How to Stop Worrying

Episode #135

It happens to us all. Worry is just one of those parts of life that we face on a day to day basis. If we’re not careful, the worry can take over and make our confidence, hope, and peace nearly obsolete. Listen in as we share tips on how to beat worry so you can take back control of your life and your thoughts. More resources at claudinesweeney.com and mindoverchaos.com.


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If we aren’t careful our thoughts will run our life. This is why we are encouraged by scripture to “take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ”. But how can we practically do this when we have so many thoughts going through our mind? Listen in to learn how so you can take back control of your mind which will lead you to feeling better – more peace, joy and confidence.

This is episode 134 – Taking Your Thoughts Captive. You’re listening to the Rise up and Shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids. We have both shared very similar and very real struggles from chaos to coaches. We now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So, tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the Rise up and Shine podcast. Hi friends, welcome back here to another episode. Well, I am going to start us off by reading a scripture. This is actually the second half of this verse, but in 2 Corinthians 10:5, it says we “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” many of us have heard that scripture, we have memorized that scripture but we Claudine and I have really learned the practical side of taking our thoughts captive because we have learned from our own experience as well as coaching other women that it feels nearly impossible to take our thoughts captive.

How do we do that? Right. How do we have so many thoughts running through our mind all the time and I can just like whether we’re overwhelmed, whether we are over scheduled overbooked or just any day today, we can feel so scattered, and those spots can just be like a big, jumbled mess in our heads. So, the idea to take a thought captive, How do I do that which is why we want to talk about it today because there are practical that we can do. And the reason why this is so important is because we feel like our thoughts are just automatic and we’re going to discuss that more in depth, but that we actually can take control of our thoughts. Yeah. And some researchers or studies have shown they believe that we have anywhere from 6000, up to 60,000 thoughts per day. And One article said they believe that 80% of these are negative and up to 95% are repetitive, which is part of the automatic thoughts that you’re talking about.

That we’re not even consciously thinking about it. They’re just the thoughts that are our default thinking and they are just common, common, common. They’re automatic. And it’s so important to talk about this because as you and I teach and work with our clients on we know that our thoughts create our emotions which fuel our actions, which is how we end up with the life we are living, right? So, if we’re not living the life of our dreams, the first place to look is our thoughts. And when you think about it, if we’re spiraling in negative thinking, it definitely affects your mood. If you’re ever around someone who just seems like in a bad mood, most likely they’re kind of fixated on some negative thinking going on. They are focused on something bothering them. Sometimes they’re tired, sometimes they’re hungry. But there could be other reasons there. And that’s why if we can slow down and allow ourselves to really think about what we’re thinking. There’s so much power in that because we cannot take our thoughts captive if we’re not aware of what our thoughts are.

And again, like we think that they are just default and they are they are just thoughts that pop up, they just keep coming, keep coming, keep coming. But we can take control of it. And like you said, the life that we are living, we can trace it back to what we’re thinking right? And so, when we think of that verse of taking our thoughts captive to make it obedient to Christ I that for me personally I realized when I became much more aware That a lot of my thoughts are negative, as you said, 80% tend to be negative. And that’s not really obedient to Christ does not want us to shame ourselves or should ourselves. Exactly. And that’s what we do our human nature, we do that especially based on experiences we’ve gone through. And so that scripture was so I mean it just blew my mind when I learned the practical aspect of it because again, you can memorize the scripture, you can quote the scripture, but it doesn’t change you and when I actually started practicing this and help other friends and clients actually talk to them about how to take your thoughts captive and watching them practice.

It’s transformative. Absolutely, yeah. And it’s so important. You and I have both red switch on your brain by Dr. Caroline leaf, which she ties in a lot of the science and the scriptures. Yeah, we both do. And one of the things she says in her book, and I’ll quote as we think we change the physical nature of our brain as we consciously direct our thinking, which is really taking captive of our thoughts, right? We can wire out toxic patterns of thinking and replace them with healthy thoughts and that’s what we’re after. You know, you talk about the automatic thoughts. I call them ants, automatic negative thoughts. And just like at a picnic, you don’t want little ants crawling all over your blanket. We don’t want little ants crawling around in our heads, destroying our picnic of a life that we should be having, right? So, it’s really important. That’s why we’re talking about it today. So how do we take captive our thoughts and what are the practical look like that? Because again, you and I, we’ve known this scripture. I’ve read it for many, many, many years and I didn’t understand the science of it.

I didn’t understand the practical of it until I started going on my own journey and got certified as a coach and then learn the tools that actually um coincide with the scriptures really, really well, I was just going to say it was amazing to see the correlation to the scriptures, right? I mean so much that there’s so many scriptures on our thoughts also our feelings and our emotions. And I remember studying through psalms and David, you know, when I was going through a season of depression and I was just reading through the psalms, I thought, oh my gosh, he is totally having this mental conflict. I can totally identify with that and how he was feeling based on the words he was saying when he was writing. You know, because he was fixated on feeling abandoned and rejected and left. And so, but then when he returned to, but God, you’re my strength, you’re my rock, you’re my fortress. He would feel different.

