A recipe for misery

As a Pastor, I'm amazed how many of us (yes. . . us, me too) struggle with anxiety, stress, social aversion, and other issues that disconnect us and torment us as we navigate life.  

I don't think there are easy answers to these things, but I know that God's Word does talk about them, . . . a lot.   Colossians 3, Psalm 23, Philippians 4, etc. . are some good scriptures to meditate on if you're in the middle of a tough season with these unwelcome guests.   Just because we look to scripture and feast on God's Word doesn't mean we discount the medical, hormonal, and physical nature of stress and anxiety.  Far from it.  We just think we should start where the Bible starts, and only after that seek other helps.  

This list below is very hard to read.  It's penetrating.  I think, . . to have mindsets like these and mull on these lies is a recipe for misery in your life.  Sometimes there's not much we can do and these kinds of thoughts invade us.  In those times we should run to the scriptures, the Holy Spirit, and our Christian family.   But, certainly we can be on the lookout for these thoughts creeping in and start to recognize when and where we're "vulnerable".   So, I offer this research below, not to shame anyone, or have an attitude of "get it together!".  That would be hypocritical.  

I offer this for awareness and vigilance as we seek the Lord, together.  Be aware of these mindsets, don't accept them.  Fight. Together.  We are not victims, we are more than conquerors.   

Common Cognitive Disorders

A partial list from Robert L. Leahy, Stephen J. F. Holland, and Lata K. McGinn’sTreatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders (2012).

1. Mind reading. You assume that you know what people think without having sufficient evidence of their thoughts. “He thinks I’m a loser.”

2. Fortune-telling. You predict the future negatively: things will get worse, or there is danger ahead. “I’ll fail that exam,” or “I won’t get the job.”

3. Catastrophizing.You believe that what has happened or will happen will be so awful and unbearable that you won’t be able to stand it. “It would be terrible if I failed.”

4. Labeling. You assign global negative traits to yourself and others. “I’m undesirable,” or “He’s a rotten person.”

5. Discounting positives. You claim that the positive things you or others do are trivial. “That’s what wives are supposed to do—so it doesn’t count when she’s nice to me,” or “Those successes were easy, so they don’t matter.”

6. Negative filtering. You focus almost exclusively on the negatives and seldom notice the positives. “Look at all of the people who don’t like me.”

7. Overgeneralizing. You perceive a global pattern of negatives on the basis of a single incident. “This generally happens to me. I seem to fail at a lot of things.”

8. Dichotomous thinking. You view events or people in all-or-nothing terms. “I get rejected by everyone,” or “It was a complete waste of time.”

9. Blaming. You focus on the other person as the source of your negative feelings, and you refuse to take responsibility for changing yourself. “She’s to blame for the way I feel now,” or “My parents caused all my problems.”

10. What if? You keep asking a series of questions about “what if” something happens, and you fail to be satisfied with any of the answers. “Yeah, but what if I get anxious?,” or “What if I can’t catch my breath?”

11. Emotional reasoning. You let your feelings guide your interpretation of reality. “I feel depressed; therefore, my marriage is not working out.”

12. Inability to disconfirm. You reject any evidence or arguments that might contradict your negative thoughts. For example, when you have the thought I’m unlovable, you reject as irrelevant any evidence that people like you. Consequently, your thought cannot be refuted. “That’s not the real issue. There are deeper problems. There are other factors.”