Over Valentine’s Day weekend there was a huge snow storm in the Pacific Northwest. I was walking around admiring how beautiful the trees looked as the snow fell gently all around…how the delicate branches held the snow…marveling how over time the snow accumulated to over a foot!

I saw several trees bent over with the weight of the snow…unable to shake the snow off!

It got me thinking…ever notice how much weight we carry around with us? I am not talking about physical weight, but mental and emotional weight…it feels kind of like the snow weighing the trees down.

Negative thoughts, feelings, limiting beliefs, and expectations about ourselves and others…

Over time, those thoughts and feelings become so heavy. We may not notice them because we just got used to them being there, building up over time…
Or we just expected that is the way it must be, and feel we have to carry the weight ourselves….
Or we just keep piling on the “shoulda, coulda, woulda” guilt and pressure on ourselves…
Or we got so busy with life, family, and work.. we have not paused to care for ourselves.

Where in your life have you been carrying mental and emotional weight?

Positive Psychology (studying the building blocks of happiness and well-being) and Neuroscience (studying our brain’s ability to adapt, change, and learn something new) shows we can retrain how our brain processes our thoughts…which creates our feelings, actions, and behaviors.

Shaking off the snow (weight) starts with practicing 3 things: shifting your mindset, mindfulness, and gratitude.

(Mindset) Change the negative lens through which you experience life, your world, and reality. Turn it into a game to notice your positive thoughts and experiences. The more you do this, the easier it gets…and the more you start to see and experience the positive.

(Mindfulness) Take a minute or two to focus on the present, and tune-in / become aware of your negative thoughts.
In a curious, non-judgmental, way ask what memories these thoughts/beliefs are associated with. Then ask what limiting belief may be tied to those memories.

Acknowledge you picked up those beliefs to help protect yourself and make sense of the world growing up. Then acknowledge they may no longer be serving you. You have an opportunity to do something in a more helpful way, based on what you know now.

Then gently challenge the negative thoughts by looking for instances where they are not true.

This mindfulness and mindset process helps soothe our inner critic and helps us feel calmer and more creative…so you can see things from a new perspective.

(Gratitude) Genuinely acknowledge what you appreciate about yourself and your life. It improves overall health, well-being, resilience, and sleep. Which helps you with mindset, mindfulness, and feel calmer and happier.

If you want to set that mental and emotional weight down; then practice shifting your mindset, mindfulness, and gratitude to feel more peace, happiness, connection, and confidence in your life.

What are you doing to shake off the “snow” in your life?

Content provided by Women Belong member  Jennifer Vazquez