The Truth About Automatic Negative Thoughts: How to Get Rid of Them For Good

January 4, 2023

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Today, we’re all bombarded with a constant stream of information and sensory stimulation. Many people struggle to keep up with it all and internalise the right amount of information. 🥲

The result is often an abundance of automatic negative thoughts (ANTs). These are unhelpful mental reactions to events that produce a feeling of distress and pessimism.

As much as you can, try not to let them get the better of you.

But how do you keep your automatic negative thought under control? 🤔

Sometimes, we’re so busy trying to make our lives perfect that we forget about the small things that make our lives more meaningful along the way.

When we forget to look at the bigger picture and focus on our inadequacies and what’s going wrong in our lives that’s when things start to spiral. 🙃

Then there are those moments when we start thinking negatively about things that aren’t even bothering us anymore – automatic negative thoughts in their purest form.

Here’s what you need to know about these types of thought, and how to get rid of them for good.

What are Automatic Negative Thoughts?

Thinking is an active process. It happens in your head, and it’s shaped by the information you receive.

Automatic negative thoughts are unhelpful thoughts that pop into your head unconsciously. 😒

These thoughts often result from a situation that made you feel anxious. ANTs may be triggered by perceived social inadequacies or by a moment of self-criticism.

They often go something like this: “You’re stupid for not knowing that. You’ve never done anything worthwhile. You’ll always be a loser.”

They’re negative, critical thoughts you have about yourself that are based on nothing but assumptions. 🤷‍♀️

Criticism that isn’t constructive doesn’t help you grow or improve. It’s just another way to distract yourself from the real issues.

automatic negative thoughts

How to Get Rid of Automatic Negative Thoughts

The first thing to know about ANTS is that they’re completely within your control.

This might sound crazy, but it’s true. If you want to get rid of ANTs, you’ll need to use the same techniques you would to overcome any other fear.

In other words, you need to face your anxiety head-on. Scary, I know. But doable. 🙂

Let’s take a look at some of these techniques, and how you can use them to get rid of your ANTs.

Accept that you’re feeling anxious
Stop for a moment and acknowledge how you’re feeling. If you’re with a friend, explain why you’re feeling anxious. This will help you connect with your feelings, and you’ll see them for what they are. Alternatively, you can write your thoughts and feelings in a journal.

Befriend your anxiety
Accept that it’s not dangerous or toxic, just anxiousness. You don’t need to be ashamed of it or avoid it.

Look for logical explanations for your anxiety
Once you’ve calmed yourself down and accepted your feelings, take a step back and ask yourself what you were thinking. What thought triggered your anxiety? Was it something in the past, present or future?

Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is the ability to focus on the present moment. When you’re feeling anxious, this is exactly what you need to do. It’s a way of calmly and rationally evaluating your thoughts and feelings.

Want to learn more about mindfulness? Click here 👉 The Keys to Self-Mastery

Find a way to release the stress
When you’re feeling stressed, the last thing you want to do is hold onto it. Instead of making your anxiety worse, find a way to release it. You can do this by doing something calming, like taking a walk or meditating.

Strategies to Overcome ANTs

Now you know a couple of ways on how to get rid of your automatic negative thoughts, you need to learn how to replace them with more helpful ones.

ANTS are super sticky, so it might take some time to completely get rid of them. Don’t be discouraged though,It gets better with practice. 🙂

Keep in mind, too, that it’s often helpful to identify your triggers. If you know that a certain type of person triggers ANTs in you, you can avoid them in advance.

The first thing to remember is that the way you think affects the outcome of your life. It’s worth remembering this fact because it might seem like a simple concept, but it’s not a concept that’s widely used to navigate life.

After all, we’ve been telling ourselves this for years. The truth is that the way you think about things determines how you feel about them. You have the power to change your feelings. 👈

It’s also important to practice self-compassion. Instead of beating yourself up for having negative thoughts, try to be kind and understanding.

Remind yourself that everyone has negative thoughts from time to time and it’s okay. It takes time and practice, but if you work hard, you can start to change your automatic negative thoughts.

How to Push Away ANTs That Are Holding You Back

Here are a few ideas for how to push away ANTs that are holding you back.

If you have any other strategies, feel free to add them in the comments section.

👉 Journaling
When you journal, you take the power out of your thoughts and put it back where it belongs – in your control. You have the ability to choose how you’re going to feel, and journaling gives you that power back.

👉 Post-its
Post-its have been used to overcome many forms of anxiety, and they work just as well for ANTs as they do for any other type of fear. Put a few up around your room, and stick them on your mirror if you need to remind yourself to push them away.

👉 Distracting yourself
ANTs and anxiety often revolve around your thoughts and feelings about things that happened in the past. To push them away, focus on the things in the present that are worth focusing on.

👉 Guided imagery
It’s designed to bring your attention back to the present moment, so it’s a great way to push away your ANTs. Look around you and focus on he objects that you are observing.


Automatic negative thoughts can be a real drag on our mental health, but there are things we can do to fight back against them. 👊

The first step is to become aware of when these negative thoughts arise. We can then pause and take a step back, and try to come up with a more positive thought.

It’s also important to challenge any negative thoughts that come up. Ask yourself if your thoughts are really realistic, and make an effort to replace them with more positive, realistic ones.

Finally, practice self-care. Whether it’s going for a walk, taking a break, talking to a friend, or doing something creative, it’s important to fill your life with joyful activities that can help counteract the effects of negative thinking.

With a little bit of effort, we can all learn to break the cycle of negative thinking and live a healthier and more fulfilling life. 😄

Pin this post for a reminder 📌 👇

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  1. Bruno says:

    Great post! It’s so true that negative thoughts can weigh us down, but it’s empowering to know that we can take control and work towards more positive thinking. It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Self-care is such an essential piece of the puzzle too. Taking care of ourselves and doing things that bring us joy can make a difference in how we think and feel. Thanks for the reminder and the encouragement to keep working towards a healthier, more positive mindset.

  2. Jenna says:

    I needed to read this today! Thanks for sharing your helpful tips Heather!

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I'm Heather, your Success Coach

I believe that having an intentional daily routine is the cornerstone of living a fulfilling and purposeful life. Is it easy? Heck no. Is it worth it? Heck Yes.

My job is to help you stop playing small and reprogram your limiting beliefs so that you don’t waste your life away trying to fit into a box made for someone else.

In this corner of the internet, I share my best transformational secrets, mindset tools and productivity hacks to get you clear on your ideal life.

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