Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

I love my motherThis week we celebrate Mother’s Day. All over this county, moms will be receiving flowers, candy and going out to dinner. There will be special celebrations and multiple ways to honor our moms.

But this Mother’s Day, I want moms to think about the gift they give through the years when they raise their children, especially mothers who raise daughters.

One of the greatest gifts you can give your child is a mom whose identity is firm and certain. That’s right, the better you feel about yourself, the more confident you are as a woman, the better gift you give your daughter. You give the gift of a positive and strong woman identity.

How you do that has to do with Mother’s Day and honoring your own mother. No matter the state of your relationship with mom, it’s never too late to love, honor and connect with your  mom. The more you work things out with your  mom, the better mother you will be to your children. Teach by doing. Develop the “I” in “You,” because a mom who knows who she is, passes that legacy to her children.

This Mother’s Day honor your mom by working out your issues with her. Stay connected to her even when difficult issues present because you are teaching your daughter how to handle this powerful relationship. The more you work it our with your mom, the better mother you will be to your children. And that is a gift that continues to give for generations.

 

 

I love my motherI was interviewed for a magazine article on mothers and daughters from my book, I Love My Mother But… The reporter asked this question: Should mothers and their daughters be best friends? Why or why not?

Here is my answer:

The early years are characterized by more authoritative (not authoritarian) styles of mothering. You are teaching and guiding. Friendship requires an equal partnership and you are clearly not equal when you are raising her. You need to keep the lines of communication open and shift your parenting to match the developmental stage, but also provide consequences for problematic behavior.

Parenting changes through the developmental stages with different tasks required of both mom and daughters. For example, as your daughter moves more into the teen years, rather than telling her what to do, you begin to ask her what she should do and guide her choices. This is important in developing her independence. A goal in raising a daughter is to help her become her own person, but stay connected to her mom. In therapy, we call this being separate but attached.

Later in life, when young adulthood brings the kind of healthy separation and individuation a daughter has with her mom, the two begin to move to more of an adult friendship.

So early on you are not her best friend. You are guiding, shaping and teaching. As she grows into young adulthood, the relationship begins to shift into more of an equal position. You are still her mom, but you relate to her more as an adult woman with her own identity, more like a friend whose person you begin to admire.

Instead of best friends, we should be their biggest cheerleader, guide, mentor, and the one person that no matter what happens will always unconditional love and validate them for who they are.

 

Letting Go of WorryAnxiety is something we are all familiar with and sometimes struggle to overcome. Certainly, there are the therapy approaches and medications to help with anxiety. But what about lifestyle changes that lessen anxiety and may even be the root cause. Here are 10 to consider:

  1. Reduce stress: Where and when you can, this change in lifestyle goes a long way to reduce anxiety.
  2. Regular aerobic exercise: Exercise is a known anxiety reducer. Add it to your routine and feel the benefit.
  3. Time management: Anxiety is often spawned by feeling like there isn’t enough time to do all you need to do. With a little time management, you have simply reduced the stress.
  4. Adequate rest and sleep hygiene: So important to combatting anxiety that this intervention alone could find you peace.
  5. Reduce or eliminate stimulants -Caffeine can trigger anxiety as well as some medications. Take a look at what you are ingesting.
  6. Reduce or eliminate alcohol: Alcohol can be a trigger for anxiety. See how you feel when this is reduced or eliminated.
  7. Stop smoking–smoking is a stimulant and tends to increase anxiety. A sure bet to reduce anxiety.
  8. Find a person with whom you can talk and let feelings out (support). When we feel supported, we face difficulty much better.
  9. Supplement your diet with a multivitamin, esp. with A, B and C vitamins and extra calcium (calms the nervous system and look into herbs that foster relaxation such as Valerian Root, Passion Flower, Chamomile, Skullcap, Dandelion; Kava Kava can work as a calming agent.
  10. Limit exposure to violent media (could include the nightly news). This may surprise you but watching too much violence and mayhem can trigger anxious feelings. Turn it off and view more positive media.

Finally a lifestyle change that will help keep you in peace is regular Bible reading. This is a way to daily renew the mind and take your anxious thoughts captive.

 

For more help with anxiety and worry, check out Dr. Linda Mintle’s book, Letting Go of Worry

 

 

Letting Go of WorryAbout 29% of Americans will experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetimes. Anxiety is that uneasy feeling, apprehension, feeling of danger, doom or misfortune. It can be debilitating or mild. Anxiety can spawn fear, worry, and stress.

Negative self-talk is behind many anxious feelings. Your thoughts impact your feelings. Your feelings affect your view of the world, and an anxious, negative view affects your thoughts. This vicious cycle keeps anxiety going.

In order to stop anxiety,  take charge of those anxious thoughts.The work is to replace negative self-talk with positive talk. For example, most anxious people think, “What if…

”Change the “What if…” to “So what,” and you’ll reduce anxiety.

When anxious thoughts come into your mind, identify them, and tolerate the momentary feeling. Then correct the thought with something more reasonable like, “Yes, I am afraid but God is with me, and will get me through this. I can take it.” As you correct the thought to something more reasonable and tolerate the feeling, anxiety will most likely decrease.

The key here is to tolerate the anxiety and push through it, not try to avoid or run from it.

So when you feel anxious,  look at your thoughts,- you can change your thinking. Whether your fear is real or imagined, the way you talk to yourself will determine if you work through it or become paralyzed by it. For example,”Yes, I am anxious, this feels bad…” coupled with “But I can take it and work though it” is the way to approach anxiety. Acknowledge that anxiety is present, that it doesn’t feel good but that you can move through it by taking charge of your thoughts, e.g., “This won’t destroy me, God is with me, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, He will walk me through this, etc.”

The confidence that God will walk you through even the most difficult circumstances is the basis for keeping anxious thoughts at bay.

 

For more help with anxious thoughts, get a copy of Letting Go of Worry by Dr. Linda Mintle