What could ANTS have to do with anxiety you ask?? Well...everything is the answer!
ANTS are automatic negative thoughts and contribute greatly to anxiety and depression. ANTS are the thoughts you think that tell you "you're not good enough, you don't have what it takes, you'll never get what you want", etc. They are the inner critic inside us all. Typically those who experience anxiety and depression just hear their ANTS louder and may let their ANTS spiral out of control. ANTS seek to minimize, catastrophize and over-generalize your thoughts.
But ANTS do not have to determine your thinking and they do not have to determine how you feel about yourself, others or the world around you. ANTS do not have to ruin your day or affect your behavior.
ANTS impact your thoughts, which in turn have influence on your feelings, and thus can impact your behavior. Thoughts impact feelings which then influence behavior.
It looks like this....Thoughts----->Feelings----->Behavior.
Thoughts are at the start of it all-- how we feel about ourselves, about others, about the world around us. And where are our thoughts? Our mind! Your mind then, is a great asset for change. Begin to change the thoughts in your mind and your feelings and actions will begin to change as well. Romans 12:2 says,
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."
You have control over what you think. You can continue to think about your ANTS- you can let them walk all around your mind, step on your feelings and cause you to trip. Or you can begin to think more positive thoughts, thoughts based on truth and reality. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says,
"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
Did you catch that? "WE take captive"; it is an action step on our part.
It takes time but a first step is recognizing your ANTS. After you become keenly aware of what your ANTS are, then you can begin to interrupt them and challenge them with truthful statements, positive thoughts and statements that are based in reality! When you find yourself feeling sad or anxious, stop and think about what you are thinking about. Identify your ANTS.
It may sound strange to "think about what you are thinking about", but it works. Write down your thoughts if that helps you to sort them out. Then you can begin to recognize your ANTS and later you can write down a more positive and true statement beside the ANT. Begin then to use that truthful, positive statement every time you catch that ANT running through your mind.
The parable here is a great, fun explanation of the idea of ANTS that I am describing in this post...it is told from the ANTS perspective.