Normally, I’d be the first person to scoff at headlines like this. How can one book change your life? I’d think, whilst my eyes glazed over re-watching Love Island for the 27387308th time. But, honestly? I’ve never had a single thing make such an impact on my life.
Rewind 2 and a bit years, and I was at my lowest point ever (I’m writing a separate full post about my experience with depression, so bare with me). But just before I began my third year at university, my Mum gave me a book for my birthday. This book was The Secret. I’m sure you’ve people talking about it – it’s definitely not much of a secret anymore. My friend Marlinde wrote a great post about it a while back. This is the book that changed my life, because it lifted me out of depression.
I tried all the solutions under the sun. I went to sleep therapists and tried various herbal remedies. I was living on a diet of anti-depressants and regular counselling, because that’s what society tells us will help. The anti-depressants numbed my pain a little. It was nice to talk to someone. But neither of these things made me better. When I read this book, my mindset changed overnight. I’m not exaggerating.
The basic premise of the Secret is the Law of Attraction. Whatever you think is what you bring into your life. It teaches you 3 steps to getting exactly what you want: Ask, Believe, Receive. Ask for the things you desire by writing them down, or creating a vision board. Write in the present tense as if you already have them. Believe that they’ve happened to you already. Practice this regularly through visualisation and meditation. And, finally, receive exactly what you most desire.
I know this sounds too good to be true. I certainly don’t agree with all of the book. And I’m not saying that if you imagine a million pounds appearing in your mail, you’ll be a millionaire tomorrow (although there are similar case studies to this in the book, so I won’t rule it out). But there are certain truths the book tells that you simply can’t ignore.
The story I always tell is an example that the book gets you to try, because it’s just a small thing. Imagine a feather. It’s a very specific feather: a certain colour, with unusual markings on it. Remember it. I first tried this while I was on holiday in Ischia, imagining a white feather with specific brown markings. I didn’t think about it much since, but the image was clear in my mind. Three days later, a gust of wind blew the exact feather I’d imagined right in to my face.
The simple, life-changing truth I learned from The Secret is just how powerful the human mind is. You control your thoughts, and these thoughts become actions. For many with anxiety or depression, it feels like you’re a marionnete doll, with someone else pulling your strings. Mental illness makes you feel this way. But the reality is – and this is not a truth many depressed people like to hear – that you are choosing to think sad thoughts. The more you think negatively, the more you’re attracting negativity into your life. Only you can change this.
‘You cannot help the world by focusing on the negative things. As you focus on the negative events of the world, you not only add to them, but you bring more negative things in to your own life at the same time.’ – The Secret
Almost overnight, I started to have greater control over my thoughts. You know why? Because I believed in this control. Whenever I had a sad thought, I visualised a Stop sign, and forced myself to think about something else. Sometimes this meant literally getting up and going to a different room, doing something else, so long as my mind was occupied. I am not saying this is the best way to get over depression, but it worked almost instantly for me.
This change in mindset worked greater wonders than any pill or consellor every have. Since then, I’ve shifted my attitude to use CBT to change my thoughts, rather than block them out (because, as I’ve now realised, blocking them out doesn’t make them go away). But the point still stands: as soon as you re-claim control over your thoughts and realise that you are creating your life through them, your life will change for the better.
One of my favourite quotes is:
‘Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it’.
I’m not sure who said it, but they clearly understood The Secret.
Let me know your thoughts about The Secret in the comments.
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Dress: Topshop, similar
Bag: Abbott Lyon (gifted)