February 18, 2011
Artsy, the octogenarian I wrote about recently, just introduced me to the world of “Automatic Negative Thoughts”, otherwise called “ANTS”. Over the years, my elders have taught me many important lessons. Artsy has managed to give me two significant presents in the same week.
Ants are the pesky little insects that overrun your picnic or show up in your house if you leave food around. They are industrious little beasts, incessant in their tasks whatever it are. Most humans hate ants and will do just about anything to get rid of them. Go to any hardware store and you will find shelves full of ant killer sprays and traps.
“ANTS” (automatic negative thoughts) are just as incessant and industrious as their namesake; however, they are much more destructive. If you thought having ants in your pants was bad, “ANTS” in your head are intolerable. Everyone has “ANTS” from time to time. Sometimes, “ANTS” take on a life of their own. One leads to another; and, before you know it, you have a huge ant hill of negative thoughts spewing forth and overwhelming you. “I’m a loser” leads to “I’m no good” which turns into “Everyone is judging me” and “I’ve let everyone down” and, finally, “I hate myself!”
Just as the hardware store has shelves full of ant killers, the internet has many pages full of “ANT” killers I’ll call “ANT EATERS”. I pride myself on staying open to new information and staying current. I was happy to find so many “ANT EATERS”. My best “ANT EATER” is “Blessings List” published on November 17th, 2010. Another is to have an “Attitude of Gratitude”. A third approach, for anxious people) can be found at: http://www.anxietynetwork.com/hstop.html
“ANTS” are ever present and it is incumbent on each of us to develop our own unique “ANT EATERS”. So listen, read and learn from others. Talk about your “ANTS” with family and trusted friends. If you are overwhelmed by “ANTS” or are plagued by those darn red stinging “ANTS”, find a professional “ANT” exterminator (family physician, psychologist or psychiatrist). Most of all, pledge never to give in to those pesky, lousy “ANTS”.