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How to Get Rid of ANTS!


How to Get Rid of ANTS!

Does it sometimes feel like you can't do anything right?  Everything is going wrong?  You're a failure?
Most likely that's due to what is known as Automatics Negative Thoughts - ANTs.  They are cynical, negative, or complaining thoughts that come to us unsolicited.  We all have them from time to time and they often hold us back from doing the the things we want to do.  They hold us back from success or happiness.

But you don't have to be a victim of ANTs.  Here's a few tips to help you get rid of ANTs, once and for all:

1)    Recognize & Identify the Thought - the first step to combatting ANTs is to recognize when they're happening.  You may start to hear that catastrophizing voice in your head that causes doubt and uncertainty.  Once you hear that thought in your mind, give it a personality or a name.  Think of it as an outside entity.  Now that you've thinking of the negative thought in the third person, ask yourself if you would allow someone else to talk to you the way this ANT is talking to you.  Stand up for yourself.  Don't let them bully you or hold you back from your full potential.  By separating yourself from your thought, it's easier to combat them.

2)  Challenge the Thought - once you've idetnified the ANT, ask yourself if it is actually true.  More often than not, the ANT is completely false and you literally have no evidence to support such a false claim.  Yet you've allowed that ANT to become engrained in you and become part of who your are.  If you find that this is happening to you, practice reminding yourself that these thoughts are false and recognize that you have no evidence to support this false claim.  Then begin to notice the evidence that contradicts the ANT or supports the opposite to be true.

2)    Get Perspective - thoughts are simply that.  Just thoughts.   They can't hurt you and have no power over you.  We have thousands of thoughts every day.  Some good and some bad.  Have you ever notcied that you have some thoughts that you give a lot more attention and power to?  If you struggle with ANTs, you probably focus a lot of energy and attention of those thoughts.  And some of them may be legit thoughts.  They may be valid.  There may be areas in your life that you wish you had made difference choices and done something different.  If you rate the significance of these thoughts on a 10 point sclae, would you find that you're giving some of the ANTs a rating of 8 or 9, when it really only deserves a rating of 3 or 4?  If so, then the guilt and fear may actually be holding you back and not allowing you to make the changes you so desire.  Adjusting your perspective might help.  Remember that these thought are simpy thoughts and don't have any power over you, unless you give them power.

4)  Replace the Thought - Now we need to flip your Automatic Negative Thought into a Positive & Affirmative Thought.  I'm not talking about the meme worthy, inspirtational, unrealistic affirmations we see all the time.  It's about taking a look at the irrational, negative thought that is bringing you down and causing problems, and replacing it with a realistic positive thought.  You decide what you allow to influence you.  Out with the bad, in with the good.

For example, your automatic thought may sound something like this...
"Something bad is going to happen.  It always does."  

But instead, replace it with...
"Bad things and good things happen.  When bad things happen, I don't like it, but I've proven that I can handle it."

So, the next time you notice some pesky ANTs, remind yourself to recognize them, challenge them, reframe them, and replace them.  If you make a habit of dispelling and disarming these negative thoughts, you will find that over time, they will no longer have control of you and instead you can control your own feelings and gain the confidence to be and do the things you want to do.  You can conquer Automatic Negative Thoughts.

The oversimplied version - Replace Automatic Negative Thoughts with Positive Affirmative Thoughts.

If you'd like to read other blog posts I've written, please click here.

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