ants - automatic negative thoughts
ants (automatic negative thoughts) – your brain is like a super computer and self talk is like a software program we run.
your mind is always listening to everything including your negative self talk. after while if you keep saying something repeatedly to yourself again and again, what was a tiny ‘ant’ becomes a self belief.
as they say argue with yourself about your limitations and you will get to keep them. so be mindful about what you are saying to yourself.
also remember we are built to have a negative thought first. we are still using our hunter-gatherer minds and it’s just trying to protect us.
we can take a breath, watch our thoughts arise, first is negative (to protect us from the lion in the forest) then a positive thought arises and then pause and then there is a neutral thought.
iamlovingkindnessnetwork we use the affirmation ‘relax, relax’ throughout the day that has a powerful effect on the body and the mind and keeps the ants at bay.
let’s take care of ourselves, let’s manage our stress and our ‘ants’ the precursor to stress.
we are all craving safety and assurance. we find ourselves listening to the news where there is so much uncertainty about the future, this sets off the ‘ants’ (automatic negative thoughts) and over time that can compound into anxiety, stress, anger, over eating, over reacting, cognitive stress, poor decision making, illness….
we are unconscious in a stress reactionary state – we feel guilt, we feel shame and disappointment and that piles on top everything we are already feeling – we need to be easy on ourselves. it’s not the time to put our selves under our own high expectations and judgements but it is a time to take a step back and consider how can i really support myself.
what most of us are craving is a break, some self care, assurance and comfort.
we can address the anxiety that we are feeling so we don’t get in a panic unconscious state.
when we are feeling a sense of anxiety, when we are feeling panic, we are really needing to get grounded again.
we are wired to have a stress response to protect us. when we are feeling panic we are having an over production of cortisol, we are having a surge of adrenaline & our heart starts to beat faster.
this is a very helpful response when our ancestors were out foraging and today we need to have a stress response so if we encounter danger we can respond quickly. that stress response is there to help you survive.
however due to the pandemic we are having that stress response a lot, the ‘fight flight’ response. our ‘ants’ have increased in potency and we need to calm ourselves. being aware of our 0-10 reactionary state and watching ourselves – we can then intervene with self soothing self talk. be more self compassionate.
there are lots ways we can be more self compassionate and remind our body and mind that we are safe, that we are managing as best we can for today and that better days are on their way. no one can control tomorrow. you got this far, to this moment to now. that’s pretty amazing. we are all in the same situation and together we will figure it out one day at a time.
self soothe with self talk, tell yourself you are safe and it’s ok for you to relax. a lot of us are at home more than usual, feeling all of our feelings that can be overloaded with anxiety and stress.
when we are able to catch ourselves and intervene the ‘ants’ with positive self talk, we relax more, we can think clearer, which means we are more resourceful, we are more creative, it’s easier to tap into our intuition and this harmonised way of thinking helps us manage and plan for our ‘new normal’.
stress effects our metabolism and our immunity and being in a constant state of alert doesn’t allow your body to recover. we all panicked in the last year about the effects of covid-19, the potential effects it was going to have if we caught it and we all know someone who suffered if not worse from it. that whole thinking causes extreme stress in the body.
living with the feelings and the visual mental imagery of anxiety takes an almighty toll. if you want to take care of your physical health, increase your mental wellness, if you want to support your metabolism and support your immunity you have to address the stress and ‘ants’ and do it daily.
checkin on yourself as much as you can – make it a habit.
soothing self talk – having an honest and supportive conversation with ourselves regularly. you have to start somewhere but it gets easier as you relax and the words starts to sink in.
you have to pull the weeds before you plant the seeds.
self soothe – self talk practice
check in where you are feeling the stress/anxiety/worry inside. at first it’s probably a good idea to find a quiet place where you are not disturbed but when you are familiar with this practice you can do this at your desk at work or on the bus.
when you begin be mindful the physical sensations you have right now. does your jaw feel tight? does your headache or stomach hurt?
it feels strange at first but you could could say something like this:
(take a nice deep breath in)
even though i am feeling anxious i honour how i feel – i know i feel anxious and i need a break – even though I am feeling these feelings i accept myself where I am today and I give myself permission to relax – (breathe) – even though i don’t feel like i have control when it comes to managing everything right now, i honour how hard this has been and i give my body and mind permission to relax – (breathe) even though i am feeling anxious i honour how i feel – i know i feel anxious and i need a break – life feels intense right now, things feel overwhelming, and I just need a break. – i honour all of these feelings and i honour my good intentions, right now, right here, i give permission to my body to relax – (breathe) i give my mind permission to take a break – i am safe – it’s safe to relax – it’s safe to feel good – even though so much is uncertain, right now and right here, it’s safe to relax – feeling calm in my body – having control i can choose what’s best for me – i give myself the space now to relax
(finish by take a nice deep breath in)
checkin and notice how you feel – do you feel more relaxed? how are you breathing? shallow or deep? notice if you feel more balanced? this isn’t about will power & forcing yourself to think differently it’s about feeling calm and empowered to do what feels best for you.
notice your body and see if anything has shifted – your shoulders feel more relaxed? can you breath deeper? – can you now reflect on what was making you anxious/stressed? as you go on throughout your day start to check in on yourself, on the ‘ants’ and begin to cultivate your practice of soothing self talk like we just did.
tomorrow can take care of its self. what can you do to self care today? what is your body asking for, a break, a way to relax, fun even! honour yourself
you got this far, to this moment now. that’s pretty amazing. we are all in the same situation and together we will figure it out one day at a time.