Are Your Thoughts Useful?
Thought Series Part 6
We’re getting close to completing some life-changing work! Today I’m going to be sharing the last step before we actually start to transform our automatic negative thoughts ("ANTs") into thoughts that are more helpful, supportive and encouraging.
But first, a quick summary of what we’ve covered so far.
The Thought Series So Far
Step 1: Identifying ANTS
Step 2: Identifying the Emotions That Arise When You Have an ANT
Step 3: Recognizing the Physiological Changes that Result From ANTs
Step 4: Becoming Aware of the Behavioural Consequences of ANTS
Step 5: Are Your ANTs Valid?
If you missed either of the earlier blog posts, you can go back and catch up by clicking HERE, or you can simply read this post as a standalone.
Today we are covering the sixth step:
Step 6: Are Your ANTs Useful?
For the purposes of this example, I’m going to continue using the ANT, “I’m going to be alone forever.”
This is another quick and easy step, and my favourite one: Ask yourself, “Is this thought useful?”
In order to determine whether or not your ANT is useful, consider all the information you have collected about it. In my case, it looks like this:
ANT: I am going to be alone forever.
EMOTIONS: Sad, defeated.
PHYSIOLOGICAL IMPACT: Heaviness in my chest, tightening around my mouth, twitching near my eyes and fluttering in my stomach.
BEHAVIOUR: Withdrawing, stopping efforts to meet new men, seeming uninterested and distracted when I do meet potential mates.
Considering all of the uncomfortable emotions, bodily sensations and unwanted behaviour this thought causes, not to mention the fact that it’s not even valid, I would have to answer with a resounding no. No! This thought is not a useful thought to have if I want to be happy, meet a partner and lead a fulfilling life. Not. At. All.
Ok, it's your turn. Take a look at the ANTs you’ve been working with and ask yourself, "Are they useful?"
Now that we’ve collected a file on each of our most common ANTS, and we’ve seen how much damage they are causing in our lives, it’s time to stop them!
Next Monday I’ll be giving you the tool you need in order to complete this exercise and change your thoughts for good. See you then!