How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts
In my last post, How to Identify Automatic Negative Thoughts, we focused on noticing and identifying which negative thoughts you struggle with the most often. Were you able to see them in your own life? Sometimes they can be so little we don’t see them until they bite!
One of my life scriptures is:
2 Corinthians 10:5: “Take every thought captive, to the obedience of Christ.”
One night my thought life was so crazy, I fell asleep saying that scripture over and over and over until I fell asleep. I realized that I can’t change what I won’t acknowledge. Recognizing these negative thoughts is the first step to changing them. But let’s take it a few steps further.
4 Steps to Stopping Automatic Negative Thoughts
- Self-check: Do I cycle and recycle the same negative thoughts?
- Stop the cycle: It’s you and only you who can make a decision to change. Our brains don’t have the ability to hold two thoughts at the same time, we have to choose one or the other. Why do we so often choose a thought that bites?
- Choose “Thought Stopping” Statements:
- No way am I going to let this paralyze me!
- Why am I letting myself get worked up?
- What’s in the past is in the past, it’s over I can’t control it.
- The present is where I want to stay.
- I’m taking the rearview mirror off my life.
- Whatever I choose to focus on will expand.
- If I focus on anxiety and the pain it causes, it will get bigger.
- I’m going to practice my new way of thinking.
- I’m going to focus on healing thoughts.
- Use scripture to fight negative thoughts: When you’re in the middle of an ANT hill (automatic negative thoughts), the battle is on. You can call out the name of Jesus and His name alone has power over those thoughts. There is power in God’s word and power in the name of Jesus. Remember, the power that raised Christ from the dead is alive in you and me (Ephesians 1:19-20).
Changing how we think isn’t something that happens overnight, it’s a process. I tell my clients that at first, it’s tough because you’re fighting against a lifetime of “stinking thinking.” It takes time for thoughts to start to shift. We can choose to persevere and practice new thinking strategies until it reaches to the core of our souls.
My prayer for you: May you embrace the change that allows you to be free in Christ!