The One Thing I Learned from Labor That I Will Carry with Me the Rest of My Life

I would like to think that to most people, I come off as a positive, upbeat person. I do my best to have a good attitude, smile as I greet people, and treat those I encounter with kindness and respect.

Now if we were to take a look at what’s usually going on inside my head, that’s a whole different story. I have historically been a worrier. Anxiety has plagued me my entire life and in some instances has led to episodes of depression. I battle worry almost every day.

One thing I learned in our childbirth class is the importance of staying calm and focused during the pains of natural labor. When a woman in labor starts to panic, her cortisol levels rise as she enters “fight or flight” mode. Increasing levels of that stress hormone can interrupt the progress of labor and make it more difficult to manage labor pains.

Naturally, I was concerned that I would “freak out” at some point during labor, causing these issues. Amazingly enough, I never did. I never lost focus. I never got anxious. Negativity never crept into my thoughts. It was nothing shy of a miracle. I was convinced I’d be cursing like a sailor my entire labor. Nope. I’m not sure a single negative word came out of my mouth the entire time.

What I believe played a big part in this was the fact that I had my husband and my doula speaking positive truths into each ear the entire time. They were helping me keep the negative thoughts away by pouring positive ones in.

I came out of the experience absolutely astounded. It taught me about the power of positive thinking and speaking. It reminded me that I need to surround myself with and build into my day positive things that will lift me up.

Every day we make choices. One choice we have is whether we want to approach our day with a positive attitude or one of dread and negativity. We choose whether to surround ourselves with positive, affirming things in our day or negative, draining things. While we can’t control everything we encounter each day, we can be intentional about seeking good and avoiding negativity instead of passively allowing negativity to creep in.

Will you join me in these steps to nix negativity and promote positivity?

  1. In our thoughts and words
    • When you have a negative thought, acknowledge it, but don’t automatically believe it. Merely thinking something doesn’t make it true. Thoughts don’t equal facts.
    • Carefully consider the words you speak. When you speak negativity, you give it power in your life. When you speak negative words, you reinforce negative thoughts.
  2. In our relationships
    • Dan Miller, author of 48 Days to the Work You Love, has a rule about how he spends his time: “I’ll spend 3 hours a year with negative friends but certainly not 3 days or 3 weeks on a vacation.”
    • Surround yourself with positive people who challenge you, encourage you, and inspire you.
  3. In our conversations
    • Avoid negative conversations. If you find yourself in a conversation that’s heading in a bad direction, try to redirect the conversation. If you’re with a group of people and don’t feel comfortable with the topic, make that known. If the conversation continues to spiral downward, politely excuse yourself.
  4. In what we consume
    • It’s amazing how much negativity we passively allow into our lives without even realizing it.
    • Take a look at what you’re consuming. What TV shows are you watching? What music are you listening to? What materials are you reading? Are they building you up or are the subtly corroding your spirit?

Life is meant to be so much more than the negativity that seems to permeate our society. Seek to build a life that brings you joy. Believe in the power of positivity to radically transform your life.

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