Counseling for Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Reflections

Automatic Negative Thoughts

I like acronyms mostly because they are easy to remember and use on a daily basis. One that has been helpful to myself and clients is "ANTS" which are automatic, negative thoughts.  Ants can creep into your daily thoughts quite easily, but being aware of them means being able to control their power over you.

 

Some examples of automatic thoughts might be-

 

this will never work

I can't do that!

that's too hard

I'm not smart enough

I'm not capable of that

this is too much work

I'll never finish that

I always make that mistake

 

While we can't control what might pop into our head at a given moment, we can choose what to do with that thought.  If we recognize that these thoughts are sometimes based on past experiences and not current ones, and not rooted in reality but based on feelings not facts, then we don't have to believe they are true.  Realize deeply that we all have a choice in how we speak to ourselves. While we all have our limitations, many of them are self-imposed and when we work hard to rise above, we can. Positive talk, and action, makes a big difference!

 

As a new year has begun, why not try to become more aware of all the negative thoughts in your life?  Choose to challenge the ANTS in your life with some healthier, positive talk and action!