© 2022Nancy Virden (from How the Difference Maker Lifts You Above Depressive Thoughts © 2020 Nancy Virden)
Have you ever walked past your bed and thought, I could use a nap even though a minute earlier you were not tired? This is a type of thought habit. By mentally associating sleep with the bed, the visual automatically triggers ideas of exhaustion and rest.
Ask God to help you identify the what, when, with whom, where, and why of unwanted, unintentional thought habits that make life more difficult. Take the time to complete the following exercise (for each thought habit or trigger) and you will be surprised at the outcome!
1. What consistent triggering event and response do you experience? (Example: Your mood drops when you sit on the edge of the bed)
2. What are you thinking during this triggering event? (Example: Work is stressful.)
3. What is your thought habit? (Example: Associating this seat with going to work in the morning)
4. What thoughts would you prefer at these moments? (Example: l feel content.)
Make the exchange
Your goal is to exchange those negative associations with what generally feels better. Here are some options for making that happen.
A. Change the environment. (Examples: Redecorate the area with things you love; move the bed; or add light)
B. Change the context. (Example: Use the edge of the bed regularly for foot rubs, saying prayers, or texting jokes to your friends. Avoid texts from work or open them elsewhere)
C. Change the atmosphere. (Example: Lift the overall cheeriness of the space with open curtains; listen to upbeat music, or install a self-starting coffee maker.)
6. Make a quality decision for when you will start. (Example: I will buy the coffee maker during lunch hour today)
7. What action will you take next time this thought habit occurs?
Today’s Helpful Word
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair. NOTE: Nancy is not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speaks only from personal experience and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
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