Today’s word: think
I’d like to teach you a new word: Metacognition. Simply put, it means to think about how you think.
When I first began my struggle out of depression, I had no clue about anything. I understood on a soul level that I needed something positive added to my life, so I clutched at a handful of positive affirmations and spoke them into the mirror every morning. Although this gave me the will to get dressed and out the door, an hour into my day, I was right back to feeling hopeless and defeated.
Then I heard Dr. Wayne Dyer say “When you change your thoughts, you can change your life.”
I know it sounds simple on the surface, but most of us don’t even know what we think. In order to change my thoughts, I had to listen to my thoughts. I began to intentionally stop and listen to what my head was telling me. I was surprised to notice my brain spewing negativity all day long. I was actually convincing myself that everything was hopeless.
Once I heard what I was thinking, I needed to figure out where those thoughts were coming from and how to stop them. I began to understand that all the negativity was just a habit. My mind had suffered for so long that all it ever looked for was suffering. I needed new habits.
This is when the affirmations became useful tools and not just rote words. Every time I caught myself thinking something negative, I’d replace it with a positive affirmation.
For example, my favorite phrase from the bible is “Be still and know that I am God.” (Ps.46:10) Every time I felt stressed or upset, my thinking would start reinforcing the negativity of the situation. “Why do I always do this?” “I’m so stupid.” “This always happens.” And yes, you probably say the same things to yourself.
When I stopped to recognize my thoughts, I had a tool to help me take a breath, remind myself to be still, and God would be there with me. Once I was calm, I could affirm things like “I am grateful and blessed.” “I am in control of my life.”
Eventually, I began to have less negative thoughts. Technically, I was creating new neural pathways in my brain. I was actually carving out new habits in my thinking. This is a great thing, because more positive thinking will create a chain-reaction or tipping point where you naturally begin to generate more positivity spontaneously! No affirmations needed.
Now, I am the happiest person I know!
Takeaway: You can change how you think. If you are sad all the time, and you don’t want to stay that way, you don’t have to. Your emotional state is not who you are. Start listening to what you are telling yourself and if it conflicts with the life you want, change it. You really can do this.
Today’s goal: Today I will pay attention to my thoughts. I will notice passing thoughts when I am driving or standing in line. I will catch the first thought that appears when I am stressed. I will think about my thinking.
Affirmation to go: