Anxiety & Depression – Distorted Thinking Patterns

crazyMany of us have distorting thinking patterns. We haven’t yet renewed our minds. We have stinkin’ thinkin’ that keeps us in anxiety, depression, negativity, and sickness.

Below are 10 types of distorted thinking patterns.

Negative feelings come from negative thinking, so by monitoring your feelings you will eventually be able to figure out which thoughts and beliefs trigger your anxiety. The first step is to identify the trigger. Most people have thought these ways their whole lives, but God says, ‘Take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ (2Cor.10:5).’ Put your thoughts on trial, convict them, and reprogram them with God’s Word. The mind set on the Spirit brings life and peace. ‘Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on the new nature created to be like God–truly righteous and holy (Eph.4:21-24).’ Your thinking is vital to your spiritual life as breathing is to your physical life.


Distorted thinking patterns:

think1. ‘What if’ thinking

What if I lose my job? What if I lose my home? What if my children get hooked on drugs? What if my spouse is cheating on me?

‘What if’ thinking breeds anxiety and fear. Sometimes this even turns into a self fulfilling prophecy. If you treat someone like they are cheating on you, they might eventually just start doing so. If you focus on ‘what if’, your fear grows. If you focus on God’s Word, your fear goes. Learn to replace ‘what if’ with what God’s Word says: God always causes me to triumph. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. If God be for me, who can be against me?

2. Catastrophizing

worryThe mind magnifies unpleasant events and transforms them into something more awful, terrible, or horrible than they really are. Making a mountain out of a molehill. It’s like spending $10 dollars on a 2¢ problem.

Like pouring lighter fluid on a flame, they use extreme words like hopeless, terrible, unbearable, devastating. These words fuel the anxiety. The only way to put out the fire is to eliminate inflammatory words from your vocabulary and replace them with more practical, realistic, and less emotionally charged words, such as unfortunate, inconvenient, or difficult.  Stop the drama. I choose faith-building words because ‘we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God (Rom.8:28)’. Practice this pattern of thinking until it becomes automatic, making it a habit and mind-set.

3. Habitually expecting the worst outcome

worryThey usually think if something can go wrong it will, and it will happen to me. ‘My boss didn’t acknowledge me today, so I’m sure she hates me and will probably fire me.’ ‘My husband is late for dinner, I’m sure he is having an affair.’

Realize that when you repeatedly think about something, you create the potential for these thoughts to become self-fulling. Especially if you treat someone as if they are already doing what you fear, it makes them more likely to go ahead and do it. Instead of expecting the worst possible outcome, begin to expect something good to happen to you. Confess God’s Word, ‘No evil will befall my family or me, nor will any plague come newer my dwelling (Ps.91:10).’ Expect God to do something good, and your faith will release a blessing.

4. Leaping to conclusions

needsThey mistakingly believe that they know what another person is thinking without having any facts to support it. They repeatedly and habitually make negative assumptions that fuel depression and anxiety.

You walk in a restaurant and find two friends eating lunch; you see them whisper and immediately assume they have abandoned your friendship and are badmouthing you.

Begin to identify when you are jumping to conclusions. Challenge yourself to expect the best of the other person. Instead of becoming anxious about things you don’t even know are real, determine to wait until you have more information before drawing a conclusion. ‘I am ever ready to expect the best of every person (1Cor.13:7).’

5. Black and white thinking 

perfectionismYou can’t see grey. You are probably a perfectionist that thinks their work is flawless or worthless. You see average as complete failure. You think first place is the only winning spot and every thing else is a loser.

This distortional thought pattern sets you up for failure, disappointment, depression, and anxiety. You will work endless hours to make something perfect, or will procrastinate and never finish because if it’s not perfect, you feel worthless. Also, if you struggle with perfectionism, you will need to watch that you don’t fall into the trap of comparisons. ‘Learn to be content with whatever you have (Phil.4:11).’ Quit focusing on what you don’t have, and start thanking God for what you do have. Choose to love yourself, forgive yourself, and accept yourself unconditionally, even if you make a mistake.

6. Unenforceable rules

nowTrapping in anxiety, they make rigid rules about what should, must, or ought to be done, and tries to put people in a box. The more unrealistic and unenforceable the rules are, the greater the disappointment. ‘They should stop cutting me off in traffic.’ Situations, people, and society aren’t usually going to turn out in your favor. The only should statement you need is ‘I should practice mercy and forgiveness’. ‘Love keeps no records of wrongs’, so I throw out my record-keeping book. Eliminate should statements and use I would like to or I prefer.

7. Labeling

‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’ is absolutely false. We need to eliminate labeling words from our vocabulary, such as idiot, loser, klutz, failure, stupid, pathetic, pitiful, jerk. Labels destroy self-esteem, self-worth, and as a result many never accept love. ‘Life and death are in the power of the tongue.’ Choose to see yourself and others the way God sees them. He calls me ‘the apple of His eye,’ ‘His beloved,’ ‘His child’.

