Stopping Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs)
First, NOTICE that you’re trapped in the vicious cycle of automatic negative thinking (ANTs). Then, decide to BREAK THE CYCLE by using a "thought stopping" statement (some examples are below). Finally, find something to DO that takes your concentration, interest, and focus AWAY FROM those old negative, vicious-cycle thoughts.
SO WHAT? - This is a stronger and more determined SO WHAT? than we’ve used before. S. reports that when she realizes that she’s ruminating on past events that she can raise her voice, with determination, and say SO WHAT? (loudly) to cut off the ruminating thinking. Then, she finds something to DO.
WHAT’S IN THE PAST IS OVER, I CAN’T CONTROL IT, IT’S GONE, FORGET IT, THE PRESENT IS WHERE I WANT TO STAY! A longer statement that is said more forcefully (not angrily) to put the past where it belongs – in the graveyard. Focusing on the present ensures that your future will be bright. Thanks to D
WHY AM I LETTING MYSELF GET WORKED UP ANYWAY? IT’S NO BIG DEAL!
-- A reminder that we make mountains out of molehills. Thinking and analyzing situations just makes us worse – we stop the overblown thoughts and deliberately move on to something constructive. Thanks to C.
NO WAY AM I GOING TO LET THIS PARALYZE ME! I DELIBERATELY TURN MY BACK ON WHAT I CAN’T CONTROL, AND REALIZE I AM BEGINNING THE "RENAISSANCE" OF MY NEW LIFE. Thanks to S.
WHATEVER I CHOOSE TO FOCUS ON GROWS. IF I FOCUS ON ANXIETY AND THE PAIN IT CAUSES, MY ANXIETY GROWS. IF I FOCUS ON MY PRESENT, MY HEALING STRATEGIES, AND MY POSITIVE PLAN FOR THE DAY, I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK FOR A BETTER LIFE! Thanks to J.
I AM GOING TO PRACTICE USING MY NEW THINKING STRATEGIES UNTIL THEY GET DOWN TO MY VERY BONE MARROW. Technically, we’re "dropping" these thoughts down into our emotional brain, but the "bone marrow" concept can be quite helpful. Thanks to T.S.
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT. I’M NOT GOING DOWN THAT ROAD AGAIN. Thanks to S.S.
MY ANXIETY IS NOT A PART OF ME. I CHOOSE TO DO OTHER THINGS AND GO IN A DIFFERENT, HEALTHY DIRECTION. Thanks to T.
NO MORE! I’M NOT GOING TO SPOIL MY DAY CRYING OVER SPILT MILK! I’VE GOT BETTER THINGS TO THINK ABOUT AND DO. I’M GOING TO GO DO THEM RIGHT NOW..... Thanks to M.
WHERE’S MY INSECTICIDE? IT’S TIME TO DO SOME ANT CONTROL. I’M GOING TO GIVE THOSE ANTS WHAT THEY DESERVE......SOME VERY SWEET TASTING POISON. Thanks to B.