Women are caretakers by nature. As caretakers, we tend to worry. We worry that our babies will climb out of the crib, we worry that our kids won’t be liked at school, and we worry that our teenagers will experiment with drugs. Motherhood is an exercise in worrying if we can safely let our kids out of our sight.
Most mothers suffer from what I call ‘an over-active mind.’ That is, left to our own devices, our thoughts move quickly. At any given time we are thinking about the laundry in the dryer, the Halloween costumes our kids want, and whether or not our 16 year old should be allowed to drive. The thoughts start first thing in the morning and they don’t stop until we are asleep.
When your mood is good, having an over-active mind is a great thing. It’s what enables you to keep tennis, lacrosse, hockey games AND SAT prep classes organized.
When you are stressed, however, your over-active mind can turn against you by causing you to worry about every possible negative outcome that could occur. Will I lose my job? Will my water heater break? Will I get cancer? Will the stock market crash again? Worrying about the unknown solves nothing and only causes problems.
The best way to harness the power of the over-active mind is through exercise. Exercise focuses your energy on your body, and away from your spinning thoughts. Exercise calms your nerves and lifts your mood. I firmly believe that it’s virtually impossible to feel happy if you are not exercising on a regular basis.
There are so many forms of exercise: spinning, running, pilates, yoga, kickboxing, walking, dancing. Try out different activities and find what works for you.
If you want a recommendation of which exercise might be the best fit for your personality, just ask me! I love helping women find happiness through exercise and support!
Lauren Napolitano, Psy.D.
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