Thought Control Tools for Anxiety, Anger, or Depression

Ian Butler, M.A.

Learn 6 ways to control obsessive thinking using a treasured line of Scripture and popular devotions of the Faithful.

Summary by:
Ian Butler, M.A.

Thought Control Tools Catered Toward Anxiety/Anger or Depression

These tools can be used incrementally.  If tool one, the quickest and easiest tool works, you’re finished.  If not, add in the second, the third and so forth.  If they finally do not succeed, it was still very worthwhile to take the stand and resist, so do your best and know you won’t always win.

1. Thought Stopping: Phil 4:6 “The Lord is near. Have no anxiety about anything”

Say firmly in your head, “Stop it [your name]” OR

‘Shhhhh…. Thanks for trying to help… I’ll take care of this problem.’

2. Thought Pulling

Phil 4:6b “…but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Simply reach up to your head or heart and gesture as if you  were taking hold of the anxiety, pulling it out and releasing it to Christ.  Repeat this a total of 3 times if necessary.

3. Receive Christ’s Peace

Phil 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Imagine the peace of Christ coming into your head and heart filling the place vacated by the anxiety.

4. Add to this Deep Breathing and Divine Mercy Imagery:

For three repetitions, on the Thought Pull, exhale a slow full breath, surrendering the burden to Christ saying, “Jesus I trust in You.”  On the slow, full inhale, receive the peace of Christ as the rays coming from his heart in the Divine Mercy image replacing and filling the place vacated by the exhaled anxiety and tension.

5. Thought Switching / Go to Thought

Phil 4: 8 “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

At this point use St. Ignatius’ Application of Senses on your go to though. Walk through each applicable sense including any interior sense of peace or joy and let this fill the imagination. Take at least one minute to fill the imagination with this image and then return to what you are supposed to be doing.  Possible ‘Go To’ thoughts might include memories of security, warmth and love (e.g., Grandma’s Kitchen; God the Father’s lap); scenes from nature that bring peace; repetitions of times where God’s love and security were deeply encountered and people who bring us joy, security or peace.  

6. Pray to your Guardian Angel to guard you from negative thoughts and feelings.