And we do that. We noticed when we really pay attention and again, slow down because what we do, we distract ourselves. We don’t like to well, there’s different things. We either don’t like to hear what we’re thinking, or we just feel like we have no time for that, right? I mean, I have so much to do. I can’t really focus on what’s going on in my head. And I just gotta do do do. But what happens? We distract ourselves. We’re totally unaware. And they’re just running the program. They’re running our program. And that’s how we feel. And then that’s how we act or behave. So that feeds into our first practical, which is create the space and the time to listen to your thinking and we like to call this being a conscious observer. So, when you sit there and you give yourself the space, turn off the music. I even heard it recommended even if you go on a run, run or walk with no music, no podcast, nothing just allow yourself to your brain to process here what you’re thinking. But as the conscious observer, if you notice there’s like there’s kind of two people in there, if you will, right, there’s the talker, there’s the observer.

And so, the talker is just the chatterbox, just whatever is automatic, whatever default. Well, you know, we’re like, never not thinking so, but then there’s the observer, the observer, you can just observe. Listen with curiosity, not judgment, not shame. Just Oh, that’s interesting. That’s coming up because our thoughts are what we give meaning to situations, an event, a circumstance, whatever. Our thoughts tend to be the meaning. They go way back to our beliefs that we have formed over the entire lives, essentially our own reality. And so, to give yourself the space and the time to just listen to what the automatic thinking is saying. Just observing, observing. Yeah, I like that. I like that separating that we are not our thoughts, right? We have thoughts and then we can get so judgmental of ourselves right and others or others.

But especially we’re talking about our own thoughts like to just observe them too. It’s a time to think and process and not react, but so many times we have these thoughts and we’re like, oh no, and we should ourselves or shame ourselves like you said earlier. So, the second practical, which you already kind of mentioned is get curious, not critical. So, when you observe these thoughts, when you’re like, well, gosh, that’s interesting. And that’s what I do. I’m like, well, that’s an interesting thought. Instead of shaming myself or judging myself or criticizing myself for having that thought, right? Because I think as Christians, we can do that like, oh my gosh, that wasn’t very godly. I should have thought that. But oh my gosh, we have so many thoughts based on just our world and our environment around us. It just depends on what you saw Red watched, you know, encountered in the world. Yeah, from the past. All of that. And so, to really take that time to be curious and not critical as you stop and take the time to be aware, just go, well, that’s an interesting thought I just had and also realize it’s not you. It’s just the thought.

It’s just a sentence that popped in your head that may have nothing to do with you and your values. I mean, I have thoughts all the time. I’m like, where’d that come from that’s useless and it doesn’t serve me. So, I’m going to not ever think it again and let it go right? But it takes effort, and it takes that awareness that you brought up. Absolutely. And to tag along also with Claudine is writing them down when we are observing when we’re taking that time in the space. And we’re getting curious, write them down, write them down in a journal because you’ll start to see patterns. A lot of our thoughts again, there’s beliefs under it and it’s a pattern. We tend to form these beliefs from about ourselves. Some for example, I’m not good enough, I’m a I’m a I’m lazy, I’m forgetful. I’m a lot of labels. We label ourselves or someone else has labeled us. Um but just write them down, curious, write them down and again. Don’t shame yourself, right? Or don’t should yourself. Oh, I shouldn’t think these things. But just right now, just notice, write them down.

Just notice that’s It. And to be clear, we’re not writing down the 60,000 thoughts a day. Just the few that are giving you the most trouble. The ones that um you know, do not spur on positive emotions, the ones that you want to take captive. So, Our 3rd practical is to reframe or make new thoughts, right? So sometimes we have thoughts about a circumstance or someone in our life or a situation and that thought does not serve us, and it creates some negative emotions. So, it might be time to renew. And I love romans 12 2. We talked about it all the time. It’s one of the foundational scriptures for my coaching practice and yours as well as be transformed by the renewing of your mind. And so, we renew our minds when we take those thoughts captive and we choose thoughts that honor and serve not only God but ourselves and others and it is a practice right? And that is a big part of both of our work is teaching and um coaching our clients to learn how to make those transformative thoughts to find thoughts that feel true to them.

But our thoughts that will help renew and transform, so that’s practical number three and create the life you want because when we really observe when we’re being that conscious observers were like you know these thoughts keep coming up but I don’t really like how I feel about it you know and then decide by then you can start deciding. I think I want to change some of these right? You know maybe they served me for a time a lot of times. It could even just be a protection you know for yourself but it just recognize it. I don’t think these are serving me very well my life and my relationships and so what can I do differently? And I think you know just like what you said with that scripture be transformed by the renewing of your mind when we are reframing these thoughts and we decided we would like to change our mind then that is transformative actually is renewing new thoughts and rewiring new neural path.

