The human mind is a powerful thing.
It uses us... if we let it.
It can take us over, and without knowing it, we think the same things over and over and over again, usually the thoughts that cause us the most suffering.
Without a certain awareness, we just always do the habitual thing—the mind's habits that we have unintentionally strengthened by practicing certain types of thinking are very, very strong.
We can change this, through the power of the mind. But there is an awareness that has to come into play. It's the awareness that observes the thinking we're doing. When we are aware that we're worrying, obsessing, ruminating, etc., we can be gentle with ourselves for doing it, and then make a decision to do something different in that moment. Undoubtedly, the mind will get carried off again by thoughts, but even short moments of being aware of this, and then bringing our attention back to something else—say, our breath, or the sounds around us, or what it actually feels like to experience the raw emotion of fear without the story line that goes with it—can be extremely helpful in the process of changing our mental habits.
One of the things a person can do in that moment, especially when noticing that there is a lot of negative self-talk going on, is to say positive things to oneself. And you don't have to believe them to say them to yourself.
If you find yourself stuck in a negative thought, such as, "I'm so depressed," or "I can't get myself to do anything," or "This sucks," or "I suck," once you are aware that you are thinking that, you can say to yourself, "thinking..." (acknowledge that these are just thoughts). Then also make sure to be gentle with yourself for having these thoughts. Finally, say something different to yourself that is positive. "I feel depressed, but I can still do something good for myself today." "I am not depressed." "I'm going to get up and walk outside." "This is okay." "Being alive is good." I don't know... I am just throwing things out there. But doing something different from your habitual, usual thing is a way to begin to change the habit.
I've heard "Fake it 'til you make it..." I also know that in 12-step programs, the phrase, "Act as if" is important in this same way.
I know so many people, myself included, who can benefit from this short, three-word phrase today. I hope it helps you or someone you know.
Please leave me a comment as to whether this makes sense to you or whether it was written in such a way as to be confusing... Thanks!!!