The term ANTS refers to more than those pesky little insects that occasionally invade a picnic or our homes. I heard the term used in the context of thinking and it stuck with me so I am passing it on. ANTS stands for Killing Automatic Negative ThoughtS. I thought it was a great way to remind ourselves to work at controlling the negative thinking that can weigh us down and rob us of energy. You know what I am talking about – the negative self-talk that constitutes the what ifs… if only….why me, or why now… that causes us to spiral downward. When we look at a situation and see it in the context of the glass being half empty rather than half full it’s an exhausting way to live.
Sometimes people act this way for attention or they take pride in being the ‘resident critic.’ However, if you look closely at their lives they have few acquaintances and even fewer friends because they are simply too exhausting to be around. We feel an energy drain by their presence.
The good news is that negative thinking is simply a habit that we have allowed to become a part of our personality. Often, the habit of negative thinking begins in childhood from fear or modeling the behavior of a parent and through our repetitive thought process becomes who we are today. But it can be changed if someone we respect cares enough to get our attention. Our minds are so powerful that we have the capacity to change our thinking and change our life. It takes desire and constant effort to see life in a more positive context – to see possibilities rather than problems – but it’s so worth it.
The truth of the matter is the situation or event is simply what it is – no more, no less. Your choice is the spin you put on it. Negative thinking causes you to feel like there is no way out. Worry sets in and you feel defeated before you begin. By adjusting your perspective slightly you can look at the same issue and discover the possibilities in it. Remarkably, you discover ways and options to solve the issue at hand. The circumstance remains the same but the energy you bring to it is the defining variable. Looking for possibilities – the silver lining in an issue – helps you develop resiliency – a stronger belief in yourself and your capabilities to handle tomorrow. Resiliency is the life blood to happiness and success in life.
Maya Angelou said in her book, ‘Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now,’ “Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”
This is something worth thinking about. We put our lives on hold in a constant state of fear when we allow the ANTS type of thinking to control our life.
Is it time to readjust our thinking patterns and look for the potential good coming out of what appears to be a challenge in our life? The practice of looking for the opportunity or bright side of something is a skill that we are all capable of learning. We simply need to decide to put in the effort to do so.
The next time you hear negatives coming from yourself or others …STOP – LOOK – and LISTEN… is this really how you want to spend the rest of your days on planet earth?
Let’s choose to make lemonade out of the lemons we are dealt in life and stamp out the ANTS in our thinking.
Have a great few days!