Do you have a problem with ANTs?
While the little black insects can be a real problem, the other kind of ant is far more damaging. Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) are a common problem for people, often working behind the scenes to make us feel stressed, unworthy or anxious, more than we realise.
Our thoughts control how we feel about ourselves and the world around us. Whether our thoughts are positive or negative will dictate how we feel and often how we act. Positive thoughts generally lead to us feeling good, while negative thoughts tend to put us down and make us feel sad, anxious or overwhelmed. Sometimes our thoughts happen so quickly that we fail to notice them, but they can still affect our mood. These are called automatic thoughts, because they happen as if on auto-pilot and tend to be spontaneous. In many cases automatic thoughts are negative and irrational and tend to exacerbate pre-existing anxiety and fears.
ANTs have the following features:
- They are not realistic or logical
- They arise spontaneously with little conscious control
- They increase negative feelings such as anxiety, low self-esteem and stress
- The are self-defeating and persistent
While it can be useful to notice and replace a negative thought with a new rational or more positive thought, it may only touch the surface. It is true that changing negative thoughts to more positive affirmations will often improve our mood and make us feel better. However, moving beyond identifying negative automatic thoughts and learning more about the beliefs and programming that dictate them is a much deeper way of healing and resolving this issue.
For many people with health issues that are chronic or challenging, it is very common for their thoughts, beliefs and feelings to accentuate their health problems and create a no-win situation. By not being able to imagine ourselves having achieved our goal of being healed, pregnant, happy, pain free etc, we essentially lock in place our current situation. In many cases, just by breaking the lock on the chain that binds us to our thinking, our body is free to get on with healing or creating the change that we are truly seeking. It is a case of changing the commonly held notion of ” I will believe it when I see it” to “I will see it when I believe it!”
A range of mind-body techniques can be employed to resolve the emotional imprint or past experience that caused the negative thought to occur in the first place and to also continue to recur. Quantum Emotional Healing and Psych-K are two modalities that I have trained in and find useful. Creating a vision and goal for how you would like your life to be different – whether it be health or personal life and then working with the realm of beliefs or past emotional experiences can help to release old patterns and send ANTs packing. To learn more about my mind-body counselling services or to make a booking, please see this page.