089 - destroying the ANTS in your mind

In his phenomenal book "Making a good brain great", Dr Daniel Amen discusses the concept of crushing the ANTS we have in our lives... that is the automatic negative thoughts that pop up

You know the ones, that system 1 response to specific experiences that happen to us during our days. Those moments that spike an initial bout of anxiety, fear, pressure and bring the self-limiting thoughts, disempowering beliefs and negativity into our lives

"Every single time you have a thought, your brain releases chemicals.

Every time you have a sad, hopeless, mad, cranky, unkind, judgmental, or helpless thought, your brain immediately releases chemicals that make your body feel awful. Your hands get cold and wet, your muscles get tense, your heart beats faster, and your breathing becomes shallower. Additionally, the activity in your frontal and temporal lobes decreases which negatively affects your judgment, learning, memory.

The opposite is also true – whenever you have a happy, hopeful, loving, kind, or positive thought, your brain releases a completely different set of chemicals. Your hands get warmer and dryer, your breathing becomes deeper and more regular, your muscles relax, your blood pressure decreases, and your brain works better.

So, if you want to eradicate depression, anxiety, and negativity from your life, you need to work on disciplining your mind to get rid of the ANTs and developing an ANTeater to patrol the streets of your mind.

Just as there are many species of ants in the world, there are different kinds of negative thought patterns (ANTs). Here are a few you need to learn to identify: Fortune Telling, Mind Reading, Guilt Beatings, Blame, Labeling"

Like so many things in life, the beginning of crushing these ants lies in being aware of them and setting an intention to crush them when they show up. An easy way to do this is via the use of triggers, such as having a question you ask yourself everytime you catch yourself feeling angry, frustrated or judging others... You can also use a doorway trigger to keep you mindful, that is, every time you walk through a doorway, ask yourself how you wish to show up in the room you're walking into

Actionable Tips + Questions:

  • Which ANT(S) show up most in my life? What triggers can I set in place, or what can I do when this ANT shows up so that I can crush it and send it on its way?
Nick Maier