Brain Boot Camp, or How to Shed Unwanted Thoughts

I have had several teenagers and young adults tell me lately, “I have PTSD.” What the actual what is going on?! Generalized Anxiety disorder, panic attacks, gender confusion and sexual disorientation… in middle-class suburban teenagers. Has this always been a thing and we just didn’t know it? 

            I think it is wonderful to normalize conversations about mental health issues. The more we talk about how everyone (and I mean everyone) suffers from the effects of poor mental health decisions, the better. However, talking in a certain way about horrible conditions can make you fear them. The more you rehearse the brutal effects of anxiety, the more anxiety it can produce. It is not wise to give more attention to the problem than the solution. Yes, anxiety disorders exist. No, they are not a life sentence that marks people as incapable or disqualified. 

            Mind what you are giving your power to. Are you handing over all your power to a disease? Are you expecting all your interactions and relationships to revolve around the energy-sucking black hole of fear? Must you now filter all your responses through the lens of a diagnosis? Is it curable, or must you live this way forever?

            I admit to thinking “just pull yourself up by the bootstraps. Find your big-girl panties and get over it. What would Jesus do? Not lounge around feeling sorry for himself.” My favorite? “Just pray about it.” Nothing is wrong with these things. It’s just that they don’t immediately help in the middle of a sweaty, breathless, chest-squeezing episode that comes on when certain things trigger them. These are not long-term solutions. Except praying, which is never a bad idea, just don’t feel God-forsaken if you don’t recognize His voice or don’t know what to do with His word when you are feeling lost.

There is, however, a bedrock you can be anchored to that will support you in acting courageously. It is not an instant fix, but it is a series of choices you must make every day.

It’s really popular to talk about self-care and the necessity to stop stressful patterns and engage in relaxing activities, which is great mental-health advice. We post pictures of ourselves getting pedicures on Instagram with the caption “Self-care day! Take care of you, girl!” and that is great!  Yet, unlikely to enact any lasting change in your mental health.

            Just like it takes a long-term commitment to lose weight or get physically fit, it takes doing the hard things to get mentally fit. Repetition, early rising, scheduling “me time” and finding the resolve and patience to dig deep into the solutions takes real courage.

            There is some healing that can only come by grace. Health is up to us, by way of a series of conscious decisions and taking action to see them through. Galatians 6: 7-8 says,  For what you plant will always be the very thing you harvest. 8 The harvest you reap reveals the seed that was planted. If you plant the corrupt seeds of self - life into this natural realm, you can expect to experience a harvest of corruption. If you plant the good seeds of Spirit-life you will reap the beautiful fruits that grow from the everlasting life of the Spirit.

            Plant seeds of scriptural truth in your life. They will be the bedrock of courage you need when diseased thoughts and attitudes rise up against you and threaten to overthrow all your faith. Start with the daily practice of reading things that are true about you in the Bible. Here is a list of scriptural affirmations that will help you take captive the fearful and anxious thoughts within you:

            There are also apps to help you memorize scripture, such as Remember Me, The Bible Memory App, or Bible Head. You must have the “incorruptible seed” in your head and heart if you want to see true, lasting mental health, reflected by the fruit of the Holy Spirit in you being evident to others. Finally, meditate on His goodness. The app SoulTime is amazing for relaxing reflection on the deep healing God has for us in His word. Get started!

Personal reflection:

1.    What mental health issues have you heard about that you think may be affecting your life?

2.    In what way can you fight painful or destructive thoughts?

3.     Howwill becoming mentally strong help you on your path through the 6 principles of CW, that are dreams, healing, identity, purpose, health, and fashion?


Goal setting and sharing: List 3 goals that you would like to accomplish (at home, at work, with family, etc.) that will allow you to live out your purpose regarding health:


  • Podcast:

  • Weekly Devotionals every Monday & Wednesday:

    • God, Gluten, & Grace

    • The Caregiver’s Caregiver

    • Brain Boot Camp, or How to Shed Unwanted Thoughts

    • Good morning Jesus

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