Positive Affirmation and Mindset In Pregnancy
So I wanted to write today about mindset and about positive affirmations for pregnancy, labour and birth. Positive affirmation are one of the many techniques and tools we use in hypnobirthing, and I often use positive affirmations in my pregnancy yoga classes too.
Positive affirmations are a great way to start thinking about mindset in pregnancy. This is so important, really actually more important than any physical work you may do to prepare. They are brilliant to build confidence and to release fear, and are simple yet effective and everyone can start using them straight away - wherever you are in your pregnancy.
So how do positive affirmations work?
Positive affirmations work by reprogramming your subconscious mind, and filling it up slowly but surely with positive words, phrases and thinking. Everyone has a conscious mind and a subconscious mind, your subconscious mind is like your hard drive - it logs all of your life experiences for you. As you go through life it takes in everything we see, hear and read about birth, even if we don’t know it has (because its in our subconscious). So everything from books, films, tv and the media or stories about birth people have told us. And we have a lot of stuff that isn’t true in our subconscious mind – doubts, guilts, fears, things we are told we 'should' feel. They have built up over time from this information we have taken into our hard drives without us even knowing it. So when we think about birth, we might feel quite worried, quite negative and have some fears about it.
But you can change your subconscious mind by reprogramming with other stuff. So if you reprogramme your subconscious mind with positive things – images, words, feelings then it starts to change how you think and how you experience the world around you. It’s such a simple thing. It doesn’t involve loads of money, you don’t have to read a whole book, it’s something you can do yourself every day and tailor it for you and how you feel. So we can fill our subconscious mind with positive things about pregnancy, labour and birth instead - and one way is with positive affirmations (there are lots more ways too that we look at in my complete birth preparation and hypnobirthing courses)
We have a tendency as humans to focus on the negative, we have what's called a 'negativity bias'. Our capacity to weigh negative input so heavily is most likely evolved for a good reason— to keep us out of harm's way. From the dawn of human history, our very survival depended on our skill at dodging danger. So we need to FLIP negative things on their head, change our internal voice, change how you feel about things and what you feel you are capable – you can change all this with a change of your thoughts. Instead of thinking ‘I can’t do that’, ‘I shouldn’t be doing that’, ‘ should have done this’ you can starting thinks 'I can do this', 'My body can do that', 'I am able to do this'
The more we repeat the positive words, the more we feel them and believe them. When we change our thoughts and change the feeling we can also change the physiological response in our bodies. We reduce adrenaline and stress hormones and we produce more of the good hormones the oxytocin (more about the important of oxytocin here on my For Modern Mothers YouTube channel). We can also change the way we act as well, and how we deal with what happening.
It's why sports people use this technique, they repeat positive affirmations as part of their quest for a positive mindset. For example marathon runners often have marathon mantras like "Hills are my friend", or "Think strong, be strong, finish strong", and one of the most legendary sports people of all time Mohammad Ali had probably the famous positive affirmation of all "I am the greatest".
So how to use positive affirmations?
Well there are lots of different ways, it's finding what works for you best. For example I have these cards that I give 24 cards to all my hypnobirthing couples (in the pic below). These are some of my favourites, and they cover phrases like "I am strong", "I am happily and healthily pregnant", "I honour my changing body" and "I am calm".
You then can either pick a card each morning to start your day, and you repeat it 3 times over in your head or say it out loud. You can carry it with you if you like through the day. And then you do the same thing again before you go to sleep. So you start and end each day with positive thoughts.
You can also listen to positive affirmations them, and I again on the hypnobirthing and birth preparation course is an mp3 for you to download and listen to. You can also get a free Positive Affirmations video on my YouTube channel too www.formodernmothers.video
·Or you can simply write out your positive affirmations yourself, perhaps on post-it notes around the house (like on the kettle or on a mirror), or have them as your screen saver on your phone, tablet or computer at work, some people make bunting. You can print then out and colour them in too (a great little mindful colouring practice), and you can also have them around your birth space when the time comes - whether at home, birth centre or hospital.
You can take a different card each day, or you can choose one affirmation that’s good for you, one that resonates and keep using that one, repeating it to yourself like a mantra. You can work back from a worry or fear, and turn that around to helps you feel positive instead. For example if you are worry about an induction, you may have the affirmation "My baby will come when its ready", or if you are worried about tearing you may have "my body is designed to birth my baby".
The repetition of the positive affirmation is the key.
And if you are using a positive affirmation to overcome a worry or a concern, then simply when you notice that you mind has hooked onto that worry or concern, you notice its happened, let that negative worry go, and repeat the positive affirmation. Because you negative worry is just a thought, it's not real. This rewires your brain, via neuroplasticity. So you do this every time. And eventually this negative thought appears less and less, and maybe stops altogether.
How to create your own positive affirmations
So you can write your own positive affirmation that really resonate with you. Your positive affirmation or affirmations will be personal to you. Trust it’s the message you need. And then change it to a new one when you need to. Don’t worry about anyone else. Home in at where you are at – right now. What your heart really needs (not what you think you should write).
So if you fancy creating your own positive affirmations... watch this intro then grab a piece of paper & brainstorm things in your life that feel negative (yes, start there!) - but turn it on its head. Instead of saying “I am unhealthy” write down “I am healthy.” Use ALL positive words, no negative words. Use ‘I’ or ‘we’ or 'my' – it’s about yourself, and write them either in the present or the future tense, so it's very real and is or will happen.
Jot down as many as you can think of in the following areas: emotional & physical wellbeing, motherhood, your pregnancy body, parenthood, Now pick your best affirmations, write them on a card, doodle around them & make them look fab. Put them on the wall & repeat to yourself as often as you feel like.
Positive affirmations. They are so simple, but so powerful. Great for when you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed. and they are used by top sports people, used by business people – they are not just for pregnancy.
Trust in the power of the projection. It may feel weird using mantra for the first time, but trust in the process and give it time. They are powerful , you CAN change your birth by changing your mindset.
So that's positive affirmations and mindset for pregnancy and birth. I'll be writing more about mindset for pregnancy and birth in some future blog posts. There is also a video all about positive affirmations over on my For Modern Mothers YouTube channel too, so do check it out its a great resource - www.formodernmothers.video
Do let me know if you have any comments or questions. I'm also delighted to help you in any way I can. Or hop over to see me on my For Modern Mothers Facebook page here www.facebook.com/formodernmothers