What are A.N.T.S.? Aren’t they just pesky insects that we hate in south Texas? That build huge mounds after a big rain storm? Well, yes, those are ants but I’m speaking of a different type of A.N.T.S., Automatic Negative Thoughts and many people suffer from them. Automatic thoughts whether negative or positive often have their origins in a person’s childhood or other significant relationships. They become a tape, for lack of a better term, running in one’s head, hence the “automatic” and are often negative; the negative messages one heard and believed were true. The person may believe they are unintelligent, unworthy, unattractive, or shameful to name a few. They may even believe they are destined for a fruitless life.
To correct these A.N.T.S one must make a deliberate effort to capture these thoughts and correct them. I encourage people to do this by concentrating on the logical ideas that contradict the A.N.T.S. For example, “I’m unintelligent. No, the truth is I have a master’s degree and have been successful in completing my higher education so this cannot be a true statement. It must be an A.N.T.S.” So the trick to improving these thoughts is to follow this process:
- Figure out the emotional or situational trigger,
- Discern the lie and/or negative emotion, and
- Replace the lie with a new truth.
Until next time,
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Copyright@2018 Elizabeth K. Oldham, MA, LPC-S, PLLC