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Squash A.N.T.s

Automatic Negative Thoughts​


Spend less time dwelling on repetitive negative thoughts.


This habit is about squashing automatic negative thoughts to create space for more positive and productive thoughts.


When we say A.N.T.s, we don’t mean squashing actual ants, but it’s a good acronym and visual.

A.N.T.s stands for:

  • Automatic
  • Negative
  • Thoughts

One of the biggest challenges that people face on this journey is the amount of doubt and persistent negative thoughts they have.

We can’t always control these thoughts, but we can control how much time we spend with them.

Letting these negative thoughts come and visit your mind now and then can be helpful to observe and learn from them, but don’t let them set up camp and live there rent-free.

Do you sit and ruminate on your negative thoughts for hours and hours every day? Or do you squash them as soon as you notice them and move on with your day?

Squashing automatic negative thoughts creates space for more positive and productive thoughts.


The idea is that as soon as something negative (or doubtful) pops into your head, you look for a way to squash it immediately.

There are 3 steps to this:

  1. Awareness: Recognize when an A.N.T. appears in your thought process.
  2. Interrupt: Once identified, find ways to momentarily halt or distract yourself from that thought. Ignore it. Push it away. Change your environment. Distract yourself. D
  3. Replace: Consciously redirect your focus towards a positive or constructive thought. Or, do something to prove it wrong – take back control.

Read more about A.N.T.s here.


Spot & Squash: Treat A.N.T.s like the ‘point & call’ safety system. When you spot one, verbally or mentally say “Squash” and visualize squashing it.

Environment Design: Create an uplifting environment. Surround yourself with positive affirmations or quotes. It’s harder for A.N.T.s to thrive in a positive environment.

Gratitude Shift: Whenever an A.N.T. appears, think of one thing you’re grateful for. The positive emotion can help overshadow the negative one.

Feedback Loop: Share your feelings with a close friend or family member. Often, external perspectives can offer clarity and challenge those A.N.T.s.

Mindful Moments: Engage in regular mindfulness or meditation practices. This can train the mind to be more present and less reactive to automatic thoughts.