At Gateway Church in Austin, we started our new series called Voices.
Today we heard from distinguished professor and prolific author J.P. Moreland. He has been featured in secular and religious news outlets.
In his book Finding Quiet: My Story of Overcoming Anxiety and the Practices That Brought Peace, Moreland shares about overcoming anxiety.
Work through the following questions and Scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.
Anxiety can be a predisposition.
Anxiety can also be a habit; therefore it can be unlearned.
A habit is an in brain tendency to think, feel, or act a certain way without choosing to do so.
We need to practice these new habits.
STEP 1: Relabeling
When we have a negative thought, relabel it to one of the following types of distorted thinking patterns:
Typical Distorted Thinking Patterns in our Self-Talk – J.P. Moreland
1. All or nothing thinking (If you’re not perfect or get anything wrong, you’re a total failure.)
2. Overgeneralizing (“I always do that.”)
3. Mental filter (You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it.)
4. Discounting the positive (If you did a good job, you tell yourself that anyone could have done it.)
5. Jumping to conclusions or mind reading (Interpreting others actions, tone of voice or body language in a negative way—and fortune telling—you assume and predict that others don’t like you and that things will turn out badly.)
6. Magnification or catastrophizing (You exaggerate your weaknesses or the harmful aspects events that have or may happen, and minimize your strengths or the odds that the event will never happen and, even if it did, the results won’t be that bad.)
7. Emotional reasoning (You actually believe that reality is the way you feel.)
8. Avoid inappropriate “should” statements (Example: “I should avoid being around people because they will see what a loser I am.”)
9. Self-labeling (“I made a mistake so I am a loser.”)
STEP 2: Reframing
Remind yourself, this is just a brain message not the truth.
Remember, according to experts – 85% of what we worry about never happens!!
STEP 3: Refocusing
After steps 1-2 have disempowered the negative thought you then say good-bye to the negative thought with a new activity which could be anything like walking, reading the Scripture, reading a book, listening to music, etc..
STEP 4: Revaluing
Revisit the false brain message without allowing it to create the negative emotions associated with it. Consider what you did that was helpful and what was not helpful.
Any habit will take time to develop. There will be much trial and error, but this path can lead to freedom!