Remember when we spoke about Killing Your ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts)?
Now it’s time to look a little closer at which ones you’ve got under control and which are breeding ongoing negativity. If you look closely you will notice there are 8 species of ANTs.
The 8 Species of ANTs
- All or nothing thinking: “I didn’t do my workout today” = “I never manage to keep my own promises.” This species of ANT breeds fastest when you are in the habit of using words like “always”, “never”, “every time”, and “everyone”.
- Over-focusing on the negative: i.e.: daily complaints about what’s NOT going well as opposed to celebrating what IS going well.
- Thinking with your feelings: “I feel like I made the wrong decision”. This is mixing up thoughts and feelings. Feelings are meant to be felt, not figured out or fixed. Trying to intellectualize your feelings often leads to exacerbating them, when what you really need is to feel them and release them. Only once you have released a feeling can you analyze it intellectually.
- Guilt focused: This species of ANT breeds fastest when you are in the habit of using words like “ought”, “must”, “have to”.
- Labeling: Boxing yourself or others into judgmental terms or names, even though you know that every person and situation is much more complex than what appears at first glance.
- Mis-Fortune telling: Predicting the worst outcome for any event.
- Mind reading: You know what they are thinking, even though they have not told you and you have not asked. “They think I know nothing!”
- Blame: Telling your story from the victim/helpless perspective instead of taking responsibility for your successes or failures.
Identifying the species will help you get your ANTs out of your head. Notice your thinking patterns, what you talk about out loud, and your self-talk.
Once you pick out the species you can shine a light on it by becoming curious about when you developed this thinking pattern. Were there people in your past who had lots of ANTs? Are there people with lots of ANTs on your social media feeds, in movies, on the news, at work? Just shine a quiet light on them and make a decision to become immune to other people’s ANTs. The less you pick up from others, the easier it will be to handle your own.
Have a smarter day, a smarter week and a smarter life,
Ginny Santos, your holistic coach.
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A love note from your future self:
As a social animal, you are naturally influenced by your social environment.
Fortunately you live in a time period with countless opportunities to join all sorts of communities. I am grateful for the friendships you have developed which continue to offer positive companionship in old age.
Love, from your future self.
Disclaimer: The content contained in this blog is for educational and inspirational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health care professional. Do not disregard, avoid or delay obtaining medical or health related advice because of something you may have read on this blog.