8. Negative Filter

capableThis person usually discounts all information that is positive. They discredit compliments. They remember mainly criticisms and negative information. They focus on the bad while the good slips away. These ‘pit thinkers’ usually overgeneralize, taking one bad circumstance and believing its it the trend of how your life will proceed. They use words like always and never. ‘I will always be like this.’ ‘I will never change.’ Stop using absolute words that set you up for failure. Try to enjoy the next compliment you receive. Practice eating the meat and spitting out the bones. Remember that God Himself forgives and forgets our failures. ‘Think about those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy (Phil.4:8).’ Filter the news, tv shows, music you listen to. If anything falls short of every criterion, refuse to watch, think, or speak it.

9. Emotional reasoning

graceThis person feels like their feelings are facts. If they feel hopeless about an exam, they might not even show up to take it. They give up because their emotions make them feel defeated. The healthy thinker separates emotions from their overall self-worth. They realize that despite how they are feeling, they can change the outcome of the situation.

Realize that negative feelings are a sign that you are thinking negative, depressing thoughts. You need to immediately tune in to the thoughts or beliefs that are at the root of the emotion and simply change the channel of your mind to the one of gratitude. I will not be influenced by my emotions or feelings, because ‘the just shall live by faith (Heb.10:38).’ ‘Let us not weary in doing well: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (Gal.6:9).’

10. The blame game

Many are stuck in a trap of blaming others or God. This creates a vicious circle of thinking and feelings that leads to anger, resentment, bitterness, depression, and anxiety. People with a victim mentality fit within this group of faulty thinkers. They feel like everything bad that happens to them is someone else’s fault. Blame locks you into the past; it prevents you from examining yourself, recognizing, and removing thought patterns and mind-sets that continue to sabotage your life. Learn to take responsibility for yourself, forgive yourself and others, and refuse to blame anyone. Forgiveness is a choice not a feeling. ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.’ Refuse to rehash any hurt or pain.


mistakeTestimony: I remember when I started trying to reprogram my mind. Every single thought I had was negative. I put a list of these 10 concepts on my dashboard, and memorized them. I started pinpointing them and trying to refuse the negative thoughts. In the beginning I could hardly keep out a negative thought for a whole second. Just like any goal, you have to do some work. Lifting weights will wear you out, but the next time you go, you are stronger. You can work your way up to 2 seconds without negativity. Maybe you can start to think one positive thought; try to convince yourself that it is true. At least believe that God’s Word is true and quote those over yourself. Keep going! It’s been a year, or two, and I am completely changed. I can’t stand hearing a single negative comment. After coming out from under nearly 25 years of negativity, I truly have a distaste for it. I am free, positive, and know God’s plan for me is good. I can see myself through His eyes, and I can see bad situations through His eyes. IT. IS. SO. WORTH. IT. Don’t give up.

distorted thinking

healthy thinking


Worship: Emma, by Jason Upton: Trusting The Angels

facePrayer: God, thank you for creating us and saying ‘It is good’. Restore us back to our factory settings. Help us once again submit our will, ways, and thinking to your ways which bring health and wholeness. Thank you for being the great physician, our healer, and therapist. Thank you Spirit for being our counselor and teacher. Thank you Jesus for setting the example and giving us authority. Help us take dominion over our own minds and submit them to your kingdom instead of this world which bring such distorted thinking. Everything out from under your authority is in rebellion and chaos. We want to overcome the enemies of anxiety and depression. Go to this generation now and tear down the spirits exalted above it. Let the knowledge of you cover the earth as the sea. Stay the death angel and deliver your people from their slavery; free their minds. Bring them out of bondage. Let this generation x, that the world thought would be the dog, rise to be the head and not the tail. Bring transformation to their minds, and to the world. Wrap them up in a cocoon of your Words and see them through this transformation where they will no longer crawl, but sprout wings, in Jesus name, Amen.


For more on this topic get the book:

Bible Cure for Anxiety

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The Process of Renewal

The process of renewal is:

  • Salvation: “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” – 2 Cor. 5:17
  • Renewing your mind, so that it can catch up to your spirit: “Casting down arguments, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” – 2 Cor.10:5

The following study is on the renewal of the mind; how we get hurt followed by how we get renewed.


A curse is the opposite of a blessing and if we believe that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Proverbs 18:21), then speaking a curse is much like speaking death over someone. As we all know, from experience, words can bring harm and destruction almost immediately, and sometimes when they just go unchecked. In my mind the word ‘curse’ always connotes voodoo magic or something, so for the rest of this post lets agree to use the alternative definition as our basis:

Curse:
1. something that brings or causes great trouble or 
harm
2. to abuse (someone) with obscenities or oaths
3. to bring harm upon

Example: A father says to his son:“You are so stupid. You are never going to amount to anything in life.”


Often the most damaging curses come from those in authority or the ones we love: parents, teachers, coaches, friends, and fellow christians. Those who speak them are usually not intentionally putting a curse on you; they just don’t realize the power that their words have. A curse does not always take effect immediately, but when we believe and receive the words, they become lodged into our soul and become a force for harm. When we first hear, or realize we believe, a curse we need to “destroy every obstacle, and take every thought captive to Christ.” – 2 Cor.10:5.


