5 Steps to Controlling Negative Thoughts

July 1, 2020

5 Steps to Controlling Negative Thoughts

Have you ever desired to do better? To be a better version of yourself? To make healthy, good, positive changes in your life? Me too!

Have you ever tried and given up? Tried and been unsuccessful? Me too!

What I learned from having good intentions and failing to make lasting changes was that I can’t just decide to do something differently. I had to, in fact, start to think differently. I had to learn to control the things going through my mind.

If tomorrow is to be better, we need to identify our beliefs and how we think today.

  • When we control our thoughts, we master our mind.
  • Where our mind goes, our hands and feet follow.
  • Where our mind lingers, our feelings/emotions grow.

In other words, our thoughts are the seeds to our emotions. The root to our results. If I plant tomato seeds, I’m not going to reap cucumbers. If I plant an apple seed, I’m not going to have cherries grow.

The same is true for changing our lives. If I plant seeds of doubt, failure, and negativity, as a result I’m not going to reap the results equal to those seeds.

So, what are you growing in life: weeds or blossoms?

There is Power in What We Think...

Despite this fact, many people don’t realize they are lazy thinkers. Therefore, they are lazy in their outcomes. All thoughts are powerful. They lead us in one direction or another.

Do we want to add power to negative ones or glorifying ones? I don’t know about you, but I want to cultivate glorifying ones! Thoughts can cause a riot or lead to righteousness. Which one would you rather have? I’ll take righteousness!

And as we’ve said, when you are able to control your thoughts, you’re able to help yourself be successful in your physical, spiritual, and emotional health, too.

Healthy, powerful ways of thinking lead to wonderful, energizing, uplifting health. 

How to Stop Negative Thoughts with the Bible

Philippians 4:8 says “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise – let your mind dwell on these things.”

Dwell is a continual action. It is not a one and done. Do your thoughts include these types of things? I am loved. I am worthy. I’m beautiful. I am a perfect weight. I’m happily married. I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me.

When I started this transformational journey my mind fixated on things like I am ugly. I’m depressed. I am fat. I am unloving. I’m unlovable. I am miserable.

I believed they were true. Yet, when I read God’s word, it stated otherwise. Therefore, I avoided reading God’s word. Make sense? Not really. But that was the result of the things I was cultivating in my mind.

Steps to Take Control of Your Mind

The most important step to change is always going to be your thoughts. Never start with food changes or exercise changes. The greatest change happens when we start with our thoughts.

Do you have these thoughts?

  • I want to lose weight again.
  • I keep gaining it back.
  • I’m tired of being fat.
  • I wish I was beautiful.
  • I wish I had energy.

These are sabotaging thoughts – and today we start the transformation.

The ultimate freedom we have as human beings is the power to select what we will allow or require our minds to dwell on.

Thoughts bring things before our mind and enable us to consider them. These can be images, visions, perception, and imagination.

  • Thoughts never stand alone. They orchestrate feelings.
  • Feelings never stand alone. They orchestrate beliefs.
  • Beliefs never stand alone. They orchestrate actions.
  • Actions never stand alone. They orchestrate results.

The majority of the time, how you think directly controls how you feel at any given moment, regardless of whether you are consciously aware of it or not.

5 Steps to Take Control of Your Thoughts!

How do you control your thoughts? Here are 5 steps on how to control your thoughts and succeed each time.

1. Identify Your Thoughts

What are your thoughts at the present moment? Without editing, write them down in a journal. Put a star next to what relates most closely to the behavior you want to change. Put a heart next to thoughts that glorify God!

Typically, we write down a scenario of several thoughts. Focusing on one that’s most pertinent helps us get to the root of stinking thinking and behaviors we want to get rid of.

Sample Situations and How to Identify Your Thoughts:

I am going to use an example that came up in a group coaching call. The grandmother says when the grandkids come over, she eats pretzels on the couch.

Several thoughts surfaced when we worked through this:

  • Grandkids coming over leads to lack of control.
  • Pretzels are a quick answer to stress.
  • The couch is better than being active.

Since our goal was to identify the eating pattern, we separated that from the other thoughts.

The feelings from this way of thinking were rooted in a lack of control. The results from this action and feeling were no weight loss.

The desire is to lose weight.

So, we take time to get to the root of the problem, which turned out to be: “When the grandkids come over, I eat pretzels on the couch.”

After much work, the client was able to turn her thinking around: “When the grandkids come over I can be active with my hands crocheting and wait till meal time for a delicious meal that will help me be less stressed.”

The single thought became, “I can eat healthy when the grandkids come over.” It then moved to a longer vision of what is possible.

The first step is to identify the belief and question if it leads to negative effects.

  • We sow a thought and reap a feeling.
  • We sow a feeling and reap an action.
  • Sow an action, as a result reap a habit.
  • Sow a habit, as a result reap results.

Unseen thoughts create visible consequences.

Don’t think less of yourself than God thinks of you.

Helpful Resources You Can Use in Identifying Your Thoughts

Our 40 Day Transformation program is a great place with wonderful tools that can help you learn this step and practice putting it into action. You can find it here.

I’d love you to join this program and learn to put all of these great tools, in addition to this one, into action. I want you to have success so you can be healthier - mind, body, and spirit!

