ANT #4: Mind Reading

Another activity best left to the psychics is mind reading. With this ANT, you think you know what another person is thinking. It’s usually about you, of course, and it’s usually not good.

ANT #5: Thinking with Your Feelings

This occurs when you have negative feelings without questioning them. You may be in a situation where you feel stupid, for example. It’s easy for that feeling to morph into the thought that you are stupid, though this is not true.

ANT #6: Being Ruled by “Shoulds”

Using words like “should” or “have to” is what Dr Amen calls “guilt beatings”. Ouch. Guilting yourself (or others) into changing is rarely productive.

ANT #7: Labeling

Eliminate negative labels like fat, lazy, stupid, or loser from your mental vocabulary. Don’t label others and don’t label yourself either. Labels can become a self-fulfilling prophecy for you and can damage your relationships with others.

ANT #8: Taking Things Personally

When others don’t treat you as well as you’d like, don’t take it personally. This might be hard to hear if you are prone to this ANT, but the world doesn’t revolve around you. People are not thinking about you as much as you imagine! If a class-mate seems grumpy, it’s probably because they had a bad night’s sleep or is worrying about something that has nothing to do with you.

ANT #9: Blame

This last one is rather straightforward: don’t blame others for your own problems. 

Realise that you are responsible for your own actions, thoughts, and attitudes.

While you can’t expect to completely stop having automatic negative thoughts, you can rob them of their power by refusing to believe that they are true. The first step to challenging your automatic negative thoughts is to recognise them when they occur. The second step is to challenge their validity.


This means that when you recognise an automatic negative thought, ask yourself questions like:

Is this thought true?

Is having this thought helpful?

Is there another explanation or another way of looking at things?

What advice would I give someone else having this thought?

Written by Deane Alban;  Dr Patrick Alban on