I invite you to go on an ANT fast
With the exception of what is going on right this second of your existence, everything else is a story. A story is an account of an event that is not currently present to your senses. It can be based on memories or entirely imaginary. Either way, the stories that circulate through your head can be categorized into 4 main types:
1. Stories about your past:
Things that happened or things that could have happened. Things that you believe have happened or things that you have been told have happened. These include interpretations of history/herstory.
2. Stories about your future:
Things that you imagine as possible or likely. Things you hope for and things you fear. Things that others predict or things that others think about your future.
3. Stories about others or the world you live in:
These might be gossip or interpretations of what’s going on for others and the stories that they have shared. These include news stories and perspectives on the world you live in.
4. Stories about who you are and your core identity:
These are our beliefs about ourselves, our values, our personas and how we present ourselves to others.
All these stories can be empowering or disempowering, depending on where you focus your attention and which stories you repeat again and again. The ones that are disempowering lead to the formation of ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts). ANTs have an important role in our lives – they help us stay safe. But too many ANTS impede our ability to explore new possibilities, grow and enjoy life to the fullest.
This week, I invite you to go on a 24hr fast from ANTs. Like any other type of fast, the first time is the hardest. Here are some how-tos:
- Start your fast day by writing down three things you are looking forward to.
- Avoid watching, reading or listening to any news for 24hrs. As you know, news stories tend to be dramatic, exaggerated and negative.
- Take some time to read some stories about human progress, positive innovations, successful social movements or change leaders who had a positive impact on the world. Here’s a potential starting point: 7 emerging Environmental technologies that bring hope for 2020.
- Make a list of at least 20 people who have had a positive impact on your life. This should include people who helped you when you needed help, people who love you no matter what, people you enjoy spending time with and people you find easy to connect to.
- Make a list of 20 things you have that are easily taken for granted (i.e.: electricity, water, shoes, pillows, etc.)
- Send someone a message letting them know why you appreciate them.
- Remember a story about a time in your life when you managed to be resilient, resourceful and creative. Share this story in writing or out loud.
- When a negative thought pops into your mind, notice that it’s playing an important role and likely trying to protect you. Appreciate the role it plays.
Have a smarter day, a smarter week and a smarter life,
A love note from your future self:
You already know that boats are safe in harbour, but that’s not what boats are meant to do.
It is thanks to your ability to imagine positive futures and focus on empowering stories about your past, that I have had the privilege and courage to lead an interesting life. I am grateful to you for the risks you’ve taken and the endless challenges that you have managed to overcome.
Love, from your future self
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