ANTS – Automatic Negative Thoughts

Negative thoughts have power. Everyone has them, but some people let them fly by like a bird instead of catching them and inviting them to move into their heads and build nests. Others attach to negative thoughts and treat them as if they’re reality. They allow those thoughts to dictate their actions. But remember, they are only thoughts. Do not grab them, attach yourself to them, or let them have any power. Just let them go by and do not think anything of them, as they are only thoughts. One of the most researched and proven techniques of changing moods is to dispute your negative thinking with the truth and with positive thoughts. Tell yourself this: I’m not a loser. I am loved, and I have a hope and a future.
ANTS affect our relationship with God, our relationships, our marriages and how we view ourselves.
Philippians 4:8 (Passion)
8 So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.
1. “Always/Never” Thinking: This happens when you think something that happened will “always” repeat itself, or that you’ll “never” get what you want. All-or-never words like always, never, no one, everyone, every time, everything are usually wrong.
2. Focusing On The Negative: This occurs when your thoughts reflect only the bad in a situation and ignore any of the good things. It’s getting 100 reviews back and all you can focus on are the 4 bad ones, forgetting about the 96 positive ones.
3. Fortune-telling: This is where you predict the worst possible outcome to any situation. When you go into a conversation assuming that the other person won’t like what you have to say, you change the way you communicate to usually make it come true.
4. Mind Reading: This happens when you believe that you know what other people are thinking, even though they haven’t told you directly. Taking someone’s silence as “They’re mad at me” is a perfect example of mind reading. They may just be thinking. (She looked at me weird)
5. Thinking With Your Feelings: This occurs when you believe your negative feelings without ever questioning them. Feelings are very complex and often based upon our past stories. Feelings are not always about truth. Feelings are your perception of certain situations.
6. Guilt Beating: Also called should-ing on yourself, guilt beating is when you think words like should, must, ought, or have to to most situations. It’s healthier to say, “I’d like to be able to help them out” instead of “I should help them out”.
7. Labeling: Whenever you attach a negative label like jerk, arrogant, irresponsible, or stupid to yourself or to someone else, you stop your ability to take a clear look at the situation.
8. Personalizing: This happens when you invest innocuous events with personal meaning. “My boss didn’t talk to me, so I must have done something wrong.” There are lots of reasons people do things. You never fully know why people do what they do.
9. Blaming: When you blame something or someone else for the problems in your life, you become a passive victim of circumstances and you make it very difficult to do anything to change your situation. Of all the ANTs, this is one of the worst. Blaming others for your problems and taking no responsibility for your own failures is toxic thinking. 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. (Extreme consumption of self. Self consumed. (the first 9 can lead to Red Ants.)
Red Ants or Fire Ants: these negative thoughts really sting.
  • Criticalness: seeing someone’s faults and holding it against them. Looking for faults in people, not seeing your own is self righteous.
  • Condescending: Looking down on someone because they do not think the way you do or they do something different than you
  • Competitive: wanting to be the best at something at the expense of hurting others
  • Evil Suspicions: assuming the worst in someone without knowing facts
  • Judgemental: quickly forming an opinion of someone without knowing facts or what that person has been thru.
ANTeaters or Automatic Godly Thoughts:
  • Prayer and Thanksgiving: Philippians 4:6 (Passion) Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude.
  • Self Control: Galatians 5:22 “The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kind-heartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.”
  • Repentance: Colossians 1:21 “…You were his enemies, separated from Him by your evil thoughts and actions.” These “ANTS” affect our relationship with God. 2 Corinthians 10:4 “The weapons of the war we’re fighting….are powered by God and effective at tearing down strongholds….We are taking prisoners of “every thought, every emotion,” and subduing them into obedience…”
  • Truth, God’s Word: Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and powerful…..It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”
  • Holy Spirit: Ephesians 4:23 “Let the Holy Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”