In some ways negative thinking is protective. It prevents us from leaping into danger. The problem occurs when negativity dominates our lives and affects interpersonal relationships. So how do we stop negative thoughts?
Are the walls really crumbling down?
When things aren’t the way we like we are tempted to paint a gloomy picture. So we think, “Well, if I assume the worst, I can’t get hurt.” If disaster strikes we want to be ready, so we adopt this anesthesia against bad news. The problem is this can lead to a constant state of hurt affecting those around you also. Let the truth free you instead.
The first step in how to stop negative thoughts is to stop labeling. Labels get you stuck. So do your best to avoid saying things like:
- I always make mistakes.
- My life stinks.
- I’m a horrible person.
- There is no hope for my family.
- He/she is always a problem.
- I’m always unlucky.
None of these labels are true. Don’t be fooled into believing them.
See our complete list of over 180 helpful prayers.
Nobody can predict the future, so stop trying. If you keep telling yourself that you are going to fail, then you might just ruin any chances of success. Or if you keep imagining someone is going to end up in a mess, then you might not be able to see clearly in order to help. Try not to project doomsday upon the world.
Also, you can’t read other people’s minds, so avoid imagining negative thoughts into their heads. A person might not have returned your phone call or text for many reasons other than they hate you. Maybe they have a life to live first, right?
It’s not all about you
Remember, you can’t control the universe no matter how much you worry. This includes the bad things that happen. So much is out of your control. Accept this reality and free yourself from taking all the blame on yourself.
What are you really afraid of?
It’s time to dig a little deeper. What are your true fears? Coming to grips with these will help you even more than the coping mechanisms mentioned above. Perhaps you have had a traumatic experience in the past. Have you looked for a way to reconcile this?
Maybe you are afraid of failure, scared to try, or afraid of risk. Are you scared to live and trust in God? Maybe you feel that you deserve to control the world. Put away these self-centered ideas and begin to focus on something much greater: HOPE.
So what if you make a mistake? All people – great and small – have made great mistakes. But never give up hope. Life is an experience, not perfection. It’s often messy and sometimes even bloody. When a baby is born there’s pain, suffering, and blood. But then new life appears. And before all this goes great hope.
When you pray, let your negative thoughts blow away and unwind in God’s presence. Even if it takes a while, let his Spirit cleanse you of negativity. Then, when you’re ready, ask God for help. Ask him to put order into your thought process. The perfect order that he wants for you consists of faith, hope, and love.
When you stop to pray, you break out of the vicious cycle of negative thinking. Sometimes you have to force yourself at first. Begin with this simple prayer: “Jesus, I trust in you.” Repeat this over and over until you calm down enough to start seeing things more realistically.
Ask to be freed of negativity. Ask with confidence, and ask in Jesus’ name.
Even in moments of true darkness you can run to him. Focus on God’s great compassion and mercy. He will help you accept things as they are without worry. He might not change your situation, but he is guaranteed to change your heart.
Jesus showed us the way. His prayer to his Father? Thy Will Be Done. Let God take control.
Table of contents
For help in difficult times…
Image source (modified).
The following prayer will help you to stop anxiety and anxious thoughts so that you can return to having a mind and spirit at peace.
In a world full of what seems to be constant bad news, it’s easy to become fearful, restless, and anxious. That’s why you need to step away from world’s claws of unrest, comparison, measurement, telling you that you are unworthy, that life it too hard, that things won’t work out, and that you are not doing, being or acquiring enough.
May this prayer help you to clear your mind of anxiety and anxious thoughts.
A Prayer to Stop Anxiety and Anxious Thoughts
I take this time to be still to just be in your presence to clear my anxious thoughts.
I surrender these thoughts to you.
Replace these thoughts with peace.
Fill me with your peace which surpasses all undertanding.
Help me to listen to the still, small voice of your Spirit within me,
the voice of Truth – the voice of Love.
When I listen to the voice of Love, I let go of fear.
When I listen to the voice of Truth, I let go of thoughts of failure.
When I listen, I am guided.
Through your loving guidance I let go of anxious thoughts.
I gratefully receive your love, peace and direction.
In the name of your Son, Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
If you enjoyed this prayer, you will love God Notes – Daily Doses of Divine Encouragement. Instead of prayers spoken to God, these are notes of encouragement in the context of words spoken from God.
If anxiety and anxious thoughts are your constant companion, learn how to let them go through these God-centered meditations. Experience God’s presence in a deeper way by learning how to be still, let go, and trust God.
