Chapter Three:

Stop Negative Thoughts in One Easy Step

 

Oh! those ANTs. Yes ANTs. Those annoying negative thoughts (ANTs) as neurologist Daniel Amen, MD, calls them.

Has this ever happened to you: You are sitting down, relaxed, enjoying a nice meal, then suddenly a negative thought pops into your head, which leads to other negative thoughts, and another, and another, and eventually ruins your meal? In this chapter I will show you how to take control of those ANTs so that they do not ruin a nice meal, a wonderful vacation, or your relationships.

 

Now take a moment, close your eyes, and think about your favorite dessert. It could be chocolate, vanilla ice cream, or a slice of apple pie. After a few moments most people notice an increase in saliva production. A thought led to a physiological change. Simply thinking about something delicious can make our mouth water. Now imagine what happens when you think about a negative incident over and over again, whether it was a recent one or from many years ago. That thought also leads to certain physiological changes, which could include reduction of blood flow to your muscles and nerves that can lead to muscle tension, pain, and numbness.

 

Moreover, your body and brain may get flooded with stress hormones; you cannot think clearly and may end bad decisions, which you may regret later.

That’s why it is imperative to stop negative thoughts before they have a negative impact on your mind, body, and life. The problem with allowing negative thoughts to continue is that one negative thought leads to another, and another, and another until it’s like opening a floodgate: your mind becomes flooded with negative thoughts. As your mind becomes flooded with negative thoughts you may feel sad, anxious, depressed, hopeless, angry, frustrated, and experience other negative emotions.

What might have started as a minor stressful event, such as a traffic jam, can turn into a visit to one’s terrible childhood memories. Then your thoughts begin to control you, instead of you controlling them. You begin to feel like a victim and start why-ning and iff-ing.

But wait!

 

It does not have not happen this way. You can take control. What you must do is to stop those ANTs as soon as you notice one and close the floodgate immediately!

 

Simply do not allow the negative pattern to continue.

 

This strategy will help you get out of the habit of negative thinking and stop the tape that plays in your head over and over again.

How To Stop Those ANTs

It’s quite simple. Just like the first strategy it involves power pose, power image, and power words. That’s how you can effectively communicate with your subconscious mind and stop the habitual negative thoughts.

  1. Choose a power pose that stops negative thoughts, such showing palm of your hand to a person or a car to stop, perhaps with a serious face. 

  2. Choose a power image that signifies stopping negative thoughts, such closing a floodgate, a stop sign, or as one of my clients said, “Hitting those ANTs out of the ball park!”

  3. Negative thought patterns can take over unexpectedly and put you in a state of trans, so much so that you may not realize how far you have driven, what you were watching, or what your conversation was about. So, you need to jolt yourself out of that state and break the negative pattern. If you do it enough times, it will not return. In fact, I can honestly say, I have almost no negative thoughts and if any dares to show up I yell, “Fred! STOP it and move forward with your life!”

 

By saying (or when possible yelling) my name I jolt myself out of the trans created by negative thoughts to stop them and redirect my mind to moving forward. So, here are your power words: (Your name)! STOP it and move forward with your life!

If you can yield it out or scream it out or if not say it to yourself with a serious tone.

Other variations:

Fred! Stop it and enjoy your meal

Fred! Stop it and continue walking

Fred! Stop it and write your next book

Fred! Stop it and feel grateful

Time for Action

  1. Get into your pose, imagine the stop sign or flood gate and say, “(Your name)! STOP it and move forward with your life!”

  2. Do this ten times or as many times a it takes until the negative thought is gone. For the next few days, be on the alert for any negative thoughts and stop them as soon as you notice them. 

 

I have had clients who have tried all kinds of therapist to stop negative thoughts and this technique did it for them.

Client story

“I was raised by a mother who found fault with everything I did. I was never good enough. When I had my own children. I made sure never to be critical toward them. However, I always saw myself in a negative light and kept thinking I was not a good mother. My need to be perfect as their mother was not allowing me to enjoy raising my children. Negative thoughts kept popping up in my head making me feel inadequate. When you taught me to stop those thoughts I was not sure if it would work. But it did. Learning how to stop them abruptly and quickly helped me relax and enjoy being a mother. Thank you, Fred.”