ANTS Transforming Automatic Negative Thoughts

The ANTS exercise can help us see what negative thoughts we may have. These thoughts can stop us or block us from getting what we want. Transform the negative thoughts into positive thoughts.

Automatic negative thoughts (ANTS) are the thoughts a person might have right after a great idea. These thoughts can limit us and hold us back from taking action. For example: “I would like to get a better job, but I don’t have the education.” Or, “I would like to start my own business, and I have all of these great ideas, but I don’t have enough money.” Instead of focusing on how you are going to make it happen, focus on what you can do right now.

What we say is a direct response to what we are thinking. Our words are very important also. For example: “don’t forget” vs. “remember.” One might say, “I can’t forget to take out the trash.” What your subconscious mind is hearing is can’t and forget and trash. Studies show that we are more likely to remember something if we use positive words. Instead, we could say, “I need to remember to take out the trash.” Another example that I see all too often. Standing in line at the grocery store and the cashier says, “How are you?” Often I hear people respond with, “I’m not bad.” So in this way, they are responding with a negative thought. Instead, we could say, “I’m doing fine” or “I’m great.” Also, the original question was how you were not how you were not.

Our thoughts, feelings, and actions have a lot to do with what we attract into our lives and create what we experience. The average human has over 60,000 thoughts per day. Although we can’t possibly monitor all of them, we can at least be more conscious of them. Fortunately, we have the ability to change our thought pattern. This does not happen overnight, this is something that needs nurturing and will take time, but eventually, with effort and consistency, you can get there.

Preparation: Have your journal ready to take notes.

One Minute Meditation: Take a moment to relax, take a few deep breaths and center yourself.

Begin the Exercise: Draw a line down the center of the page. On the top left write, “ANTS,” and on the right side write, “POSITIVE THOUGHT.”

Begin by looking at the ANTS column. Note any and all negative thoughts you might have about yourself, a situation, a person, or anything.

Powerful questions:

What negative thoughts have you had recently?

What makes you think you can’t do that?

What are some negative thoughts that you may have about yourself?

What are some negative thoughts you have had about someone else recently?

What are some negative thoughts you have had about a situation recently?

Keep writing until you can’t think of anymore.

Focus and transform: Now transform them…

Look at the Positive Thought column and transform the negative thoughts into positive thoughts. Most times it is the opposite of the negative thought. How do these new thoughts make you feel?

For example, in the ANTS column, you may have written, “I have no energy.” The positive thought would be, “I have an abundant amount of energy.” If this seems unbelievable to you, you could write, “I want more energy, ” or, “I will find a way to start having more energy.”

Speaking in positive terms:

Now that you have the tools to consciously change your thoughts, are you willing to speak more in positive terms? Are you willing to speak more about what you do want not what you don’t want? Are you willing to speak more about what you can do, and less about what you can’t do?

Create an action plan: What action are you willing to take? How will you begin to remove the ANTS in your life? Write it down. Take action!