Practicing gratitude and mindfulness has immense benefits to a person’s well-being. Well, this is not just hearsay but a fact backed by science, and since pregnant mothers need to have optimal well-being, it is important for us to practice gratitude and mindfulness during this amazing yet critical period of our lives.
What is Gratitude
Practicing gratitude means pausing and reflecting on things that you are grateful for. It’s taking a moment to count all your blessings. It means you are focusing on the positive things in life.
Gratitude actually acts as a natural antidepressant because focusing on positive things brings us joy. According to neuroscientists, there is a link between positive thinking and the activation of happy hormones such as dopamine and serotonin.
When we feel good, we get the energy to do more things that keep us feeling good. When we are stressed, we don’t feel like doing things that benefit us such as meditation and exercise. Thus positive thinking feeds happiness, and the cycle goes on.
In addition, practicing gratitude fights stress and boosts the immune system because it activates the rest and digest response of the autonomic nervous system.
Gratitude improves your mental and physical well-being because it changes your brain.
Grateful people tend to be more resilient. They have a higher chance of overcoming challenges in the future. By focusing on the positive things, they get out of the scarcity mindset and are more present in finding solutions to their problems.
What is Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a therapeutic technique in which you purposely focus your attention on the present moment, acknowledging your body sensations, feelings, and thoughts in a nonjudgmental way. Mindfulness is accepting all of these things without judging whether they are positive or negative.
Although it takes practice to master mindfulness, you will reap the benefits of physical and mental well-being once you bring this into your lifestyle.
Well-Being During Pregnancy
While your body is doing a lot of amazing things when you are pregnant, your hormones may leave you stressed and sad at times. There are times that it just feels good to cry out of the blue, isn’t it?
Well, not to mention the physical strains that you have to deal with. Your butt and even your pubis feel sore as they bear the weight of your little bundle of joy. I won’t tell about back pain, insomnia, and even hyperacidity.
The truth is, even though pregnancy is a period of joyful expectation, not every moment is joyful. Stress and anxiety visit from time to time, especially when we receive less support from our family and spouse. Worries about financial matters, strained relationships, work, and child care when we have older children may bother us. These things put a strain on a pregnant mother’s physical and mental well-being.
Gratitude and Mindfulness as a Form of Prenatal Self-Care
In a study by Karen O’Leary, she discovered that gratitude and mindfulness, when put into practice by a pregnant woman, increase her and her unborn child’s physical and mental well-being.
This means that we don’t need to spend expensively in order to achieve prenatal well-being. Not all of us have money to spare for a regular massage and spa experience or a yoga class just to boost our physical and mental well-being.
Gratitude and mindfulness can be done by anyone. We only just need 15 minutes of our day to spare to practice these techniques. The result is a decrease in stress, anxiety, and depression and increase in happiness and life satisfaction.
How to Practice Gratitude and Mindfulness
Spare 15 minutes every morning or every night and write down at least three things that you are grateful for. Your breath. Your spouse. A good night’s sleep. Clean sheets. Your kids. A favor from a friend. Just anything you can think of, but no matter what they are, appreciate them. Feel the gratitude towards them. You can use a gratitude journal for this, and at the end of the week, refresh yourself with all the positive things by reflecting back on all that you’ve written.
Basic mindfulness meditation includes finding your most comfortable position, such as sitting on a straight-backed chair or sitting cross-legged on the floor, and begin to focus on your breathing, feeling every sensation when you breathe in and breathe out. Narrow your focus to these sensations and begin to widen your focus as you become aware of your surroundings. Just be fully present in this moment.
Free Gratitude Journal Printable
I created a gratitude journal printable, specially made for moms. Download now!