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Factoid Friday: ANTS or Automatic Negative Thinking

Here is the list of the 9 basic trouble making ANTS in Negative Thinking  These all come from Dr. Daniel Amen’s Book Healing ADD: The Breakthrough Program That Allows You to See and Heal the 6 Types of ADD

ANT #1:  “All or Nothing Thinking.  This is thinking where there is no middle ground and everything is either good or bad.  One is not willing to challenge this type of thinking and look for middle ground.  “There is nothing to do.”  “If I get an A on this test I am a good student, if I don’t get an A I am dumb and stupid – a worthless student.”

ANT #2:  “Always Thinking”. “Whenever you think in words like ‘always,’ ’never,’ ‘no one,’ “everyone,’ “every time,’ and ‘everything,’ those are examples of “always” thinking.  “My wife is always yelling at me.”  “You never listen to me.”  This kind of ANT is extremely common and it takes practice to look out for it in your language and is the nuts and bolts of Negative Political Ads.

ANT #3:  (RED ANT) Focusing on the negative.  Going over and over again in your mind about the negative of yourself or a situation, cannot think of anything positive.  Lots of folks with learning problems of any kind get stuck in this kind of thinking.  This red Ant usually needs someone to intervene into the thinking and assist the person in making a positive list or positive experience and reading it over and over again until there is a belief system built.

ANT #4:  (RED ANT) Fortune-telling.  One predicts the outcome of an experience or situation as the worst possible and as impossible to overcome.  “If I must get up in front of class and read with my stutter all the kids will laugh at me and think I am stupid.”  When you predict that bad things will happen the mind often takes you there and makes it happen.  The Red Ant also needs an intervention because it is based on deeper fears.  I heard of one speech therapist who taught a kid with reading problems to get a rap rhythm going in his head and read to that rhythm – she was the most popular reader in her classroom after her performance.  One needs some strategies to get the mind to predict a positive outcome and make that happen.

ANT #5: (RED ANT) Mind Reading.  One is sure that they know what the other person is thinking and what they might do about what they are thinking.  “Everyone at the party thought my Halloween Costume was stupid and dumb.  They are never going to invite me again to the party.”  One must open their thinking and tell someone what they are mind reading in others and double check because the chances are most likely that no one was thinking what you were thinking at all. One must speak out loud to clarify this thinking, and find out if it is true in order to move to the positive.  One needs to work on communication skills to resolve this kind of thinking and often that feels like taking too big a risk.

ANT #6: Thinking with your feelings.  “This occurs when you believe your negative feelings without ever questioning them.”  Feelings are vitally important to each of us and recognizing their message and using that message to gain self – knowledge is crucial.  Feelings are very complex and need more exploration and are quite often telling one about situations that occurred in the past that one has not completely worked through.  “I feel stupid.” “I feel like you don’t love me.” “I feel guilty so I must be doing something wrong.”

ANT #7:  Guilt Beatings.  Guilt is a useful feeling if you use it like a foghorn, to keep yourself off the sandbar or rocky shoreline – it is a navigator emotion.  When guilt becomes the primary feeling it is not useful or helpful.  One needs to explore what is behind the feeling of guilt and not get stuck at guilty feelings.  When you hear the words ‘should’, ‘must,’ ‘ought to,’ or “have to’ one can recognize they are at a point of guilt and they need to move forward.  Rephrasing what is in the negative guilt mode into a positive is a helpful quick remedy. “It’s in my own best interest to do my homework and make it the best work I can do.”

ANT #8:  Labeling.  When you label someone or yourself with a negative label it says one is unable to deal with this person or situation in a reasonable way.  One begins to expect the worst of themselves or the other person or situation.  The mind races in to make it come true. ‘Jerk,’ ‘idiot,’ or‘spoiled brat,’ are all just labels that make the person or situation into a more negative hole with no ladders out.

ANT #9: (THE MOST POISONOUS RED ANT) Blame.  “Whenever you blame someone else for the problems in your life, you become powerless to change anything.  Many kids play the Blame Game, but it rarely helps them.  Stay away from blaming thought and take personal responsibility for your life.”

Say, maybe you know of some more ANTS that you could name and define?  Let me know?
What kind of ANT stomping do you undertake?

