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“PETS and ANTS”

Written by Marion Aufseesser

8 May 2020

Dear Readers

Another confinement week flew by. 

I promised myself to be at your side all through COVID-19 with an article per week.

It’s my contribution to being supportive to the community. 
I first described PET’s & ANT’s in my book written in French (Link) and I read something similar in a book by A. Grant.

Positive Expected Thoughts (PETs), if you have more of these you may be more of an optimist, and Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANT’s), if you have more of these you may be a little bit more inclined to be a pessimist, a worrier or anxious. 

Most of us are a bit of both and that’s ok, as long as our ANT’s don’t interfere too much with on getting on with life.

Our lives are made up of good and not such good times. (See the Rollercoaster article)

Life’s rollercoaster can be compared to a child’s toy, the yoyo. A yoyo goes up and down.  Sometimes knots form in the string. In life, these “knots” are the obstacles we meet. They can be internal, such as health problems, or external, for example unwanted situations we find ourselves in and then have to cope with. 

During COVID-19 many of us are experiencing both internal and external events impacting our life and/or closes one’s lives.

Understanding ANT’s and PET’s helps us identify the mechanism that triggers our reactions given any situation and breaking away from the vicious circles PET’s entails.

Being able to adapt to the ups and downs of life is what brings us serenity and prevents negative stress building up.

A child usually instinctively knows what to do when his yoyo gets into a knot. As adults, we don’t always know how to react when “life knots” appear. Should we carry on trying, or stop and ask for help?

If you are stuck, asking for help is far more beneficial.

People with PETs are usually energetic and enthusiastic. Their Positive Expected Thoughts, help them see that doors will soon be opening. PETs get us moving in search of solutions.

When we have ANTs, or Automatic Negative Thoughts, we are stuck in vicious circles. Our “engine” is at a standstill and we have trouble rebooting it again.

We go around in circles, without being able to do anything to get moving again.

Many of us experience periods in life when nothing goes the way we want it to go.

“My company is in a bad way. Lots of employees are going to get sacked… If I’m one of them, I’m sure I’ll never be able to find a new job… at my age… with the same salary! What on earth am I going to do? I’ll never be able to cope!”

Which path to take: ANTs or PETs?

Transforming automatic negative thoughts into positive expected thoughts is similar to changing one’s outlook on the half empty glass into a half full one! 

It’s all a matter of perspective, and positive projections. 

If you are more PETs than ANTs keep it up. Being realistically positive is a great way to face life’s challenges.

If you are more ANTs than PETs become a “copycat”, watch and imitate that person who is always so positive. Talk about it with that friend. Start small. Give yourself time. Changing old ingrained behaviors and thought patterns is hard work. If you’ve been living with lots of ANT’s it may take some time to lose the habit.

If you need support, do get in touch with me. 

Maybe in your country’s deconfinement is starting. Take the opportunity of this new beginning to stick to the PNKR’s (click here) you described a few weeks ago when you did the exercise described in the PNKR article.

Post Covid-19 gives us all an opportunity to do things differently. It’s a new era.

“Just do it now “and let go of those internal barriers you have put up and may have been fighting against for years.

Take care and do remember, your comments and shares are important to me.

Marion Aufseesser

www.transitionkit.com COVID19

Coaching Psychologist FSP/ASPCo
Mob: +41(0)79 342 50 92