Action 60

I “mentalize”—increase my awareness of my thinking processes and my self-talk in the here and now and monitor, alter them, as needed. I have the ability to separate the past from the present and become an outside observer of my own thinking processes. I can think about and evaluate my own thoughts and actions as if I were observing them in a detached manner like an outsider. I try to see myself as others would see me. I can consider the pros and cons of my thinking processes. What are the benefits and negative consequences, both short-term and long-term of my continuing to think the ways I think? I can put my stress system back in balance. I can bring up and call online the front part of my brain that helps me take charge.

  • “I was about to do . . . “
  • “I can notice, catch, interrupt . . . “
  • “I can think through the consequences . . . ”
  • “It is as if I have you on my shoulder guiding me . . . ”
  • “I have learned to ask myself the questions I usually discuss with my therapist.”

Quotable Quotes

“I can learn to talk to my brain differently.”

“It is like I have a remote control TV channel selector. I have the ability to tune into a ‘pleasant event’ channel when I am depressed; a ‘time out’ channel when I am angry, a ‘social problem-solving’ channel, a ‘cheerleading’ channel, a ‘facing my fear’ channel.”

“I am able to think about the trauma, but recognize that I am not in danger.”

“I can train my body to turn off my alarm system.”

“I can choose which voice within me that I will listen to and follow.”

“I can write a new life script and give up trying to change the past.”

“The thoughts that I have and the words that come out of my mouth can be quite persuasive. If I think it or say it, and no one forced me to say it, then I most likely believe it. But, I do not have to believe every thought I have. I do not believe and follow everything that I read in newspapers or hear on TV. I do not have to believe every thought I have.”

“My thoughts are hypotheses (hunches) worth testing and not God-given directives.”

“I can question and challenge my beliefs and examine the ‘If . . . then’ and ‘Whenever I . . . I will . . . ’ rules that I implicitly accept.”

“My thoughts and urges are not commandments to act. I have choices.”

“If I feel bad and I don’t know why, I can use my coping skills.”

“If I feel bad and it’s made worse by my negative thoughts, I can change my thinking.”

“If I feel bad, I can use my direct-action problem-solving coping skills or my emotional palliative soothing and accepting skills or some combination of these coping skills. I can do whatever the situation calls for.”

Action 61