12 Responses to “Factoid Friday: ANTS or Automatic Negative Thinking”

  1. Evelyn Lim Says:

    I enjoyed your post! This ANT naming definitely puts a creative spin to defining our common negative thoughts. The RED ANT sounds highly dangerous!! Its sting is something that I would want to avoid!

  2. deb Says:

    I think I will look for a little plastic ant to put on my desk to remind me to correct this type of negative thinking.
    “Everyone will love my Halloween costume – Everyone will love my Halloween costume” , I am practicing!

  3. Cath Lawson Says:

    Hi Patricia – This is interesting. I was thinking about ants earlier – probably because of your last post.

    I definitely do the thinking with my feelings one too much. And an additional one I can think of it procrastinating. If there’s something I really want to put off, that I shouldn’t – I put it off even if doing so is harmful. It’s a really bad habit.

    Cath Lawsons last blog post..Does Anyone Really Make Money On The Internet?

  4. Patricia Says:

    Glad you like the information sharing. I find the clues in this Ants concept easy to fit into making thinking changes and when one can bring a laugh – well, that is definitely an Ant crusher! I appreciate your comments. Red Ants are such nasty things – I wonder what a fire ant would be?

    Deb – Knowing you, I am sure your house is sensationally decorated for Halloween and your visitors, and that everyone will love your Halloween Costume and your new “bling” outfit for Christmas.

    Cath – I try to call procrastination – contemplation! It feels more positive – do you think procrastination is a red ant or just a black ant?

    Patricias last blog post..Factoid Friday: ANTS or Automatic Negative Thinking

  5. Davina Says:

    Hi Patricia. Which one do I undertake? Um, pretty much all of them at some time or the other, especially #6. I love ants! Always wanted to keep an ant farm for a science project. But they are symbolically good for this idea. They are small and can remain unnoticed (like thoughts) but when you get enough of them, they certainly can be a pain if you don’t deal with them. I loved this post. Thanks.

    Davinas last blog post..Awakening To A Balanced Life

  6. Patricia Says:

    Thank you for your comments and appreciation of the Ants post. I think these pesky critters are a wonderful way to think about positive and negative thoughts and feelings…and a way to get them out of ourselves and let them see the light of day!

    Your post today was lovely and I hope folks will link over and read your good thoughts and ideas. Thank you for sharing two times with me today!

    Patricias last blog post..Factoid Friday: ANTS or Automatic Negative Thinking

  7. Jannie Says:

    This is one of the best motivational things I’ve read in a while. I am luckily following most of them already but #s 6 and 7 I really need to work on.


    Jannies last blog post..My Big Eye

  8. Patricia Says:

    Jannie, You are welcome – I recently had a bit of a run in with some ants and it assisted me in remembering this list of types and remedies.

    I am glad it proved to be good timing for you too! Welcome
    Your comments are so appreciated. Thank you

    Patricias last blog post..Factoid Friday: ANTS or Automatic Negative Thinking

  9. Teddy Says:

    I saw a children’s book that explained these ideas to children, but cannot find it. Anyone out there know of it?
    thank you

  10. Patricia Says:

    I do not know of a children’s book about ANTS but the theory came out of Dr. Amen’s book and clinic work: Healing ADD.

    These negative thoughts come so fast and quickly to folks with trouble staying on focus.

    I found with my own child we used a game with dried strawberries, her favorite. I helped her recognize an ANT and then she had a dried strawberry removed from her ever growing stack of positive thoughts. She began understanding them in relationship to rewards….at 23 she doesn’t need the treats any more, but still has trouble staying positive.

    Patricias last blog post..And The Winner Is!

  11. y naJMI Says:

    i have problem of cursing any one who does wrong to me and it does not stop.
    so kindly suggest

  12. patricia Says:

    y naJMI
    Sounds like you have a big habit that is feeling negative to you. Usually when it is a big habit or behavior that needs changing it is helpful to find a therapist who can assist you in changing the behavior. One needs to just STOP the behavior in the first place and then some of the reasons why one does that behavior will just bubble up to the surface.
    It sounds like a good habit to discard and one that does not serve you well. keep me posted on your efforts and successes – I would like to know