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"The entrance of thy words giveth light (Psalm 119:130)."

Correcting Negative Thoughts—A Useful
Stress Management Technique

Every once in a while secular psychology actually does get something right. Such is the case in cognitive theory; that is, in correcting 'cognitive distortions.'

What am I talking about? OK, I'll explain. Thoughts are powerful things and the quickest way to go to hell on earth is to simply allow your mind to go wherever it wants to go. But you do have a choice: You can dispute and correct negative thoughts or what secular psychology calls 'cognitive distortions.'

I had a taste of how effective this can be some time back: One client would severely castigate herself whenever she made a mistake. She would start with something like "YOU BITCH" and then just keep flailing herself with one insult after another. It wasn't long until she was an emotional mess. And she didn't know how to stop doing this!

I told her to dispute each negative statement. She was told, for example, to say "I'm not a bitch" every time she called herself one. It worked. She now had a tool she could use to stop doing this to herself.

At this point, I want to caution that while correcting negative thoughts is a useful technique, it is no substitute for the use of Scripture. It should be thought of as correcting your own negative thinking; you cannot overpower the Devil with any psychological technique.1

I found this out once when I made an embarrassing mistake and then found myself repeatedly cursing myself. I tried correcting these negative thoughts—using the same technique as the woman in the above example—but it did not work: I could not stop—it was a spiritual attack. Then I thought of Matthew 4:1-11. In this Scripture, Jesus taught us how to resist the Devil using the Word of God. So, instead of using psychology, whenever I found myself cursing myself, I would say "It is written" and then a relevant Scripture or scriptural truth (e.g. "I am a child of God"). I felt better almost immediately. Satan's attack faltered and I was back to normal. I also learned a valuable lesson that I could use in the future since mistakes are an inevitable part of life.

As long as your recognize this limitation, correcting or disputing negative thoughts is a useful technique. Here are some examples.

Fear: "I'm terrified!" Correction: "I choose not to be afraid."

Anger: "I hate him!" Correction: "I choose to forgive him."

Should statements: "I should have a better job." Correction: "I choose to be thankful for the job I have."

Difficult task and accompanying negative thoughts (In any context): Correction: "I can do this" or even "This is easy."

I could provide other examples, but you get the idea. Correcting or disputing negative thoughts is not all that difficult. But it can sometimes go a long way in terms of reducing your anger and making your stress go down.

1) Unless, of course, for some reason the Devil wants you to believe that you can.

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