The struggle is real, my friends! Every day, we’re hustling against the clock, playing all of life’s required roles:
- Shuttle service
- (this list could actually go on forever)
…all while trying to maintain a life that we perceive as “acceptable” by ourselves and peers (that’s a whole other topic!). Hence, the never ending cycle of stress and anxiety.
We do a lot. We really do. I know it seems like ‘just another day’ but days are full of expectations and, for the most part, we meet those expectations head on.
But, this conquered quest doesn’t go without it’s toll.
We end our days tired, full of stress and on the edge of each of our nerves (that haven’t already been shot). Then, night time comes with a love/hate relationship. Although we’re looking forward to the rest we desperately need, it means our time has ran out and another battle is on the horizon.
I hear you. I get it. I’m totally there with you.
Now, if you’ve followed this blog for long then you’ve probably caught onto the fact that I LOVE organization. It’s a like a secret weapon for stressed and weary moms.
Also, if you haven’t, check out these other resources for a jumpstart:
- I’m a HUGE believer in Household Management. We run businesses, fundraisers, committees, etc., all with structure, planning and organization. Yet, we don’t use any of these same skillset within our household. By incorporating household management, you can GREATLY reduce your stress.
- Also, I love my Household Binder because it keeps my household organized and running SO MUCH smoother. This helps me stay ahead of my days, practice preparation and set myself and my family up for success. This works so much better than flying by the seat of my pants!
Organizing the intangible is important, as well.
Let’s take our minds for example. Sometimes I have so much stress and so much swirling in my head that I can’t think through one thing without going down 57 different rabbit holes! Have you ever done that? You’re trying to think through task A and, all the sudden, the rest of the alphabet jumps in!!! It can be maddening!
Also, you know when someone hurts your feelings or offends you and your mind closes in with so many thoughts that you are actually foggy? That’s the worst feeling to me! It’s like, you don’t know if you should respond, how to respond, why you feel the way you do, etc. It’s an awful feeling of chaos that’s happening internally.
After living this way for years, I found this amazing tool that helps provide resolution to both of these stressful scenarios and much more – mind mapping!!
What is Mind mapping?
A google search will take you to much more complicated definitions. To me, mind mapping is an organized brain dump <– my sophisticated definition. In other words, it’s a method of emptying your mind onto paper with the goal of stress reduction and to calm anxiety. Therefore, with this exercise, you’re actually able to organize and process your thoughts INTO a productive state.
Another way to describe it is, instead of journaling in a linear fashion, mind mapping takes you from a macro to micro view of whatever your focus is. The macro being your overall focus (for example: holy crap I’m stressed out right now) and the micro is the “brain dump” section (here are the things stressing me out). So both are needed to help you move from a foggy, overly-stressed mind into a calm, collected and intentional state of mind.
How is mind mapping helpful in reducing stress?
Life’s stress can severely impact our life. When we are mentally stressed, we are emotionally unavailable to our family. More on that HERE. We’re more likely to either over react with anger or disconnect and checkout completely. Neither is what we really desire for ourselves and our loved ones. Mind mapping helps us refocus and sort through our minds, only keeping what is good and productive and finding resolutions to those things that are not.
DoYouYoga notes these benefits:
- lowers anxiety
- can be a form of meditation
- helps you let go
- fosters personal growth
There is serenity in going back to basics. Just you, your thoughts and a notebook. It’s such a great form of self-love too! It shows that you think well of yourself and respect your thoughts – as you should!
Let’s get started! Here is how to start mind mapping today.
So the idea of mind mapping is to focus on a word (whatever you’re wanting to address). You write it down in the center of a page. Then, open your mind and spend time in an unfiltered brainstorming mode. Around your focus word, jot down context to that word. For example, check out this outline to get started.
Try not to overthink this process. This is the “brain dump” part so it’s supposed to be messy.
If you need to, take a breather and pat yourself on the back. Most people don’t have the guts to open Pandora’s box of feelings and face the things that hurt and stress them.
Process your thoughts and move towards resolution and productivity!
Once you get your emotions out, it’s time to switch to the other side of your brain and work off of facts, not feelings. Review your mind map and organize your thoughts. Here are some examples of ways to process:
- out of what’s listed here, what can I actually control versus what is out of my control?
- with the things that I can control, what are things I can do to resolve?
- (my favorite) what out of this REALLY matters and what do I need to let go of?
My story with mind mapping
I’ve done a lot of mind mapping because it’s so useful. For instance, one of my personal examples is a mind map around the word “competition” (think hobby of showing horses, my career and even my personal life). I would get really stirred up on the inside when I didn’t win, get the promotion, got told no, whatever the situation was. Basically, when I wasn’t the first place or chosen one. I would almost feel mad. Not necessarily at the person who “won”, just this feeling of anger at the situation. It was a terrible feeling, not productive at all and is embarrassing to admit but I want to stay transparent!
So through mind mapping, my brain dump revealed some interesting patterns in words that actually appeared to reveal that it wasn’t a competitiveness issue, it was an ego issue. I wanted to be on top, without realizing that I didn’t always deserve to be on top of the competition! In fact, I didn’t know how to embrace the learning curve or the discipline of practice and I thought failure was taboo.
For instance, with this new understanding from my mind map, I started researching the difference between success and failure, the process of progression, etc. This has, since, led to an amazing appreciation for the whole process: the learning, the winning AND the losing. This has been a game changer for me!
It will work for you!
So no one wants to be stressed and no one wants to have unwanted feelings that overwhelm. Mind mapping is a great way to help sort through these. I’m excited for you to give this a try. I’ve found great success in using mind mapping to reduce my stress and anxiety. If you give this a try, let us know in the comments how it went for you! You do a lot, momma, give yourself some time for you. And, remember, YOU are a lady well-loved!