Hurricane Season. If you’re like me those two words can cause a lot of anxiety. With the recent floods in New Orleans due to failed pumps followed by flooding in Houston, my stress levels have been epic! Now there are two (maybe three) storms heading towards the states. Here in Southeast Louisiana we know all too well what kind of damage a Level 5 hurricane can cause. I have been losing a lot of sleep and I decided enough is enough. Ruminating thoughts cannot help me be more prepared. I made a plan, packed a bag, and took control of my thoughts.
I have a background in counseling, which comes in handy with my labor and postpartum clients. But at this moment it was necessary to use them on myself. Below I’ve listed some techniques that I use.
How to Change Negative Thoughts/Thinking:
When you start to have these thoughts, envision a stop sign. Literally close your eyes and see a stop sign. Every time a negative thought occurs remind yourself to stop with this visual cue.
2. REPLACE THE THOUGHT:
Choose a more positive thought to replace the negative one. Decide ahead of time what that thought will be. Maybe it’s your child or spouse. It could be your favorite vacation spot or dessert. Whatever the thing is, make sure it is something far more desirable and interesting than your negative thought.
3. TALK TO YOURSELF:
Remind yourself that you should not be thinking these negative thoughts. I call this a come to Jesus meeting with myself. If these thoughts are happening in the middle of the night my talks usually go something like this…. “What are you going to do about that right now? You need to go to sleep. If you stay awake thinking about this all night, how are you going to wake up and do something about this in the morning? You need to go to sleep. Go to sleep. Go to sleep!” There is nothing wrong talking to yourself! (at least I don’t think so LOL)
4. DO SOMETHING:
Instead of sitting around worrying over things you cannot change, do something! Stop in the middle of your thought and do something else. Go for a walk or jog. Walk your dog. Call a friend. Do an in-home workout. Dance to your favorite song. Just stop thinking and do something else!
It is not easy to change your thoughts. It takes a lot of practice, but it is worth it. We’ve been through plenty of natural disasters and we know what to do. We got this, fam! If you are not a Louisiana native, call a friend or ask a neighbor. The greatest thing about our state is there’s always someone who is willing to help. If you are expecting and worried about planning for your baby’s arrival, New Orleans Doulas can help!
Stay safe and strong Louisiana!