I have always thought negative thoughts about myself. Things like:
- You don’t deserve anything
- Boy, you’re dumb
- She’s WAY better than you
- You’re stupid
- No one really likes you
- You’re not good enough
I can’t pinpoint WHY I thought those things…I’m sure some of it is because kids are just cruel and certain things stick with you. But sometimes things just get in your head.
I honestly thought those thoughts and feelings were normal – and I thought they would be with me FOREVER. Because they came from inside me, I thought they were part of me.
But friend – negative thoughts like that aren’t from the Lord. They’re not true. He didn’t create us to live a life of bondage to untrue thoughts about ourselves.
Science now shows us that we CAN change our negative thoughts (or our positive ones), which leads to changing our actions. This is called neuroplasticity! ( the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience or following injury.)
I started learning about this via the book Switch On Your Brain by Caroline Leaf – and it’s a total game changer for taking charge of your thoughts. It pairs Scripture and Science and it’s AMAZING!
Dr. Leaf gives a 5 step process for being able to change your negative thoughts. Very quickly I want to go over those 5 steps with you, but you REALLY need to read the book.
Dealing with Negative Thoughts
She teaches that each step will take 1-2 minutes and you’ll do them every day for 21 days. Then repeat the cycle 2 more times, for a total of 63 days. The first 21 days creates a new memory while the next two cycles create a new habit. Focus on ONLY ONE negative thought per cycle.
Step 1: Gather
This is when we bring the toxic thought into consciousness – but we IMMEDIATELY replace it with our new thought.
Example: Replace “I am lazy” with, “I am very productive and here are the things I’ve done today!”
Step 2: Focused Reflection
We don’t focus on the negative. It will grow – so we focus on our new thought for 1-2 minutes. Think about all the productive things you’ve done lately. Even emptying the dishwasher is productive!
Example: “Today I washed sheets and cleaned the bathroom in the hall. I went to get the mail and I made lunch for everyone! I also made a meal plan!”
Step 3: Write
When we write things, our brain thinks them to be true and it’s also easier to remember them. Write your new thought and pair a scripture with it.
Example: “I am a very productive mom!”
She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.Proverbs 31:17
Step 4: Revisit
The easiest form of learning is REPETITION!!!! Say it once. Say it again. Repeat, repeat, repeat! Spend 1-2 minutes saying your new thought!
Example: “I am productive! I do important things each day! I matter to my family!”
Step 5: Active Reach
This is the actual DOING. You might do this 7+ times a day – depending on how often your negative thought comes up. When it comes, STOP IT IN ITS TRACKS AND REPEAT YOUR NEW THOUGHT!
Example: Bad thought comes up and you say, “I will not play this movie! I am moving on!”
The Active Reach step was a huge change for me because I didn’t realize I actually had the ability to tell my toxic thoughts to stop. I didn’t realize that I could change.
But friends, the Word tells us this is true. Use these steps and break free from that thought bondage – and then read her book.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.Romans 12:2