There are times when thoughts suddenly pop into our heads without us even trying, and they are often very negative and pessimistic about ourselves, our life, our future, everything! These are called ANTS of Automatic Negative Thoughts.
These thoughts can cause us to feel discomfort and distress, and can sometimes lead to feelings of depression or anxiety.
Would you like to learn how to capture these automatic negative thoughts and turn them into helpful and optimistic thoughts?
Then watch this video:
What are Automatic Negative Thoughts?
Automatic Negative Thoughts or what we call ANTs are those fleeting and frequent self-defeating thoughts that flood our minds. ANTs can come in the form of hopeless, helpless, anxious, or angry feelings, as well as thoughts such as “I’m not good enough.”
These overgeneralized and irrational thoughts are common to most people. They are usually directed at yourself or others in your life. According to studies, they affect everything from how you perceive people to how well you perform at work. While they can be difficult to see sometimes, they are very real and have a powerful effect on your feelings, actions, and overall well-being.
The Invasive English Ivy Analogy
English ivy (Hedera helix) is an aggressive, invasive plant that grows rapidly and is difficult to remove. Plants of the hedera genus are known for their tendency to spread quickly. This rapid growth characteristic is what makes these plants so popular with many gardeners who use them along fences or on walls as living green coverings. However, this invasive plant can destroy our garden if we don’t keep it in check.
When I was volunteering for Green Kirkland and Green Kirkland Partnership, our task was to get rid of invasive English Ivy from the trees as it absorbs all the nutrition and kills the tree.
But then, at the later part of the day, we got to spread the very ivy that must have been picked up by volunteers, maybe five or six years back that had dried out and that was now dead. We went and spread it around in the forest because what it does is then it becomes fertilizer for the trees to grow.
So the same ivy that can kill if it is allowed to grow out of control can also provide nourishment to the forest. And so I saw this analogy between our thoughts. Often, our thoughts are like this invasive ivy that kills our desire, passion, compassion, or joy. It drains us of all positivity. It is therefore crucial that we eliminate those invasive ivies and those negative thoughts and use them constructively.
So next time when you are having these thoughts of “poor me, why did this person do this to me? I can’t do anything about it.” Beware of that thought, because it is like an invasive ivy. If you let it grow, it would keep growing and it would suck all the joy out of you.
The good news is that you can reframe these thoughts. By shifting your focus from saying that you are a victim of circumstance, you can see what this situation is trying to teach you and how you can use it to your advantage moving forward.
What have you learned from the video?
Do you have any questions about how to reframe your thoughts? I will be happy to answer them. I look forward to hearing from you here: http://bit.ly/HHMForm
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Remember, our mind is like a garden. We all have our own little plot of land, and we can choose what we want to grow. Some people prefer flowers to vegetables, while some other people prefer vegetables to flowers. It doesn’t really matter as long as you’re happy with the way your garden looks.
If you want your mind to be full of positivity and happiness, then you must water it regularly with thoughts of joy, kindness, love, and self-compassion.