Join me in living life with joy and flow. Receive the four steps for creating flow in your life along with a monthly email to keep you focused on living your life with more joy and flow.
Is stress holding you hostage and keeping you from rest? Do you feel burdens pressing in that seem too heavy to bear? When anxious thoughts pull you in the wrong direction, and you’re struggling to find balance, the following prayer might express your thoughts and help you find relief and freedom.
Before praying, consider these 4 steps for praying over anxiety, as suggested by well-known author and speaker Max Lucado:
- Pray immediately.
“Don’t stew over the problems that are besetting you or your neighbor. Ask God for help as soon as you identify a need.”
- Pray specifically.
“When we boil our concerns down to a specific request, they become right-sized. Vague threats loom larger than concrete challenges.”
- Pray for and with others.
“When we consider the problems of others and enlist their help with ours, our concerns become more manageable.”
- Pray with thanksgiving.
“Anxiety and gratitude cannot occupy the same space. When we catalog what are thankful for, our list of challenges grows less powerful.”
A Prayer for Relief of Stress and Anxiety
Lord Jesus, the stresses in my life often reach a dangerous proportion—or so it seems. My body, mind, and spirit struggle to keep up physically, mentally, and yes, spiritually. Some days anxiety stalks me like a deceitful predator, and the temptation to worry draws me in. I know better, but some days the challenges outweigh the truths buried inside. My trust in You fades into the background, giving fear and concerns permission to discourage me.
In those moments of apprehension, help me remember that I belong to You, and that You are not the author of fear or anxiety, but the giver of love and a sound mind. Teach me Your ways to respond to problems by giving thanks in them. Your Word assures me that You are always there with me. You are the Blessed Controller of all things, and nothing escapes Your attention in my life. You have given me every tool and spiritual blessing to fight against those things that try to steal my peace. You’ve promised that when I’m stressed and burdens are trying to weigh me down, I can come to You. You will give me sweet rest!
Whether the anxiety stems from work, parenting, finances, physical issues, or even world conditions, You are there, Lord, to shoulder the weight. Teach me to recognize the stressful trials as tools for you to shape me and rearrange me. Through those difficult times, You will teach me patience, enlarge my faith, and help me see things I couldn’t see earlier—if I will only let You. When I’m clueless as to what to do, Lord, I want to turn to you first, not last.
Forgive me for trying to handle things on my own, Lord. The need to be in control sometimes gets a stronghold on my life. That only makes things worse. I want to trust You more and see things from Your perspective, not my own. No one makes me feel uptight, angry, or stressed, and no one forces me to react negatively. I choose to respond according to my beliefs. Do I believe You are in control? Do I believe You created all things and hold all things in Your Hand? Do I believe You are truly good? When an anxious thought creeps in, help me to stop and relax, to take that thought captive, and to turn apprehension into a calm prayer for deliverance. Revamp my belief system, Lord. Show me a new way to handle life according to Your Way.
No matter what issues I am dealing with; no matter how big the problems or situations, I’m laying them all at Your feet today. Turn these potentials for stress into lessons for growth and trust. When I can’t see any possible solutions, I choose to believe that You are working things out for my good—in Your own time, as you have in the past. Show me what to do, or what not to do. As I focus on You, remembering Your promises and Your words, I believe You will fill me with a peace that is beyond all understanding.
In Your precious name,
A Short Prayer for An Anxious Heart
Dear Lord, I thank you that I can come to You always for any reason. I’m grateful that when I pray to You, You answer me. Help me to come to You at the beginning of my fears and anxieties instead of waiting until I can’t stand them anymore. The quicker I come to You the better. You want to free me from ALL my fears. Help me look to You for help more often so that I can be radiant with Your joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.
– Jennifer Heeren
Rebecca Barlow Jordan is an inspirational author, speaker, and passionate follower of Jesus who loves to encourage others heart to heart. She has written 11 books and over 1700 other articles, greeting cards, and other inspirational pieces. Her daily devotional Daily in Your Presence is available for delivery through Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Rebecca at www.rebeccabarlowjordan.com.
This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can’t find the words to pray.
Prayer for Healing
Prayer for StrengthPrayer for ProtectionMorning PrayersGood Night PrayersSerenity PrayerA Birthday PrayerSinner’s PrayerPrayer for ForgivenessPrayer for GuidanceIntercessory PrayerPrayer for PeacePrayer for FaithPrayer for Love