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You may be thinking what the hell is automatic negative thoughts?
Don’t I control my thoughts? How does this go with me regaining my power back in my life?
How will this help me?
Will let me tell you that automatic negative thoughts ( Also known as ANTs) have everything to do with getting back your power in life.
How will you ever regain your power if you are always negative?
In this post, I will explain exactly what ANTs are, the different types of ANTs, how to deal with ANTs, and how to get rid of ANTs.
Why do I need to know the different types of ANTs ?
This is because if you don’t know then you can not set up a plan on how to get more positive.
In doing this you are setting up a positive mindset.
In becoming more positive you are getting your power back in your life.
Grab a cup of coffee and let’s get started.
What is automatic negative thinking ( ANTs)
ANTs usually occur with social anxiety and/or depression.
Wikipedia defines automatic negative thoughts as “thoughts that are negative and random in nature in reference to oneself.
The negative thoughts can come out as ” I’m not good enough” or ” I can’t do anything right”.
Trying to block the thoughts out doesn’t work, it will only have you thinking of the negative thought more.
You are probably thinking then what do I do? Glad you asked.
I will tell you how to deal with the thoughts.
How to deal with negative thoughts
There are so many ideas out in the world on how to deal with negative thoughts.
Let me tell you a story first.
I felt very lonely, lost, and not worth anything after my divorce.
I dated the most horrible men.
They were mentally, emotionally, and physically abusive to me.
I dated these types of men because I thought very negatively about myself.
It wasn’t until I started dealing with my negative thoughts that I was able to regain some of my power back.
This by no means happens overnight.
I still practice dealing with my “stinking thinking” as what I call my negative thoughts.
I want you to be able to gain some of your power back.
So here is how you can regain some power back by letting go of negative thoughts.
- When a negative thought comes to replace the thought with a positive thought. Example of a negative thought “I am not good enough”. Now for the positive thought example “I am good enough”. Even if you do not believe the positive thought still say it.
- Stop hanging out with negative people. If you only surround yourself with people that are negative, whin about everything, or complain about everything then let that person go for now. They are only making you worse with your negative thoughts.
- Write down your negative thoughts. When you write down your thoughts the power is taken away from that thought.
- Don’t entertain your negative thoughts. What that means is when you have a negative thought don’t stay stuck on trying to figure out why you are having the thought. Let the thought come and then let it go.
- Exercise. Getting your body moving is a great way for changing your mood and your thoughts. You don’t have to run a marathon. Just get your body moving.
- Practice gratitude. Make a list of the things you are grateful for, start off with 5 things at first.
- Talk about the negative thought with someone that is positive in your life. Someone that loves you and brings you joy
Pick one or two of these to start practicing in your life.
Don’t get overwhelmed by thinking you have to do all of these every time you have a negative thought.
I started with writing my negative thoughts down in a journal.
I didn’t want to share my personal thoughts with anybody at first.
I just started with the one and built my way up to more.
Different types of ANTs
There are several categories for ANTs.
Read through and see if any of these match your thinking pattern.
Once you learn how and why you are having negative thoughts can you then start figuring out.
How to turn your attitude around and that is a very important step.
- All or nothing thinking. This thinking is when you think you are a success or a failure. You have no middle ground with this type of thinking.
- Labeling. This is when you label a person for the way they acted. Such as “she is always late for work” so “she is irresponsible”. You labeled that person as a whole instead of thinking about the behavior. She may not be irresponsible, she could have run late because her babysitter was late showing up.
- Thinking about your feeling. This is a tricky one. This is when you think you have to figure out why you feel a certain way. Its feelings, just feel them and move on. Feelings are not facts and feelings will lie every time. Take anger for example. When you feel angry it is usually because you feel fear or hurt. This is one that I struggle with the real badly. I will act on my feelings and then later regret them.
- The blame game. This is when having to place blame on a person or group of people for a problem you are having. When it is not the person or group’s fault at all.
- Fortune telling. This one is another big one. This is when you think the outcome will end badly. Even with no evidence pointing to that. An example would be thinking I’m not going to get the job after an interview. Even though you have the job skills that are needed for that job.
- Mind-reading. When you react in a certain way thinking you know what the person or group is thinking. I do this one awful my therapist used to ask me “why don’t you ask the person or people what they are thinking before you react”. This is true we expect the worse therefore we act as if the worse is what the person is thinking. The person or people may be thinking something way different or not even thinking about us at all.
Do you see yourself in any of the above ANTs.
I know that I fall into a couple of those.
I have to catch myself, so I won’t have negative thoughts come up.
If I do then I think about the types of ANTs and ask myself if that is what I am doing.
This too will be a skill that you will pick up on.
I promise it will help you out a lot with knowing how to redirect your thoughts.
5 Tips For Finding Optimism
Optimism…. It’s a four syllable word that can be harder to find than diamonds in South Africa.
But believe it or not, you too can tap into the earth of your surroundings and dig up a rich store of feel-good.
Here are a few ways to do that.
- Find laughter. These days, it isn’t hard to find. With YouTube and social media, there is no shortage of memes, videos, vines, and more to get you laughing. You could also rent a funny movie, watch stand-up comedy, or hang out with funny people. Laughter will lead you to smile, and smiling will lead you to feel good. This brings us to our next point…
- Turn the frown upside down. It’s hard to believe that something as smiling can improve your mood, but studies have linked outward acts of happiness to an internal shift. Hold your smile for a minute, two minutes, five minutes…. see how long you can go. Start your day with a smile.
- Use positive words. Believe it or not, speaking more positively will bring more positive into your life. When you speak words it brings on a power to set your mood and those around you. Try to speak only positive words today. Change that way of thinking into positive thinking.
- Find positive people. The impact of those we hang out with is enormous. Avoid negative influences and people who bring you down with complaining. Misery loves company, as the old saying goes, and these people will quickly bring you down. Find friends that are upbeat, positive, and happy.
- Stay healthy. If you’re feeling tired and sick, it’s easy to get irritable and negative. By contrast, an active lifestyle of healthy choices can maximize your energy levels and build you up.
Negative thoughts will hold you back in your life journey of regaining your power.
Thinking that “I can’t do this” or “this is too hard” will hold you back on your journey.
Pick one or two ways you will deal with your ANTs.
Than practice practice on how you will tackle your thoughts as they come up.
When you practice it will have you prepared for the negative thought as it comes to your mind.
It will be hard at first to change your thoughts at first.
With practice and actually doing it, it will get easier and easier every time.
This is one of the steps that I got hung up on.
I had plenty of negative thoughts and really didn’t believe in this process.
Trust me it does work, and it does become easier.
Leave me a comment or email me and let me know which one you have picked.
I love hearing from you guys.
If you have another way to fight ANTs leave that also.