As a business psychology coach, I work with professionals, leaders and organizations on mental and behavioral strategies for top performance. One of my favorites mental strategies is a tool for freeing your mind and killing brain ANTS.
How ANTS Infect Your Brain
ANTS are Automatic Negative Thoughts. Psychologists have studied thought patterns for decades, but until recently their work was merely observational. Today, modern brain-imaging shows exactly how ANTS infect our brains. Negative thoughts create a flood neural activity that physically changes the brain. As the neuroscientists say, “Neurons that fire together, wire together”. The more you think negatively, the more your brain hard-wires you for negative thinking. ANTS get physically wired into our brain. Negative neural networks then trigger a cascade of toxic hormones, emotions and bodily stress-related symptoms. All this from ANTS.
How to Kill Brain ANTS
Birds are the natural predators of ants. They eat them for breakfast, lunch & dinner. Kill brain ANTS the natural way, EAT them.
- Expose the ANT
- Ask Questions
- Tell the Truth
1. Expose the ANT
High levels of stress, anxiety, anger, discouragement and frustration are symptoms that ANTS infect your brain. ANTS make any situation more stressful. They trigger intense emotions and reactive behaviors. If you’re feeling more negative and more reactive than you’d like, you’ve got ANTS.
The first task is to expose the ANTS. Like real ants, brain ANTS hide in mental crevices. We have to find where they’re lurking. Pay close attention to negative emotion. ANTS triggered it. Point your mental flashlight back on all the thoughts preceding the emotional reaction. Follow the ANT trail back to any negative thoughts. Write down the ANTS exactly as they appeared.
2. Ask Questions
After you write down any exposed ANTS, ask yourself two ANT killing questions.
- Is this thought completely & totally true?
- Is this helpful & productive?
Frequently, ANTS have a bit of truth, which is how they snuck into the crevices of our mind. They found a crack and crawled right in. Then made a nest and started to multiply. When exposed, we discover all ANTS are not completely true and very harmful.
3. Tell the Truth
Once the lie and harm has been exposed, kill the ANTS with more true and more helpful thoughts. The last step is crucial. Create new thoughts that are authentically true and productively positive. ANTS are persistent, only powerful thoughts will kill them.
Now, go on an ANT killing hunt
Once you’ve created an ANT killing new thought, put it to work like a bird out for the hunt. Every time an ANT surfaces, spear it with your new thought. Keep pecking at it with the new thought until it’s all gone.
ANTS are prolific at building multiple nests of neural infestation. Once we start looking for them, we find them all over the place. That is good news. You now know how to kill them all.