I want to address an issue that has really been bothersome to me lately. ANTs – Automatic negative thoughts.
ANTs – Automatic negative thoughts.
ANTs are those things that we revert to on autopilot when we are not actively engaged. Everyone has negative thoughts. Some of us entertain them less than others, some of us through a fricken ANT party.
When your mind goes to the worst case scenario, that is an ANT. When you eliminate everything short of the worst case scenario, you are giving the ANT top billing.
Every time that you give credence to a negative thought you reinforce it. Your brain releases chemicals that literally forms grooves in your brain so that next time, the thought already has an established path. After a while, it becomes a trench.
The more time and energy that you give to ANTs, the more they will take over and torment your mind.
How do I stop ANTs?
Here are 3 ways to stop your ANT infestation:
- Write It Down. This will help you to clearly identify them. Sometimes in writing them, you may realize how ridiculous they sound.
- Investigate. OK, so what if the worst case happened? What would be the results? Research what the cost would be. If anything besides the worst case scenario happens, then you should rejoice!
- Talk Back! By writing them down and researching the scenario you will find that this ANT is fear based not factual based, and you need to speak the facts!
Before you can write them down, you have to be able to recognize the negative thoughts. If they have taken over your mind and seemingly laid waste to your life and functioning, professional help may be needed.
For a cute acronym, ANTs are indeed a serious matter. I am not making light of this. This is a real issue that everyone deals with, but some seem to handle it better than others.
Nobody wants to be around the negative Nellie or be the Debbie Downer in your group. If you wonder if your ANTs are affecting you, asking your friends is a good start. Trust the people that love you and care about you.
Don’t let ANTs steal your joy or your future.
Write on my friends, write on!