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?