To break free from these hurtful words:
1. Recognize the curse
2. Choose not to believe the curse
3. Forgive and forget
4. Replace the curse with truth from God’s word

Prayer & bible study are the backbone of this process.


1. Recognize the curse

  • Take a few minutes to write down every hurtful comment that has been spoken over you, with the name of the person who spoke it. Write down any negative words you’ve spoken about yourself too.

Example:You are so stupid. You are never going to amount to anything in life.” – Name


2. Choose not to believe the curse

  • Think about each curse and how it has affected your life. I’m sure it initially caused pain, but after that, did you believe it? Did it alter your life? Can you see the effects of it in how you live today? Does it still effect you and those around you?Example: “You are so stupid. You are never going to amount to anything in life.” Because I believe this comment I stopped believing that I can amount to anything. I stopped trying to better myself. I refuse all compliments that don’t line up with this belief. When I am met with failure, I do not treat it as an obstacle I can overcome with dedication, but as a reminder that I will never succeed thus making me quit trying. So on…
  • Choose not to believe it anymore! If you can’t quit believing it, at least choose that you would like to not believe it and ask God to show you how He sees you; and to help you see yourself in the same light.

3. Forgive and Forget In a prayer to God, cover the following topics:

  • Forgive the person who spoke the curse over you
  • If you judged them for it, ask God to forgive you too
  • If you blamed God for their behavior, ask God’s forgiveness
  • If you returned evil for evil, ask for forgiveness for your own sin
  • If you believed the lie, forgive yourself for believing the lie

4. Replace the curse with truth from God’s word Ask God to show you His truth and to tear down the lie that is keeping you from receiving his love.

  • Next to each curse, write down scriptures that negate it. If you can’t think of any, take the time to do a bible study on the particular subject.Example: The curse that “You are never going to amount to anything in life” is negated by the biblical truths that God looked at me in my broken/sinful/worst state and decided I was worth everything; so I’ve already amounted to being the most important thing to God. He also says that through Him all things are possible, and that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I was made in His image to bring Him honor and glory with my life. So on…
  • Next time the lie comes to mind, take it captive to God’s word. Choose to believe God’s truths not Satan’s lies. Don’t let him hold you back from God’s amazing love and gifts!
  • Continue getting to know God. The more you know God, the more you’ll believe Him. If you can’t trust God and His good will for your life right now, just keep seeking Him. “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for well-being, and not for calamity, in order to give you a future and a hope.” – Jer. 29:11. Some of these hurts can be very deep, and it may take time to heal, but just take up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” – Eph. 6:16-17.
  • Be on the lookout for curses, for “your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”. – 1 Peter 5:8. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33. And we have overcome the world through Him!

Example Prayer: “Lord, I want to be set free from the hurtful and demeaning names I have been called, such as (curse) and (curse). I forgive (persons name) for speaking this curse over me. I ask that you bless them and show them your love. I ask forgiveness for blaming you for the situation. I repent for believing the lies of (curse) and (curse) instead of taking them captive and making them submit to your truth. Lord, free me from the bondage of these lies and help me believe your Word which says, (opposite of curse).” “Lord, I repent of the lie I spoke over (persons name) that they are (curse) and (curse). They are great at (compliment) and your word says they are (opposite of curse).


When you forgive, also forget. Don’t go tell someone that you forgive them unless they ask for it. Make a list of the hurtful things you’ve said to other people, and ask God’s forgiveness. If you feel led, then ask the person’s forgiveness as well. Make sure you do this with a loving heart; not all people are ready to forgive.


Personal Testimony: Lord, I want to be free from the curse that was spoken over me, that, I wasn’t as pretty as someone else. I ask that you free me from this lie and help me believe your truth that we are all beautiful and are all made in your image. I ask that you forgive me for the jealousy and competition that arose from it. The next time jealousy and competition arise in me, I ask that you help me take a step back and realize what is really going on. I ask that you continue to show me things that may be attached to this hurt. Help me to trust you. I know that you alone can heal the brokenhearted.

I choose to forgive ‘person A’ for speaking this idle word curse over me. I see that it was simply the work of the enemy and that they meant no harm. Lord, I ask that you show them your love and your healing from any pain they experienced that could have distorted their view of the truth of your word. Help them to see you clearly as the loving God that you are.

Lord, I ask for forgiveness for treating ‘person B’ with jealousy. Please forgive me for my sin, which drove a separation between us. Lord, I ask that you help ‘person B’ work through any problems that I caused, and that you help them forgive me for my sins against them. Lord, I ask that you continue to heal any hurts from this situation on both sides and continue to reveal any other needed truths about the situation so that we can see you clearly.
Lord, teach me how to turn jealousy into love. When jealousy arises in me, help me to see that as a trigger, as an opportunity, to show your love.
Lord, when competition arises in me, I ask that you help me see your will. I know your will is not for competition, but for love. Help me take a step back, and see your plan and then execute that with love and trust in your plan instead of taking things into my own hands.
I ask this in Jesus name, for the glory of God, and for the healing of his people. Amen