Automatic Negative Thoughts that Infest Human Minds
Clearly, there are thoughts that help build your life and there are thoughts that ruin it. ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) can invade your mind at any time. In order to rid yourself of these pests you must notice when they occur, identify them as false, and immediately talk back to them.
The best way to get rid of the ANTs is to write them town, identify them as erroneous, develop and infuse PETs (positive energizing thoughts). The thought/feeling record worksheet will be your guide to help you eradicate the ANTs and fill your life with PETs.
- All-or-Nothing Thinking “I have to do things perfectly because anything less is a failure.”
- Disqualifying the Positives “Nothing goes my way. I don’t like my life. It feels like one disappointment after another.” A variation is being overly judgmental: “Things aren’t like they used to be. The world is falling apart. People aren’t nice any more. I don’t like what I see around me.”
- Negative Self-Labelling “I’m a failure. If people knew the real me, they wouldn’t like me. I am flawed.”
- Catastrophizing “If something is going to happen, it’ll probably be the worst case scenario.”
- Excessive Need for Approval “I can only be happy if people like me. If someone is upset, it’s probably my fault.”
- Mind Reading “I can tell people don’t like me because of the way they behave.”
- Should Statements “People should be fair.”
- Disqualifying the Present “I’ll relax later. But first I have to rush to finish this.”
- Dwelling on Pain "If I dwell on why I'm unhappy and think about what went wrong, maybe I’ll feel better." Alternately, "If I worry enough about my problem, maybe I will feel better."
- Pessimism "Life is a struggle. I don't think we are meant to be happy. I don't trust people who are happy. If something good happens in my life, I usually have to pay for it with something bad.