Looking for a free resource? I have that, too. The free, downloadable book 7 Steps to Amazing Biblical Health goes into even more depth in how to check your thoughts and beliefs.

In short, this great resource will help you:

  • Discover which foods keep you satisfied for longer - and why!
  • The secret to end "emotional eating", rather than giving in to fleeting desires.
  • Create a personal food plan to improve your health.
  • Learn the ultimate benefits of fasting - and how to get started now!

2. Question Your Thoughts

These are from a sermon by Charles Swindoll and they fit perfectly.

  • Where will these thoughts lead me?
  • Will they get me where I want to go?
  • Are they scripturally acceptable?
  • Will they build me up or tear me down?
  • Could I share these thoughts with someone else?
  • Where did they originate?
  • Do I feel guilty thinking these thoughts?
  • Do these thoughts fit me as a follower of Jesus?

Question Your Thoughts - Evaluate Your Thoughts

Keep seeking means every day. Therefore, always focus on His Word, making a big part of your thinking based on what is best for you, your life, your family.

Colossians 3:2 uses the phrase “set your mind,” which means continually, habitually.

When we think the thoughts of God, we’re thinking the most powerful thoughts we can think.

Think = set your mind

  • Put to death what is an impure thought
  • You control it
  • The Spirit of God gives you the power to lay it down
  • Set your minds on the things of God

When you say I am weak, you have sided with the devil. This is impure thinking. Lay it down. Throw it aside by the power of God.

The word of Christ richly dwells in you and gives you all wisdom. (Colossians 3:16)

Richly means extravagantly. This is not a once in a while experience. It is a moment by moment living.

Extravagantly = overflowing

Your Word have I treasured in my heart that I might not sin. (Psalm 119)

What you think (focus) on today, you reap tomorrow!

Seek to replace your detrimental thoughts with ones that are helpful, continually.

Immediately let go of the negative and take time to cultivate the positive. You’ll be amazed at how this will help you transform your mind and life.

3. Capture the Negative Thoughts and Throw Them Away

Take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Satan blinds the unbeliever and deceives the believer. Every person is engaged in a battle, whether they realize it or not.

Satan wants to remind you of all the bad in past experiences. He makes you question yourself and the validity of your success.

  • Can I have the health God designed?
  • Can I lose weight this time?
  • I really want what is possible. But is this possible?

Put away the thoughts that don’t fit with God’s plan for you.

Understand our relationship with Jesus. We are raised up with Christ Jesus. This mindset controls everything.

Many people lose control when Scripture says – think on these things. They feel trapped and unable to get away from these thoughts.

Skinny people think they are fat.

Rich people think they are poor.

Perception becomes disconnected to reality when our thoughts are faulty. Faulty thoughts lead to wrong actions. This is why it’s essential to identify our how we’re thinking, question our thoughts, and throw out the false ones with the trash.

How to Control Your Mind from Unwanted Thoughts

Are you able to change any circumstances you’re in? If yes, do it! If no, then change your thoughts about the circumstance. (As a matter of fact, work on your control of mind and how you think no matter the situation or circumstances!)

Ask yourself if what you're thinking is true, good, and helpful. If not, banish it and replace it with truth.

The perfect tool to see this change happen is journaling. Journaling is awareness + change = results.  Writing the thoughts down brings awareness. Then secondly it allows review. Do you want that thought to shape you?   If yes - plant a smile next to it. If no - strike it out.

I am always on the hunt for good journals. I was delighted to find Promptly Journals. Their options include all stages of life for journaling!  Find one that fits you - your season in life - your stage of happenings and then journal till the results happen!

4. Renew Your Thoughts

Set your mind on things above. (Colossians 3:2)

Whenever you banish a thought, it must be replaced or it will return. It may try to return anyway, but you will be armed to combat the untrue, damaging thoughts if you have planted true, profitable ones.

If you thought: “I can’t lose weight,” replace it with: “God has given me a spirit of self-control. I can engage the Holy Spirit to empower me with self-control and lose weight.”

If you thought: “Food reduces my stress,” replace it with: “God gives me peace beyond understanding. I don’t need food to deal with stress.”

If you thought: “My health doesn’t matter to my spirituality,” replace it with: “God declared my body is the temple His Spirit resides in. When I take care of my body and am healthier, I’m more equipped to live obediently to Him.”

We’ve already established that our thoughts lead to actions. As you renew your mind, replacing every negative or untrue thing that’s crept into your thinking with God’s Word, your actions and results of your choices will change.

5. Rejoice!

Let the peace of Christ rule your hearts…And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)

Praise God for what He’s doing in the present moment in your heart, mind, and life!

After a week or two, or a month, go back to step one. What are your thoughts now? Write them down. See how much has changed in how you think and reflect on how your transformed thoughts have resulted in transformed actions.

Thank God for the work He is doing in you.

Master Your Mind

Thoughts lead to feelings.

Decide right now what will happen on this life transformation journey.

The devil tempts for a moment. Later it will lead to regret and dismay.

Thoughts are the place where we can and must begin to change.

Mastering your thoughts won’t happen overnight. Your thoughts were planted long ago and have taken root over time. It will take time and effort to pluck them out.

Celebrate each successful replacement of a weed thought with a beautiful, aromatic flower thought! Before you know it, you’ll have a lovely garden flourishing in your mind!

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