And if the more we practice it in our day today, then those will start to become a little bit more of the default. Um, but again, it does take work. It really does take work. It takes time. It’s not gonna be a quick fix. It seems so simple, which it is, but it’s just constant reminder of, you know, because a lot of the thoughts that pop up again, they’re automatic. And so rather than, oh my gosh, you know, shut it right, it’s oh, that popped up again, Okay, what is this telling me? What do I need to attention to here, Whether it’s in the relationship or how have I been feeling about myself and my feeling overwhelmed. So sometimes when we’re tired or were overwhelmed, then a lot of those automatic thoughts kind of keep popping up again and you’re like, oh, I just I just don’t feel like I’m having a good week and that’s okay. I’m telling you dehydration and lack of sleep or two of mine. Like when I start going negative, I’m like, how did I sleep last night? And I better go have a glass water?

I kid you not both of those. There are sometimes some physical reasons why we go our thoughts get a little negative, but, you know, you said something interesting, It’s simple, but not easy. And I feel like this work is like going to the gym, right? It’s really simple. Someone can hand us a list of five machines to go work out to get great biceps, but we have to keep practicing it over and over before we actually see change. It’s not a one and done thing. I mean, wouldn’t it be great if we could go to the gym and just do the machines once and have the legs of our dreams and the biceps of our dreams and the abs of our salad and yeah, yeah, like it would be, it would be so great. But the same is true of this practice. It’s like taking captive our thoughts and being conscious preserver or thoughts in the first place to be able to take them captive is a practice, and it takes work and we do it over and over. But as we do it, it does become the new default. And the truth is, you know, now I’ve been going to the gym and started with a trainer November and still going to gym because I talked about it so often on the podcast.

I know or walk. I mean I keep my body moving. It’s become easier and easier now I desire it. It’s so funny. Yesterday I really wanted to go to the gym but we’re just still overcoming our latest bout of illness and so I was like, you know, it’s probably not the right time. My body still needs rest, but I was actually desiring it. Which I thought, wow, this is a new feeling. I like this feeling. The thought was exercise is good for me. So, I went from yuck, It’s not me. I don’t like to exercise too. Oh, I can’t wait. My body really craves this. I know how good it is for me. And I feel so good after so simple but not easy. But then once it does transform, then it is actually kind of easy. Which is fun when you start really recognizing the reward is greater than the sacrifice. Because there is a sense of things that we’re giving up, right? Our comfort or security or protection especially with our thoughts kind of the world as we saw it for us as we saw ourselves. So, there is kind of this you know giving up of that sacrificing But what you get when you really are observing your thoughts and you can control more of your thinking.

The reward is just incredible. It’s a life to the full I mean it’s living life that’s rising up and shining and living this best life that I think we’re meant to live. Absolutely. And finally, we have practical number four which makes sense. It says fill your mind with things that help you go in the direction that you want to go. And so, because a lot of our thoughts are automatic, they really do come from what we put into our minds every day, right? What do we watch? What do we read? What are we listening to? What conversations are we having as we fill our mind with all this external um sensory information and data. Those are going to create some of those thoughts, right? And so, we have to be conscious of what we’re filling our mind with. I know you know obviously for us as Christian women; the scriptures are super important. I spend time every morning um to fill my mind with scriptures to set my day. I also read books that talk about the brain that talk about uh things that I’m interested in that will help me live my best life now.

And as I continue to fill my mind with those things it becomes easier and easier to have those positive thoughts and thoughts that are creating the emotions I want to feel and fueling the actions I want to take. So that’s a really big one. Just make sure what are you filling your mind with? You know my husband speaking of this, he stopped watching the news like three months ago, four months ago. He just decided it’s not helping me in any way. I don’t really care what’s going on. I know my wife will fill me in. You know if we’re about to be bombed by a nuclear or something. He I guess he’s relying on me or our other friends to let him know but it’s really changed him and he’s like you know I have such different thoughts now. I don’t think about all these negative things. I can concentrate on work and my relationships and things that are yeah, positive and really living his best life and it’s been so helpful for him. So, there you have it.

Well, and one of the scriptures I love also, I’ll finish off with this is Romans 4:8,
“Finally, Brothers, Whatever is true, Whatever is noble, whatever is right, Whatever is pure, Whatever is lovely, Whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.”

So these are very specific things, strategies and practical tips also aligned with the bible right to help you, like you said Claudine rise up and shine and live life to the full because so many of us desire that and take captive our thoughts is a huge contributing driving force on that, on being able to achieve absolutely well. And as life coaches, this is what Ashley and I do. We help women take captive of their thoughts and renew their minds so that they can transform your life. We can help you find those thoughts that you may not even be aware of and help you unwind the stories that are holding you back that are keeping you from rising and shining and living life to the fall. So, you can find us over at Claudine Sweeney.com or MindOverChaos.com.

We have more resources there and you can always schedule a free 25-minute discovery call where we can teach you our number one tool that helps us live the life that we want to live. Thank you so much for tuning in and we’ll see you next time. Alright, everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation today here on the Rise up and Shine podcast. If you haven’t already, please take a second to hit that subscribe button, so you never miss an episode and while you’re at it, share this episode with a friend who you know, it can bless today if you want to visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at Claudine Sweeney dot com and Ashley at Mind over Chaos dot com. Our links are in the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So, remember, ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life.