A Still and Quiet Mind: Twelve Strategies for Changing Unwanted Thoughts – Esther Smith

A Still and Quiet Mind: Twelve Strategies for Changing Unwanted Thoughts by Esther Smith
Published by P & R Publishing on June 22, 2022
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Are you distracted by racing or anxious thoughts? Distressed by intrusive or irrational thoughts? Struggling with sinful or untrue thoughts? You may feel trapped in your own head, but God and his Word have given you many different ways to find freedom. In this practical and sympathetic guidebook, biblical counselor Esther Smith provides twelve powerful strategies that are targeted to different thought struggles. Each chapter is filled with a variety of exercises so that you can begin to change your thoughts right away and live at peace.

If I could pick one book to teleport back in time to my teenage self, this would be it. God was faithful and present in my journey with intrusive thoughts, and I wouldn’t want to short-circuit what I experienced, but this is the book that I wanted and looked for then. I read so many different Christian books and articles about thinking, and a lot of them had great advice, but much of it wasn’t relevant to me and showed that the author wasn’t even aware of circumstances like mine. A Still and Quiet Mind: Twelve Strategies for Changing Unwanted Thoughts is a wonderful gift for Christians dealing with thought problems of different types, from distracting mental chatter to full-blown OCD.

Clarity and Wisdom

Esther Smith draws on her knowledge and experience as a licensed counselor, sharing biblical and therapeutic advice for how Christians can manage their problematic, painful, or sinful thinking patterns. She clearly and succinctly explains different types of thought struggles, and she differentiates sinful thoughts from intrusive thoughts, reassuring readers that they do not need to feel guilt and shame over intrusive thoughts they cannot control. She shares many helpful strategies for changing and healing thought patterns, and always provides caveats when otherwise good advice doesn’t apply to trauma or OCD. There is also a helpful chapter near the end about factors to consider when pursuing or refusing psychiatric medication.

Throughout the book, Smith offers guided meditations that readers can use to help calm themselves and experience God’s presence in their lives. Smith also engages some with potential causes of out-of-control thoughts, writing about how bodily factors impact the mind and encouraging readers to consider how their life story ties in with their unwanted thoughts. I greatly appreciate her holistic perspective, especially since many books like this focus purely on the mind without recognizing how often disordered thought patterns arise from medical conditions, such as autoimmune issues or toxic exposures. Once again, I felt so seen.


A Still and Quiet Mind offers a wealth of wisdom in a concise way, with brief examples and clearly defined strategies that are easy to process and apply. The book is appropriate for teens and adults, and although it comes from a Christian perspective and heavily relies on the Bible, people of different faiths who are open to reading Christian books will also find many of the strategies helpful. I would recommend this to anyone the title resonates with, and strongly encourage counselors and church leaders to read this to better understand and help people who come to them for advice. This book is an incredibly clear, biblical, and helpful book with the power to change people’s lives and lead them on paths to healing, and I highly recommend it.