NB – There is no audio available for this exercise
This past week you have been learning about your self-worth and why you are always valuable and worthy just the way that you are. In this week’s exercise you are going to do two things. First you are going to upgrade all of your self-critical thinking and second, you are going to learn how to do journal writing.
Part A – Upgrading your self-criticisms
It’s time to stop that self-degrading, critical conversation that continues to go on in your head and upgrade it with your new knowledge of self-worth and reality. Remember that these criticisms that occur are only your rating of the event based on your habitual beliefs. These beliefs are what you are working on changing with repetition, continuously feeding your mind new information so that the new thinking becomes the new habit and the old, painful thinking becomes a goat track and eventually dies off.
As usual, this will only happen when you practice what you are reading by doing these exercises and by being as aware as you can about your thinking, and replacing it.
So in part A, you will start by upgrading the self-criticisms you found in Week Two’s exercise where you were identifying the thoughts that were causing your stress.
In your notebook, create a new ‘story’ about yourself upgrading the self-criticisms you picked up on in Week Two. Write down why these criticisms are untrue and why you are always 100% worthy. Make sure you don’t just generalise why you are worthy (example – because I exist, because I am always learning, because I am always contributing). Make sure you state what you are learning (about the event, or about life) and what you are contributing to the circle of life. State how what you are learning is contributing to your life, your partner’s life, your child’s life and your friends and family and those around you and their lives. Take some time to really challenge your mind to find all the different ways that you are contributing to the world, just by being who you are.
Part Two – Journaling
Journaling is a really important part of being able to change how you think. Sometimes we can get really caught up in our ‘story’ of why we are feeling the way that we do and although you have some awareness already of how to change this thinking, sometimes things can be quite emotional. It can be difficult to be objective about the event in that moment and sort out what the thoughts in your head actually mean.
Journaling takes your thoughts out of your head and onto paper, where it becomes easier to find that objectivity. You see in front of you what’s going on in your head instead of being right in your thoughts.
It is great to journal how you feel and what your thoughts are and become more aware of the pattern of thinking recurring. However, this journaling exercise is not just about writing your thoughts. Remember we don’t want to spend a lot of time rolling in the mud. You want to spend more time changing that thinking so you can continue forming new habits of thought. So in this journaling exercise you want to spend a small amount of time on the thinking that causes stress and a large amount of time on how to change that thinking.
- Write half a page on what is causing your stress. Use a highlighter to identify the beliefs you hold about how life should be on a right/wrong path, what you are missing out on and how you or someone else should be doing something differently. Highlight any worth-less statements where you self-criticize, judge yourself or identify any lack of ability. Highlight where your thinking is in conflict with the reality of the situation itself, the reality of being a parent or the reality of life. Finally, be completely honest! No one is going to read this but you, so don’t try and fool yourself. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge so you must be real about what thoughts are running in your head so that you can work on changing them.
- Once you have looked back at your story, start writing at least 1-2 pages of upgrades to that story. Implement the reality thinking model by addressing each reality point first (reality of situation, then reality of being a parent, etc) and then expanding your mindset to look at this situation from a more objective widened back view by creating a new story about the reality of the situation, the reality of being a parent, the reality of life and the reality of your self-worth. Do not stop writing until you feel better about the situation and have identified many different ways to view the situation that stop you from being stuck by the situation.
- Finally, in preparation for the following three steps of the Mind TRACK to Happiness process, list some things that you may be able to do that could improve the situation or solve your problem. Don’t worry at this point about HOW you are going to do these things, just write down any potential solutions that may help you through this challenging situation.
- Continue with steps one to three every time you are unable to upgrade your thoughts in your mind and are starting to feel consumed by the situation. It may be something that you need to do daily at the end of the night to begin with, or you may find that you only need to do it every few days. The important thing is to do it! You have been taught some pretty valuable tools and information on how to change your thinking, so don’t allow yourself to continue being consumed with your present situation. Do the exercises and you will experientially understand how you can feel better and stop doing postnatal depression.
Remember too, we are always here to support you and you always have access to the Q&A Forum in order to get help in applying this method to your life. You have been thinking in stressful ways for a long time and it will take some work, practice and help to change that sometimes, so make sure you use the full benefit of this program by asking for help when things get difficult.
People say things in different ways that sometimes helps the penny to drop, so take advantage of the service that you are paying for and get the help you need.