It’s possible to think positively if you KILL YOUR ANTS!

We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with fear and bad news that triggers our automatic negative thinking—ANTS! Need proof? Just turn on the TV or cruise through the net. Doom and gloom stories dominate the headlines—because fear makes us pay attention.

In fact, our brains are wired to focus on the negative in order to avoid things that might hurt us. Fear definitely serves a purpose, but what happens when all we seem to focus on are negative thoughts? Bad things. Take a look at these compelling facts:

  • Every thought you have releases chemicals in the brain.
  • Hopeful thoughts release chemicals that help you feel happy and calm.
  • Negative thoughts release chemicals that make you feel stressed and sad.
  • If what you bring your attention to determines how you feel and act, focusing too much on negative thoughts can lead to destructive behaviors—behaviors that can ruin your important relationships and ruin your mind.

    Enough of the bad news. There is good news!

    You can learn how to kill your automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) and focus on the positive.

    Here’s how…

    In this short video, Dr. Daniel Amen and his wife, health and wellness expert Tana Amen, discuss how to challenge and kill your own ANTs in three easy steps.

    3 steps to kill those ANTs

    1. Write it down. When those automatic negative thoughts start tumbling around in your mind, write them down to clearly identify them.
    2. Investigate. Ask yourself, are these thoughts even true? Uninvestigated thoughts can lead us to act in harmful ways.
    3. Talk back. If you discover that these negative thoughts are false, talk back to them! Tell these thoughts you know they aren’t true!

    Practice these steps each time you feel automatic thoughts entering your brain. By labeling, investigating, and then talking back to your automatic negative thoughts, you’ll turn your mind into "an ANT ghost town."

    Amen Clinics has helped thousands of people manage stress, depression, and anxiety. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at any of our six clinics, nationwide.

    We want you to become a brain warrior for life. Call us at 1-844-203-4703.

    • Kim Halliday

      That was amazing. Thanks for being so open Tana, it helped tremendously!

    • jwministrytreasures

      The greatest brain doctor in the world!

    • Jaya’s Healing Bodywork

      I understand that we have a brain and a mind. My mind can talk to my brain and control it. When I’m stuck in negative thoughts my mind questions whether they are true and then when I can’t stop my brain from going on and on, my mind can tell the brain, ok, you got five minutes to get it all out and then we will do something else. There are two parts of me and I have a choice which to listen to and for how long…Jaya

    • Charmaine

      Tana is lovely but her interruptions when you were speaking were very annoying. I gave up frustrated. Liked what you had to say… but just when you were making your point every single time she cut in! If you really want to help keep the marriage at home and do separate videos!

      • Doug Ison

        If that bothers you, as ever slight as it may be… you really need to listen again and again… because they are talking about you.

        • John Novikoff

          No sir. It is a legitimate complaint to point out the distraction of constant interruption. It would never wash in front of a large audience and I doubt public speaking instructors would let her slide. I have mentioned this before along with her excessive makeup which is not needed in HD video with her beauty. Makeup should enhance and not cover up.

          • drkrgr

            You guys are very critical of her.

    • Reet

      I struggle daily in my thoughts. They are mainly from past experience wanting to warn me there is danger ahead but in reality I’m not in danger but rather others in my family are making choices that have negative impact on their life. That sets me off and quite frankly I’m sick of my reaction. It feels so debilitating! I called the number listed in the above but it’s not in service.

    • David Woffenden

      auto negative thots “ANT’s”

    • Lisa Moon

      Love Dr. Amen and his cutting edge work. Disappointing to see his obviously intelligent wife play a disempowered role here, the gigging, interrupting, discomfort with vunerability, etc. Women, especially need empowered role models, think Dr. Christine Northrup. Give us your authentic self Ms. Amen.

      • John Novikoff

        I concur. I hope she see this.

    • Wendy Roth

      What if the negative thoughts are true

      • John Novikoff

        They might be true to some degree but not merit the discomfort one feels. They might be a very low priority negative thought which either needs acceptance or working out

    • Margje Van Der Lei

      I think negative thoughts come from the body is protecting you from the hurt feeling underneeth it. You don’t want to feel the pain again. Something happend in the past that you can’t face. It’s the flight&flight reaction.

    • liz lewis

      I just notice this. I wrote about “negative thought patterns” recently on my blog. This is a great site for information, love it!

    • Asunta

      My daughter who suffered a TBI did 25 sessions at your Thousand Oaks Clinic. We have had limited success.
      I wish we could meet/ work with you as a follow up instead of just technicians.
      Thank you

      • Due to his writing, research, and teaching duties, Dr. Amen has very limited clinical time. However, all Amen Clinics patients are seen by physicians and clinicians that are extensively trained by Dr. Amen and Dr. Amen is readily available to them for consultation should they need it.

        As we don’t have a clinic in Thousand Oaks, might you have us confused with another clinic? Please contact our Patient Care Coordination department at 866-260-8227 for further assistance.

    • christy

      This is really very insightful! Thanks to you both.

      • Dr. Daniel Amen

        We’re very glad you found it helpful!

    • Larry Douglas

      I thought this was unrealistic. I agree there are ants. But your premise supposes that ‘uninvestigated thoughts’ , after you write them down, have no merit. Ok, that’s probably true. But your video assumes that all of those thoughts are untrue or have no merit. What if you write down and investigate and find out the ‘ants’ are not imaginary. Unfortunately your video is misleading. The truth is, yes, thoughts and emotions and thoughts can indeed run wild. The reality you dismiss is that sometimes your thoughts and emotions are reacting to fact/data that is not imaginary. You should either drop this video completely or remake one that is balanced.

    • Fellipe Ramos Rodrigues

      My wife suffers from Bipolar Disorder a long time. She is doing therapy and taking medicines without having good progress. All the time she has negative thoughts and she does not get to control them. As a result she has hallucinations, auditory and visual, and she loses the contact with reality.
      How can I help her to eliminate these negative thoughts when it is a memory of childhood? She remembers things that happened with her when she was very Young and she does not get to forget or to give a new reason to them. Unfornatelly her childhood was very difficult. She saw many things that she should not have seen.

      • In addition to being on the right medication to control the hallucinations, there is a therapy called EMDR which can be very helpful to those who suffer from traumatic memories. You can find more information about it on the website

        • Fellipe Ramos Rodrigues

          Thanks for your answer. I am going to search about this therapy.
          I have been read the book Change your brain, change your body and through the book I had the opportunity to find this site.

    • negative thoughts are very much a part of depression. But, by working
      on your thoughts you can in fact bring yourself out. It is essential in
      therapy, along with exercise, social activity, etc

    • Andrea Palmer

      I discovered you last night on PBS, and I’m so intrigued and taking notes to implement in my life. Thank you!

    • Patti Cakes

      I have PTSD from seeing my best friends dad getting killed in from of me, and I was raped and held for 3 days in a room and almost killed by my ex husband…there are other things but I can’t sleep well I have night terrors I’m so afraid of sleeping I have so many nightmares I don’t know what to do my new doctor took me off my ambient now I just don’t sleep sometimes 4 days I see things I told him this but he just says I need to be seen by a psychiatrist but I can’t find one who takes insurance I feel like no one cares if it wasn’t for my children I wouldn’t be here anymore

      • It sounds like you would really benefit from meeting with a mental health professional and/or psychiatrist. You may find someone in your area from our referral network: Additionally, you can check with your county mental health center for resources.

        Getting sufficient sleep is critical to a healthy brain – you might find Restful Sleep from BrainMD Health to be helpful, which can be purchased here: Your satisfaction is guaranteed.