ANTs? I hear you say. I thought this was a counselling blog and shes talking about insects. Well you are right, it is a counselling blog and no I’m not talking about insects but about Automatic Negative Thoughts.


These occur once our minds become used to negative things occurring, the thoughts get stuck in a negative loop. This can be changed to a positive loop. Often this is a technique used within CBT or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

The idea is that the mind notices a correlation when it experiences X then Y occurs. So every time you talk to your boss in a week they yell at you and make you feel useless lets call this X. You respond to this by feeling sad, scared, unappreciated, useless (whatever negative emotion it connects to) lets call this Y. So now the brain will make the connection with Boss X to negative emotions Y. However, when the boss is less stressed and stopped shouting your brain is still expecting X so will start to feel Y. Thus ANTs are established. This can carry over into other areas, so people who are viewed as similar to the Boss will be linked to the same negative feelings. Thus it can spiral out of control.

Now I’ve made that very simplified, it isn’t always that simple, but its a nice explanation. The idea is to recognise these ANTs and start to turn the wheel the other direction. My boss doesn’t hate me, they were having a bad week, it was their problem not mine, I am competent etc. It is hard to do. Breaking the negative cycle, but it can be done.  

If you are in the Newcastle-under-Lyme or Stoke-on-Trent ares and would like counselling to help with your ANTs or any other issues please do give Wright Minds a call.