Kill the ANT’s and bring in the ANTEATERS

—from Dr. Daniel Amen in Change Your Brain, Change Your Body
Edited by Liz Lawrence

Every time you have a thought your brain releases chemicals.

Bad thoughts release chemicals which cause you to feel bad while every good thought releases chemicals that make you feel good.

Thoughts are automatic based on complex chemical reactions and memories. Thoughts are often erroneous so we don’t have to believe every thought. Some of these thoughts are automatic negative thoughts, so we call them ANT’s.

Kill the ANTsThere are actually nine ANT species and each one can be exterminated.

  • Always thinking
  • Guilt beating
  • Fortune telling
  • Labeling
  • Mind reading
  • Thinking w/feelings
  • Blame
  • Focus on negative
  • All or none

To exterminate the ANT’s we can follow a 3 step process which will bring in the ANTEATERS:

1. Write them out,

2. Identify the species, and

3. Eat them up/counteract them with truth (ANTEATER)

 The process may look like this…

Kill the ANTsYou are walking down the street about to go into a gathering. As you enter the building, you become very anxious and want to turn around to leave. Because you know there can be ANTs which cause us anxiety and fear, you choose to sit in the nearest chair to examine your thoughts and see if any ANTs are messing with you. As you sit down, you breathe and pray. You pull out an old receipt and write out your immediate thoughts. They shock you a little because they go like this: “I know I should not have eaten that onion. I might stutter. All these people will think I’m stupid.”

Then you identify the species of ANT. Always Thinking, Fortune Telling, and Mind Reading.

Next you counteract them and eat them with truth. “I have bad breath so I can chew this gum starting now. I have never stuttered before and even if I started now, someone else might stutter and then we both would be encouraged. I really don’t know that these people will think I’m stupid because I can’t read their minds and a sour face or rejection from them may just mean they had some bad food too.”

As you complete the process, consider the 18-40-60 rule:

“When you are 18, you worry about what others think about you. When you are 40 you don’t care what others think about you and when you are 60 you realize others really have not thought about you that much because they are thinking about themselves more.”

So, feed good thoughts to your anteaters and maintain a healthy balanced thought life.

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