Challenge those ANTs!
ANTs are Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs)
These types of negative thoughts often just happen. Your brain has what is called a negativity bias. Because our nervous system is designed to keep us alive, our mind scans the environment (and our thoughts) for signs of danger.
Whenever ANTs creep into the mind, they must be challenged. We challenge them by talking back to them; if we don’t, ANTs become the seeds of future anxiety and depression.
Some people say they have trouble talking back to their ANTs because they feel that they are lying to themselves. Initially they believe that all of their thoughts must be true.
DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU THINK.
It takes effort to redirect this habit. But first we have to know what they are…
1. “ALL OR NOTHING” THINKING:
Thoughts that are all good or all bad.
2. “ALWAYS” THINKING:
Thinking in words like always, never, no one, everyone, every time, everything.
3. FOCUSING ON THE NEGATIVE:
Only seeing the bad in a situation.
4. FORTUNE TELLING:
Predicting the worst possible outcome to a situation with little or no evidence for it.
5. MIND READING:
Believing that you know what another person is thinking even though they haven’t told you.
6. THINKING WITH YOUR FEELINGS:
Believing negative feelings without ever questioning them.
7. GUILT BEATINGS:
Thinking in words like should, must, ought, or have to.
Attaching a negative label to yourself or to someone else.
Blaming someone else for the problems you have.
When you notice that an ANT has crept in, challenge it! This practice will lead to changing your default.
Give it a try.
You got this!