Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Maintaining Mental Stability-Putting on Your Own Oxygen Mask

Japanese Tea Gardens-San Antonio, TX

Maintaining Mental Stability-Putting on Your Own Oxygen Mask

Yesterday, a group at my church I help to co-coordinate called 
MOMS (ministry of mothers in service), invited a licensed professional counselor to come speak with us on how to maintain our own mental stability while doing our jobs as mothers and wives.  The information from this presentation does not only apply to mothers and wives.  It can apply to any human being learning to enjoy their life and love who they are.

As I observed reactions around the room and listened to questions and comments, I realized that her words had really touched each of us.  It appeared to me that we could all relate to what she was saying to us.  She heavily emphasized the fact that we need to take care of our emotional and mental stability the way we would our own physical stability.

I took notes however I did not get everything word for word. I just wanted to share the summary of her presentation. 

Maintaining Mental Stability in the Home-Putting on your oxygen mask.

Part I

When we are on an airplane we hear the flight attendants tell us that if something happens on the plane and the oxygen masks drop, put yours on first and then help those around you. Why? Because if you pass out, then you will not be able to help anyone else. The same is true for us. If we do not take care to guard our physical safety and our emotional safety, then we will not be able to provide for our children and have good relationships with our husbands.  

Emotional safety

We  have the right and duty to protect our emotional safety just as you would your physical safety.  If someone were to shove you or hit you in the face you would put up a guard, and say "whoa...you can't do that. That's not okay".  The same idea applies when you are guarding your emotional safety.  If someone verbally abuses you or in other words, talks down on you or makes jokes about your character you can and should put up that same guard and say "whoa...you can't do that, that's not okay". 

We do not have to sacrifice our physical and emotional safety. We need to be healthy all around in order to do our jobs as human beings and create a healthy family life.

Part II


What are coping techniques we use to calm our anxieties? Anxiety is caused by cortisol which is a hormone that is released when we are anxious.  Water can physically lower our cortisol levels so this is another reason to drink a lot of water.Deep breathing can also do the same.

Ideas from our moms on effective coping mechanisms: chocolate, bubble baths, reading (books we read have an effect on our mood), stretching and yoga, calming music, Pinterest, and shopping, prayer.

Balance the coping mechanisms
Coping mechanisms are important and can be wonderful but balance is key. Too much of anything can throw off our balance of what's important.  

Cognitive technique to lowering anxiety and solve our issues

1. Stop

2. Think back through the thoughts you just had.

3. At which thought did you notice your anxiety start.

4.Use words- words help us understand the problem which then helps us to solve it. Journaling or just writing down your thoughts can be a way of processing your thoughts and internalizing.  

5.  Is your anxiety or emotional survival being affected by someone else's words or actions or is it the thoughts that you are telling yourself? 

Words help us. We as humans live on words. When we understand the problem we feel a lot better.

Part III

Ways to Resolve

What can we do to predict and prepare for particular outcomes? We watch the weather channel so that we can be prepared for the weather if we go outside.  What can we do ahead of time to prepare for what YOU have control over.  

Sometimes we as moms get anxious about particular situations because our survival of emotional and physical safety comes into play.  How can we use our words to help other people understand why we are anxious about these particular situations such as a husband waking a child at night.  

Use "I feel" statements such as, "I feel like you are not taking my sleep into consideration when you make a lot of noise and wake up the baby. If the baby wakes up then I have to get up and care for the baby during my time to sleep and get the rest I need". 

Moms are natural scientists.  
We do what we do to prepare for something, such as wanting to be the only one to pack a diaper bag because we know what we need and how to do it.  

Sometimes we do not realize that others have ides from another perspective and asking questions in an open and non-threatening way can bring in new ideas.  How can we use our words with our husbands to solve problems that affect our emotional survival/anxiety?

Again....is your emotional survival being affected by another person? 

Or is it the thoughts you are telling yourself?

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