Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Stop, Stop - think

When was the last time you thought about something that was negative, not just once but over and over again? As you continued to ruminate over the matter did it get better?

As a general rule, I find that when I re-play a negative event, a disparaging comment, or an embarrassing moment over and over in my mind it always ends the same way. In fact, as my mind heads down the same negative path I already know exactly where it is going to wind up. I will feel hurt, guilty, disappointed, angry or frustrated. I liken the negative thought to a physical location. When I put an address of a location in my GPS it takes me to the exact location every time. When I begin to have a particular negative thought it too takes me to the same location in my mind every time.

One technique that is used for people who suffer from depression is called the STOP technique. It is based on the principle that when we ruminate on a negative event or consequence it will drag us deeper into our depression. The antidote is to STOP your mind from traveling down a well worn path that leads to discouragement and bad feelings.

So the next time your mind begins to head down one of the all too often traveled paths of negativity say out loud, “STOP, STOP,” and immediately begin to think of something else. Bible verses work great. “My God will supply all my needs.” Or, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Light and dark cannot occupy the same space. As you fill your mind with the light that emanates from God your dark thought will dissipate.

As it pertains specifically to marriage, sometimes we dwell on something our partner may have said that hurt our feelings, or we begin to think about our unmet expectations, or we see another couple who “appears” so much happier than you and your spouse, etc. Your mind takes you down a vortex of negativity that will only end up in the same negative place, yielding the same negative feelings.

The next time this happens yell “STOP, STOP,” and repeat to yourself a favorite Bible verse that has brought you comfort in the past. Begin to meditate on the verse and you will find relief. That said, you may not want to yell “STOP” out loud in a library, in the middle of dinner at a five star restaurant, or while driving in traffic with your husband. A whisper can work just as well.

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