5 Steps to Overcoming Negative Emotions

The ability to feel emotions is a gift from God.  For instance, feeling fearful when you are placed in a vulnerable situation is a reaction that serves to warn you of impending danger and thus
allowing you to protect yourself. 

 Imagine, for example, stepping out on your front porch.  The sky is turning a greenish, gray.  The strong winds are tossing the lawn furniture around the yard.  Just beyond you property line you see a large funnel cloud forming.

The normal reaction to such a sight would be to experience terror, fear, or panic.   No doubt, you would run back into the house and find a safe place to hide.

At that point, fear has served you well.  However, what if you stepped outside and the weather was perfect? The sky was blue, the sun was shining and the birds were singing.  But instead of enjoying the beautiful day, you allow your emotions to take you on a “fear-trip” because in the distance you see a small, harmless cloud and you start to worry that it COULD turn into a tornado.

Now the emotion of fear is no longer your benefactor but it has pulled you into the cruel maze of negative emotions.

When you have thoughts and feelings that become more powerful than your trust in God, then they become emotional “bullies” and they  must be defeated. 

Here are five steps to overcoming negative emotions.

1.  Invite God into the situation.
Trust and worry, love and hate, peace and fear cannot exist in the same space.  When you allow your mind to be filled with troubling thoughts that hold you captive, you, in a practical sense, have crowded God out. 

2.  Run toward the problem, not away from it.
It is only when you are willing to admit how broken you really are that the healing process can begin.  2 Corinthians 10:5 reminds us, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”   If you are serious about achieving emotional health, then don’t pretend that everything is okay.  You must name the problem before you can solve it.

 3.     Turn your thoughts to prayers.
When scary, hateful, discouraging or shameful thoughts encroach on your mind, instead of hiding them, turn them into prayers.  For example, “Lord, I’m afraid…” or “God, you know I hate that person!” or, “Lord, I’m ashamed of my past.” Why pray like this? Because, the covering of denial provides the perfect breeding ground for “emotional infection,” but honestly exposing your thoughts to God through prayer for help is a way of cleaning the wound.  Exodus 22:27 says, “When he cries out to Me, I will hear him, for I am gracious.”

4.      Devour God’s Word.
The only thing strong enough to silence the voice of negative emotions is the Word of God.  How do words that were written thousands of years ago help you deal with the destructive emotions that torment your mind today?  Because God’s Word is not just another book or a decoration for your coffee table. “For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:12,13)

5.      Put a guard over your mouth.
The most influential person you will ever listen to is not Dr. Phil, Sean Hannity or even Dr. James Dobson.  The person who has the most influence on how you think and how you feel about yourself is….you.  Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”   James chapter 3 offers the reminder that the very course of one’s life is set by the words they use.

From this point on make it your goal to let your words to the one you see in the mirror be statements of faith, trust, belief, forgiveness and courage.

 

Remember, invite God into your emotional life…courageously and without pretense, face your struggles…continue to commit your thoughts to God in prayer…saturate your mind with His Word…and speak the truth to yourself.

On a personal note, below are three truths that I remind myself of when a negative emotion threatens…

  • God loves me.  Therefore, He has my best interest in mind.
  • God is in control.  Nothing can touch me that does not come through His loving hand.
  • I can trust Him. Even when I don’t like what’s going on, I know that He has promised to works everything, ultimately for my good.

 

 

Comments

  1. Brenda Alanen says

    Thanks for the book Annie. I am still reading it but it has been extremly helpful and I am thanking God that he put your book in my life at this time. Do you think you will have a study guide to go with it?

  2. Brenda,
    Thanks for your kind words. Glad the book has been helpful. I’ll have to ask our publisher about
    a study guide. That’s a great idea.
    Annie

  3. June Fisher says

    I just read yor article on negative emotions, thank you so much. This morning I have really had a pity party, I usually do this around Christmas. I haven’t been able to be with my family in years at Christmas. We entertain my step children after but are always alone on Christmas day. You have been a blessing to me this morning. May God Bless you

    • June,
      Thank you for your comment. I feel for you. There is such an emphasis on the specific day, December 25th, it’s easy to feel a “let down” when your Christmas is already over. Have you thought about having friends or family over that are in the same situation? May the Lord be extra close to you and may you feel His presence.
      Blessings on you

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