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One Minute for October 2021 – ANTS Are No Picnic

Ants can ruin a picnic. You can put your blanket down and open your picnic basket and discover there are ants in the grass. Ants can ruin a picnic.

ANTS can ruin your life. ANTS stands for Automatic Negative Thoughts, those intrusive thoughts that seen to “pop” into our minds automatically. Aaron Beck, M. D. coined this word ANTS when he was working with patients with depression. He noticed that these patients had negative thoughts and beliefs about themselves. As his research grew it was discovered that most people have these same kind of negative thoughts.

Dr. Daniel Amen, M.D., considered America’s most influential psychiatrist, has popularized the ANTS concept in his book, “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life”. Examples of ANTS are: “I never do anything right,” “I’m such a loser,” and “If people really knew what I am like they would have nothing to do with me”. These negative thoughts affect overall happiness and mental health. Dr. Amen, who is also a Christian, believes ANTS can also affect your spiritual health.

If these thoughts occur only occasionally or if they linger only momentarily, this is very normal as most people experience negative thoughts from time to time. However, it these thoughts persist or continue to be intrusive, it is recommended that you seek out a therapist or other mental health professional for private, confidential counseling. Dr. Amen says you might be having an ANT infestation.

There are ways to manage these ANTS and overcome their negative effects. Several authors and techniques are available. There are also resources for children to manage their ANTS.

Contact me for a brief list of recommended books and links on this topic.


One Minute is written by Rev. Ron Rehrer, Counselor for Church Workers for the PSD. Phone 949.433.5182. Email


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