Happy New Year!! ... yes 3 weeks in and I am still saying it 😜
This year I want to bring you short and valuable content that's focused on bettering your health. After 2021, what better topic to start with than mindset!
"Negative thoughts invade your mind like ants at a picnic."
In his book, Change Your Brain Change Your Life, Dr. Daniel G Amen identifies ten types of negative thoughts which infiltrate our minds if we allow them to. They are labeled as ANTs which stands for Automatic Negative Thoughts.
He identifies ten different ways your thoughts lie to you and make situations seem worse than they are. Think of these ten ways as ten different species of ANTs. 🐜
Your brain is seeking evidence all day
for what you are telling yourself.
“Negative thoughts invade your mind like ants at a picnic." The nine different ways your thoughts lie to you and make situations seem worse than they are listed below. Think of these nine ways as nine different species of ANTs. When you can, identify the type of ANT and you can take away the power they have over you.
1. All or nothing – These are the ANTs that infest your brain when you think everything is good or all bad. It is the same as black or white thinking. For example, let’s say you want to stay consistent and work out a day for 30 days, if you do that, you think you are the most disciplined person on the planet. If you miss a day, you think you have no discipline and give up and go back to not posting at all. A better approach is to acknowledge that you didn’t do your daily workout and then get back on track the following day. One slip up doesn’t mean you should give up entirely.
2. Always thinking – This is when you think in words that overgeneralize, such as always, never, every time, or everyone. Consider some of the thoughts such as “I will never lose weight,” “I have always had a sweet tooth – I will never be able to stop eating chocolate,” This kind of thinking makes you feel like you are doomed to fail at eating right and staying healthy. It is as if you have no control over your actions or behaviors.
3. Focusing on the negative – This ANT makes you see only the negative aspects of situations even when there are plenty of positives. “I know I lost 10 pounds, but I wanted to lose 15, so I’m a failure” is an example of this type of thinking. Focusing on the negative makes you more inclined to give up on your efforts. Putting a positive spin on this same thought – “wow!” I lost 10 pounds. I’m on my way to my goal of 15 pounds” – encourages you to keep up the good work and makes you feel pretty good about yourself.
4. Thinking with your feelings – “I feel like I’ll never make it to the job promotion.” Thoughts like this occur when you have a feeling about something and you assume it is correct, so you never question it. Feelings can lie too. Look for evidence. In this example, schedule a chat with a mentor to talk about simple action steps to make it happen.
5. Guilt beating – Thinking in words like “should”, “must”, “ought to”, and “have to” are typical with this type of ANT, which involves using excessive guilt to control behavior. When we feel pushed to do things, our natural tendency is to push back. That doesn’t mean that guilt is all bad. There are certain things in life that we should and shouldn’t do if we want to have the best body possible: “I want to eat the chips and guacamole at the party, but I should have the raw carrots instead” or “I feel like staying in bed, but I should do my workout.” Don’t mistake these for guilt beating ANTs.
6. Labeling – When you call yourself or someone else names or use negative terms to describe them, you have a labeling ANT in your brain. A lot of us do this on a regular basis. You may have said one of the following at some point in your life; “I’m a failure”; or “I’m lazy.” The problem with calling yourself names is that it takes away your actions and behaviors. If you are a failure, or lazy, then why bother trying to change your behavior? It is as if you have given up before you have even tried. This negative attitude can be terrible for your mind and body.
These last four ANTs are the worst of the bunch. I call them the red ANTs because they can really sting.
7. Fortune-telling – Predicting the worst even though you don’t know what will happen is the hallmark of the fortune-telling ANT. Examples include: “I just know that nobody is going to invest in Young Living products. “I know that my friends and family will judge me for jumping into Network Marketing.” Nobody is safe from fortune-telling ANTs.
8. Mind reading – When you think that you know what somebody else is thinking even though they have not told you, and you have not asked them, it is called mind-reading. Listen carefully to the other person before trying to predict what they have to say.
9. Blame – Of all the ANTs, this one is the worst. Blaming others for your problems and taking no responsibility for your own successes and failures is toxic thinking. For example: “It is your fault I’m out of shape because you will not go with me to exercise.” Whenever you begin a sentence with “it is your fault…” it ruins your life. These ANTs make you a victim. When you are a victim, you are powerless to change your behavior. Quit blaming others and take responsibility for your actions.
Strategies to Overcoming ANTs
1. Eliminate as they attack; write it down and say is this really true? (use your oils)
2. Stop the thought! (example yesterday when I was complaining)
3. Start every morning by saying “today is going to be a great day!”
4. End each and every evening by figuring out what went well today.
5. Create optimism with a dose of reality. What am I looking for and what am I going to do about it.
I hope you have found this information incredibly helpful. I truly believe if we all pay attention to what our thoughts are, identify them, and stop them, our goals in 2022 will be achieved!
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