The article titled “How to Develop Your Own Internal Anteater to Eradicate Automatic Negative Thoughts,” written by Daniel G. Amen, M.D., identifies several strategies for eliminating the negative thoughts that jeopardize successful recovery, trust, and wellness. The article offers a brilliant strategy for anybody with a brain, injured or otherwise, to recognize and eliminate their negative thoughts.
In the article, Dr. Amen identifies nine species of ANTs. Although I modified a few of the names, the names are very similar to the names used in the article.
- “Always” Thinking – using words such as always, never, and everyone.
- Negative Thinking – believing that all situations are worse than they are.
- Fortune Telling – predicting the worst possible outcome to a situation.
- Mind Reading – believing that you know what someone else is thinking.
- Gut Reactions – believing negative feelings without questioning them.
- Guilt Beatings – thinking that you should have or would have acted differently.
- Labeling – attaching negative traits to yourself or someone else.
- Personalization – believing innocuous events have personal meaning.
- Blame – believing that someone else is at fault for a situation you created or you are responsible for something that you did not do.
Examples of ANTs include fatalistic statements such as:
- They would never hire me.
- The economy will get worse before it gets better.
- An investment in education is simply a waste of money.
- I know she hates me.
- I heard that 83% of dogs develop medical conditions, so we should buy a fish.
- I’m not as smart as Tricia.
- The bad economy is my fault.
According to Dr. Amen, ANTs “severely limit a person’s ability to enjoy his or her life. How you think ‘moment-by-moment’ plays a large role in how you feel.” I see no reason to disagree. If you are wondering how to exterminate your ANTs, Dr. Amen proposes one solution – you need an anteater. If you choose the right anteater, the ANTs won’t know what hit them and they will leave you in control of your life once again.
What are the ANTs in your life? What are examples of your ANTs? What do you plan to do to eliminate the ANTs in your life? What is your strategy for exterminating each of the nine types of ANTs? Now that you can recognize you own ANTs, can you recognize the ANTs in others? What will you do to help others eradicate their ANTs? If there are more than nine types of ANTs, what would you call the ANTs? What are some examples of the “newly discovered” ANTs? How would you eradicate each of the newly discovered ANTs?
Daniel G. Amen, M.D. is an award winning physician, psychiatrist, best-selling author, international speakers, and brain enhancement expert. He is the founder and medical director of the world renowned Amen Clinics, Inc. Dr. Amen educates companies, organizations, and individuals on the importance of brain health and the impact of the brain on every aspect of life. The host of 6 highly successful PBS programs and a frequent radio and TV guest, he is the author of 30 books, including 5 New York Times best-sellers. To learn more, visit his website at www.amenclinics.com or contact one of his clinics at 888-564-2700.