Negativity! It’s contagious, and it’s a pandemic in-and-of itself in our present world. However, we don’t have to believe everything we think! So, how can we stop those negative thoughts in our minds? Every time we have a thought, our brain releases chemicals. Thoughts are very real and they have a direct impact on how we feel and how we behave.
What we think matters! Every time we have an angry thought, an unkind thought, or a sad thought our brain releases negative chemicals that make us feel bad. When most people are mad, their muscles get tense, their heart beats faster, their hands start to sweat, and they may even get a little dizzy. Our body reacts physiologically to every negative thought we have.
Every time we have a positive thought, a happy thought, a hopeful thought, or a kind thought our brain releases chemicals that make our body feel good. When most people are happy their muscles relax and their heartbeat and breathing slows down. Your body also reacts physiologically to your good thoughts.
Our thoughts are very powerful! Every cell in our body is affected by every thought you have. That is why when we get emotionally upset we often develop physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomachaches.
Thoughts also lie! Unfortunately, if you never challenge your negative thoughts, you always “believe them.” Negative thoughts invade your mind like ants at a picnic. One negative thought is like one ant at a picnic, not a big deal. Two or three negative thoughts, like two or three ants at a picnic, become more irritating. And then ten or twenty negative thoughts can cause real problems and ruin your day.
You can train your thoughts to be positive and hopeful or you can just allow them to be negative and upset you. Once you learn about your thought-processes, you can begin to alter your thoughts and catch yourself when bad thoughts invade and make you feel lousy. Yes, it’s up to you.
I am sharing a simple exercise technique that you may want to try and integrate into your day to help you conquer any destructive thinking patterns. Learning how to change your thoughts can change the way you feel.
LEARN TO KILL THE ANTS (Automatic Negative Thoughts)
The 9 most common types of ANTs are:
- All-or-Nothing ANTs— Thinking things are all good or all bad
- Less-Than ANTs— Comparing yourself to others in negative ways
- Just the Bad ANTs— Only seeing the bad in situations and people and ignoring the good
- Guilt Beating ANTs— Thinking in words like should, must, ought, or have to
- Labeling ANTs— Labeling yourself or others with a negative term
- Fortune Telling ANTs—Predicting the worst
- Mind Reading ANTs— Believing you know what others are thinking
- If Only and I’ll Be Happier When ANTs— Spending time in regret for things you can’t change
- Blaming ANTs— Blaming others for what goes wrong in your life
Whenever an ANT enters your mind, write it down.
Name the ANT (the thought): _____________________________________
ANT Type: ______________________________________________________
Statement eradicating the ANT ___________________________________
|ANT||Type of ANT||Eradicate the ANT|
|I will never be happy again…||Fortune telling||….I am sad now, but I will feel better soon|
|I am a failure…||Labeling||….I have been successful at many things|
|It is all your fault…||Blame||….I need to look at my part in the problem|
|I should have done better…||Guilt Beating||….I will learn from my mistake and do better next time|
|I am old…||Labelling||….I am getting younger every day|
This technique appears simplistic but, it can change your life. Research studies have found this technique to be as effective and as powerful as antidepressant medication for depression. Give it a try, and learn to get good at talking back to the lies you tell yourself. Let me know how it helps you!
Have a great September!