Monday, June 21, 2010

Simple Tests

Dr. Amen defines "ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts)" as products of brain's tendency to think negatively. I think of ANTs as "extreme" thoughts (as opposed to moderate thoughts). Examples:
  • I know "X" will happen to me,
  • I am sure I cannot do "Y",
  • I always do "Z" and then regret it,
  • Person "X" thinks "Y" about me,
  • If I do "X" then person "X" will be hurt,
  • Person "X" wants to do "Y" to me,
Test: Keep a record of your extreme thoughts in a day and notice your mood. Extreme thoughts, in my experience, are closely associated with either depression (when they are extreme and negative) or manic-depression (when they swing from one extreme to the other).
This way you can easily measure your mood objectively.
If the frequency of ANTs within a day is very high for you, then you want to be more mindful of your mental health! :)
A lot of times, you can fight ANTs by, first being aware of them (especially when you feel nervous, depressed, or hyper!), and second, by simple reasoning. Examples are below.
If, even after some practice and mindfulness, you cannot control ANTs, then you HAVE to seek help. You may be seriously depressed.
Note that, in my experience, you may be conditioned to ENJOY the ANTs!!!! In such cases, your mind is ADDICTED to ANTs.
HYPOTHESIS (mine :) I think depression (and maybe other mental health issues) may have an addiction component.
Examples of ANTs and their moderate responses:
  1. Oh, shit, that paper is rejected, I am totally fucked up, there is no way I can finish my PhD.     No, you do NOT know for sure that you cannot finish. There is a chance that you may not, but there is a probability that you may. Things are NOT out of your control.
  2. Well, I do not have any friend, that fucking "X" is not a friend either. S/He is always thinking about her/himself.      No, you have some friends, some closer, some not very close. Some care for you, some not as much. "X" may not be a close friend, but still may care about you to a limited extent. People mostly think about themselves, and "X" too, but they sometimes help others too. If you can communicate what you want, you may get it!
  3. I never do research in the right way. I am too stupid. I never learn.   Well, you are learning. You may not be a fast learner, but you are not probably the worst either. How fast you learn depends on your preferences and priorities and time you spend!
  4. Fucking unbelievable, I know s/he is thinking I am a stupid jerk. Fuck you anyway, who cares about you!   You do NOT know for sure what s/he thinks, s/he may not really know that either! How many times you REALLY/CLEARLY know what you think and want? You also care about her/him, that is why you are thinking all these in the first place. You have to respect your self and her/him at the same time!
  5. I am going to not show up on time, but this will teach him/her a lesson.    You may or may not be on time. If you are not, it is not clear that s/he will be on time either. Moreover, you cannot know for sure the effect on him/her, and ultimately you do not know how you will feel exactly once you hurt him/her!
  6. I know I am so ill I am going to die, and then all these assholes will miss me!    You are not really that ill, and there is only a small chance that you die, and even then you never know how people will feel, and finally, if/how it would affect you after death :) It is more realistic to communicate what you want/need and be ready to accept rejection from some of them!!!
  7. I know I will play awful, and everyone will hate me.    You do not know for sure, and you do not know what people think, and even whether they care about the game at all. Some may hate you, some may feel that you did your job. It is not out of your control anyway!
I am sure you can come up with your own examples. If you care, please share your examples in comments! I assure you if you look for them genuinely, it will be a lot of fun catching them. It is harder, though, to refute them ;)


  1. read your post and judge: who is thinking more? ;)

  2. Thanks!
    I always forget to remind myself: do NOT think so much, take it easy :))


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