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Exterminating the ANTS!

28 Feb

No no, not in my house.  Well, they are sorta.  Allow me to explain:

I was away over the weekend on a retreat with my business.  One of the best parts of what I do is that it really is a personal development business.  I am challenged to stretch myself, to move beyond my comfort zone, and attain new understandings of myself – on a continual basis.  It’s fantastic.  And this weekend was no different.  One of the trainers (Halla back, Kelly GT!) introduced a really neat concept.  ANTS: Automatic Negative Thoughts.

The idea is that we all have thoughts.  All the time.  (You wouldn’t argue that, would you?) Sometimes we are aware of what we’re thinking, and sometimes we are not.  It’s really just this constant stream of chatter in our heads, which is why we are often not aware of it.  The first thing we need to do is tune into what we are thinking.  Often, first thing in the morning, my chatter sounds like this: “Oh…  all ready?  I’m not ready to get up… I want a few more minutes.  Of course, those lunches aren’t going to make themselves.  And I don’t hear the kids up here getting dressed, which means that we are all ready behind schedule, so I should get myself going so I can get them going too.  The light coming through the window looks a little grey but oddly bright…  Oh God please tell me it didn’t snow last night!  I’m sick of the winter!!  Where is the spring anyway?  I have some shoots in my garden from the bulbs that Sam & I planted last fall: if the snow kills them I will be crushed” And so on.  It’s not positive thinking, it’s not neutral thinking, it’s negative.  I’m thinking about what I don’t want.  And these are the first thoughts that I have in a day, which set the tone for the rest of my day.  These thoughts are automatic; they are ANTS.

Another example would be when you’re getting ready for your day.  You might be standing in front of your closet, you may be looking in the mirror.  Look at the thoughts that happen automatically: “I have nothing to wear..  GOD I love those pants, I wish I wasn’t so fat so I could actually wear them.” Or maybe “Ugg.  I look awful.  How come coffee can’t do anything for these bags under my eyes?  And why is it that I’m still getting pimples at 35?!?!”

I’m sure you get the picture.

We all have infestations of ANTS.  We need to get in there like an exterminator, and exterminate them!  Because it is true that what you think about, you bring about.  So how do you go about exterminating your ANTS?  You do it by finding positive thoughts to replace the negative ones with.  For some, this will be challenging.  In that case, you have to start by talking to the people who know the whole you (not just the mom/dad, the wife/husband, the coworker, the friend, etc), asking them what it is that they love about you.  What the trainer actually said was, “Ask them what makes you fabulous!”  The idea is that these people will be able to give you an arsenal of great, positive things about you – that you maybe don’t even see in yourself – and these become the tools in your ANT extermination.

I really love this idea.  I know that I can use some positive statements about myself – it’s been a long winter, and I am hard on myself at the best of times.  I’ve made my list of people to ask, and have even asked one of them all ready.  I encourage you to do the same.  Make a list, get in touch with the people you want to ask, explain to them what you are doing (so they don’t think you are looking for an ego-stroke), and ask them to tell you what makes you fabulous.  You will be amazed at the feedback.  I bet you even get an Automatic Smile on your face.

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Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Randomness, Sickness/Wellness

 

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