Taking a negative cancer thought captive goes like this.
You begin to become aware of thoughts that increase your stress, lower your mood and pull you away from the people and things that bring joy into your life. For this example, let’s say that it’s a thought about your next scan being bad news. The scan is weeks away, but you find yourself thinking about all the possible negative outcomes that could occur. Sometimes you think of this when you wake up at night, or when you feel an unexpected pain or maybe as you go through the routine of your day. The negative thoughts can grow and rob you of the joy of today by anticipating the possible distress of tomorrow. The thing about waiting for the next scan is that there’s nothing to be done other than caring for your body. So what can you do to reduce the frequency and power of the negative thoughts and increase the joy in your day today? Take your thoughts captive. It’s a three step process.
Step #1: Identify the negative thoughts and the places they’re most likely to occur. There’s an exercise below to help with this.
Step #2: Shorten the time it takes to become aware of the thoughts. Negative thoughts can embed themselves into your life so that you barely notice how a destructive train of thought has begun until it has grown much too powerful. By acknowledging the thought sooner, you decrease the time for a small thought to grow into a major worry or fear. Shortening your awareness begins with looking back. “I’ve been worried about the scan all day. What’s the matter with me? I’ve got to stop this.” But with awareness, you begin to shorten the time until you are aware of the thoughts. “I’ve been worried about that scan all morning. I have to stop.” Then it can be shortened to minutes or even moments. “What’? I’ve begun worrying about the scan and I need to stop before the thoughts get stronger.”
Step #3: Replace your negative thoughts with positive, productive thoughts. If I tell you to stop thinking about an apple, you will think of an apple. It’s just what our mind does. So we need to fill the negative with positive. The BEST way to do this is with the promises of God. This will be fully discussed on Day 5. For now, let’s start with steps one and two.