Move For Fun, Get Fit For Life.

Race Day September 22, 2018

Healthy Living Expo September 20-21, 2018

Be On Your Mental Game

, by SelectHealth

Often, people sabotage fitness goals with their own negative perceptions, also known as Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs). ANTs aren’t just workhorses of the insect world that children like to examine and then mash with their little feet—these cynical thoughts cause us to believe we’ve failed before we’ve even begun.

Science has proven through brain imaging that these ANTS are detrimental to brain function—they sour our mood, slow the thinking process, increase impulsivity, and dramatically decrease activity in the cerebellum and temporal lobes. Just think about it. Would you rather be around a positive person or a negative one? Well, so would your brain!

Therapists have identified ten problematic ANTs:

1. All or Nothing. “I didn’t get my training in today; I might as well give up.”

2. “Always” Thinking/Overgeneralizing. “I have always been fat—it will never change.”

3. Focusing on the Negative. “I ran three miles today, but I wanted to run four. I’m a complete failure.”

4. Thinking with Your Feelings. “I feel like a loser so I must be one.”

5. Guilt Beating. “I ought to go to the gym more.”

6. Labeling. “I’m a slob.”

7. Fortune-Telling. “This might work for a few months, but it will never work in the long run.”

8. Mind Reading. “Other people think I’m stupid.”

9. Blame. “It’s your fault that I gained weight because you wouldn’t exercise with me.”

10. Denial. “I only binge eat when I’m stressed out, not every day.”

You can change thinking by developing an “internal ANTeater” that identifies ANTs and talks back to them. Challenge your ANTs by asking yourself four questions about each negative thought:

1. Is it true?

2. Can I absolutely know it is true?

3. Who would I be without that thought?

4. How would I feel if I didn’t have that thought?

After answering these questions, try turning the thought around by identifying the opposite thought. Is it more accurate than the original thought? Determine how the opposite thought can most effectively be turned around to apply to you. For example:

  • Original thought. “I have no control over my cravings.”
  • Opposite thought. “I can control my cravings.”
  • How to best apply the thought to you. “My cravings cannot control me.”

Apply this concept to your fitness or weight loss goals and start thinking positively!

Tags: physical activity,fitness,life balance,goal setting,wellness