In this session, you will learn about automatic negative thoughts, or ANTs, and how to determine if they are true and replace them with positive thoughts.

What are the objectives of session 4?

  • To learn what automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) are
  • To explain how ANTs influence your feelings and actions
  • To describe the different types of ANTs
  • To identify your own types of ANTs
  • To challenge your ANTs
  • To replace your ANTs with positive thoughts and behaviors
  • To learn how to relax your body when you have negative thoughts

What are automatic thoughts and do I have them?

Do you agree that we sometimes think about things that make us feel sad or anxious without good reason? It is almost like our minds are on autopilot and thoughts seem to pop up from nowhere. These thoughts then make us feel bad in our minds and bodies. You may get a headache, feel hot and shaky, find it difficult to eat and sleep, and act angry and frustrated. There may be something that set it off, but it seems too small to have all these effects, right? Things that may cause these thoughts are going somewhere new, talking to people, getting your schoolwork right, meeting new people, doing something in front of people, leaving mom and dad, being ill, exams and tests, and other stuff like spiders and the dark.

Be sure, you are lot alone or strange – everyone has these thoughts and feelings. They are sometimes referred to as automatic negative thoughts, or ANTs for short. ANTs provide you with a running commentary of everything that happens and what you do. For example: “Everything I do is wrong.” Or, “I’m not very good with people.” “Nobody likes me because I’m stupid.” These thoughts are the building block of how you see yourself and everything that happens to you.

If many of you automatic thoughts are negative, it may make you act out, avoid or stop doing certain things, and feel bad. You become less able to see both sides and end up making balanced decisions and judgements, until everything seems to be going wrong sometimes and you are unable to be positive and happy. This happens to all of us at times but we can do something about it!

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