Have empathy for yourself. If you are beating yourself up with your own self-talk or dwelling for long periods on negative thoughts, it is difficult to make progress. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy advises us to tune in to the times when we are on Automatic Pilot.
This is when our thoughts may absorb us so much that we don’t notice what is going on around us. For example, we might drive somewhere and have no recollection of the journey.
At times it is useful to be able to complete a boring task while focussing on something else. However our thoughts are not always helpful to our state of mind. Time spent planning what you will pack to go on holiday has a very different effect on mood from endlessly replaying an unsatisfactory conversation you had last week or thinking what you would like to say to someone you feel angry with. It is interesting to notice how much time our minds spend in the past or future and how little in the present moment. What we think about is a choice. Being aware of what is going on inside our heads is the first step towards making some changes. To begin, just noticing is enough. If you are a writer, jotting down recurring themes may be interesting to look back on.
Think about how you would respond to your friend if he/she was in a similar situation to you. Ask yourself these questions.
Are you speaking to yourself in the same way? If not, why not?
Spend a little time everyday practicing wishing yourself well. “May I be well, may I be happy.” They don’t have to be the same everyday but they must be kind!
If you find you are not being kind to yourself, think back to what your friend would say to you (if it’s not kind, find a new friend!) and say the same to yourself.
In a nutshell – Notice your thought habits. Practice being kind to yourself.