How to Identify Automatic Negative Thoughts

Have you ever been bitten by an ANT? I have, OUCH! Did you know there are different kinds of ANTs?  They are known as “Automatic Negative Thoughts.” We all deal with negative thoughts and a big part of transforming our thinking starts when we can recognize and identify these negative thoughts that we can reflect on without even being consciously aware that we are thinking about them.

How to Identify Automatic Negative Thoughts: ANTS

ANT #1:  All or Nothing Thinking—No middle ground in this thinking. Everything is either good or bad.

ANT #2: Always Thinking—When you think in words like always, never, no one, everyone, every time, everything.

ANT#3: Focusing on the Negative (RED ANT-very damaging)—Going over and over in your mind about the negative of yourself or a situation. You can’t think about anything positive.

ANT#4: Fortune Telling (RED ANT)—One predicts the worse possible outcome of any situation, and identifying the circumstance as impossible to overcome.

ANT#5: Mind Reading (RED ANT)—One is sure they know what the other person is thinking and what they might do about what their thinking.


ANT#6: Thinking with your Feelings—This happens when you believe and never question your negative feelings. Feelings are very complex and it’s helpful to observe and ask questions regarding your feelings.

ANT#7: Guilt Beatings—One needs to explore what’s behind the feelings of guilt in order to process your feelings and not remain stuck with that feeling.

ANT#8: Labeling—When you put people in a negative box.

ANT#9: Blame (THE MOST POISONOUS ANT)—Whenever you blame someone else for the problems in your life. “You made me feel…” Children will often times play “The Blame Game.”

Over the next month, I want you to start to notice and identify which of the above negative thoughts you struggle with the most often. The Lord wants us to learn how to recognize these thoughts and learn what steps we can take to deal with the ANT’S in our life.

“Be careful what you think because your thoughts run your life.” Proverbs 4:23 (NCV)


My Prayer:

Lord help us to learn how to breathe in Christ and exhale our flesh.

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