Do You Need an ANTeater?

anteater (1)

Do you need an ANTeater in your life? For some reason this year, I am really motivated to improve my health. I don’t always hit January with a “New year, new me” kind of attitude. There have been many years that were business as usual. This year is different. I hope I can sustain this commitment to a “new” me. I love feeling motivated. I love accomplishing goals and feeling productive.

I have found one thing that can get in the way of all of that. ANTs. Yes, ANTs. Okay it’s an acronym for Automatic, Negative, Thoughts. Dr. Daniel Amen is the one who coined this. He has written several bestselling books on our brains and our thoughts. The one thing that can take away our new year motivation is ANTs. Automatic negative thoughts are the things we say to ourselves often without thinking about it. We tell ourselves in sly ways that we are fat, ugly, dumb, and not worth it. Why do we do this to ourselves? These automatic thoughts can take us from feeling motivated to depressed in a matter of minutes.

Here’s what we know. Research has now shown that when you have a negative thought the chemicals released in your brain are all out of proportion. This leaves you feeling depressed, stressed and anxious. Scripture tells us to do something different.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 (NIV).
 We also know that what scripture instructs not only helps us feel better, but has a beautiful, peace bringing, chemical cascade that takes place in the brain. Every time you have a positive thought, you bring peace to your body. Gratitude journals have taken on a new meaning.
If you are like me, you need the how to version of this. Telling me to think positively doesn’t make me think positively. I think we all need our own ANTeater. Here are three simple steps to having your own personal ANTeater.
1. Start with a positive phrase that you say to yourself every morning. Put a reminder on your phone or a post-it on the mirror.
2. Re-read Philippians 4:8 daily.
3. Catch the negative thought as soon as it happens. Reject it and replace it with a positive one.
It really is this simple and it really does get easier. The thought I’m trying to erase this year, “This year is going to be the same as last year.” I’m after new and improved for this year and I can’t let that phrase get in my way. It will stop me from achieving God’s plan for this year.
What’s your phrase? Will you join me in attacking it with an ANTeater? Will you join me in making this year better than expected? Share y our phrase and we can encourage each other.

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