Ants had been documented carrying a delectable bit 10-50 times their own weight and haul it back it home. This stunning photo proves that at least one ant has the strength to lift more than 100 times its own weight! That's a lot of power. That strength might be useful to us if we needed to carry home, say, an elephant and didn't have our even more stunning brains to devise a more energy efficient way.
The power of an ant to lift and carry is miniscule compared to the power of your ANTs. They can't lift even ten times your weight, but they have absolute power over your behavior, your ambitions and your happiness.
What are ANTS?
We usually have two streams of thought nearly simultaneously. One stream is thought we are aware of. If someone asked, “What are you thinking?” you might answer “I'm thinking about this project I'm about to present.” Clear, upfront, direct.
The other stream of thought is an unconscious one. It keeps a running evaluation of our performance. In response to “What are you thinking,” you may not be aware of thinking, “I'm going to bomb this presentation. I look awful today. I never understood what I was supposed to do. He picked me to do this so he could humiliate me. I'm going to get fired.”
Those unconscious Automatic Negative Thoughts have the power to deprive you of joy, to fill you with fear or anger, and bring about the failure you feared. That is the power of ANTs.
In therapy we bring to light the automatic and negative thoughts that unconsciously determine behaviors and moods. There are several kinds of ANTs that can plague thinking. Here are just three.
Identifying specific ANTs can be tricky because without even being aware of them, we believe them. We can train ourselves to disempower them when we know how they affect us. We usually try to ignore unpleasant feelings, but they have a lot to tell us. Whenever you have a distressing emotion, pay attention to what you're feeling. Name it out loud or write it down: anger, fear, sadness. Then ask yourself what silent commentary or judgement is passing through your head. Are you being too harshly critical of yourself, or blaming someone else, or creating a doomsday outcome?
Once you identify the specific beliefs that perpetuate feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, you can learn to counter them with different thoughts and actions. From there you can begin moving toward new goals with self-confidence and independence. Your can change the power of Automatic Negative Thoughts to Automatic Positive Thoughts. Such power you have!
Marilyn Miller, MS, LPC ~ Psychotherapist
...Delighting every day in helping people find peace in their lives, relieving anxiety, depression, and promoting self-care.