror.”
If this practice is proving more difficult for you, perhaps bringing in some support would be a great strategy to employ. A parenting coach, like me, is just someone to help jumpstart this process. I help set the path to help you reach your goals, but I can not do the work for you. But my clients do get my cell phone for in-the-moment spot texting, so I can stay with you when you’re trying new things.
This is a new practice for me. I used to think affirmations and mantras were stupid. Little did I know, there is some pretty awesome research that proves this work is not stupid.
I used them all the time with children to help them overcome their fears. Fears like potty training, writing their names, tying their shoes, and eating new foods- moments that call for just a boost of encouragement and space to practice. Some of my favorites to teach children are: “I can do hard things” and “I will listen to my body.”. “I am flexible, resourceful, and kind.” These are just little bits they can say while facing challenges.
Doing this work myself proved to be equally as helpful. Each morning, writing out 5-10 "I am…” statements have been tremendously helpful in quieting that inner bully. A few of my favorites are “I am grateful for my clients who are ready to feel more confident in their parenting.”, “I am strong and can do hard things.” “I am open and receptive to all the wealth life offers me.”
So there it is. Ten awesome ways to start dropping the “I can’t” and embracing “I can.” Because you can do it, you are capable of doing incredible, amazing, difficult, new, unique, and impactful things with your life. And so are your children.
I remember how uncomfortable and awkward this process was for me. It required me to show up differently and try things in a different way. Which at first was tiring and difficult for me. Bringing in a business and life coach for me was the answer to help accelerate this process.
Mindset work required me to invest in something I could not see right away. I just had to trust. I had to foster my intrinsic motivation. I used to think it was dumb until I started to see the benefits play out in the relationships I kept. I was able to be empathetic, patient, and resilient quickly.
So cheers to showing up differently in your life! You can, you will, you can do hard things!
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