In this message, Pastor Miles interviewed Dr. Amen about killing the ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) in our mind.
You can make your brain better by changing the quality of your thoughts.
Dr. Amen is a clinical psychiatrist and 10 times NY Times bestselling author. He has been a psychiatrist for 40 years. His love of medicine was born in the military during the Vietnam War. He hated being shot at so he transferred to be an x-ray technician. He fell in love with psychiatry when he realized it could change generations of people. There’s a stigma associated with mental health problems because they are brain health problems. He has dedicated his life to changing your brain and changing your life. You can make your brain better by changing the quality of your thoughts.
Can you imagine if God planned this amazing life for you, and you were holding onto the one thing that was spoiling it? Negative thoughts. God has made you an amazing, credible person, marvelous created, but you are created to the one thing from blinding you from that fact.
We all have negative thoughts but you don’t have to be a slave to your thoughts.
One of the biggest things Dr. Amen has learned, whenever you have a thought, your brain releases chemicals. Every thought affects every cell in your body. When you have a sad, mad, angry, hopeless, helpless thought, your body releases chemicals that make you feel bad. Your heart rate changes, your muscles tense etc… Positive thoughts create a completely different chemical environment in your body and your body reacts immediately.
How do you eliminate these automatic negative thoughts that are stealing your happiness?
Most of the thoughts we have are negative. The Bible commands us to take thoughts captive and submit them to Christ. When the spirit of God whispers to you, you choose to obey or not obey. We are often waiting for God to do it, but we have to make a decision to do it. We have to renew our minds.
I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2
These lessons have been taught in 100s of studies to eliminate depression. What is the smallest thing you can do today that will make the biggest difference long term?
- One tiny habit is to start every day with “today is going to be a great day”. Your mind will find why today is a great day and your day will be better.
- The second tiny habit, which is the most important, is whenever you feel sad, mad, nervous, out of control, write down what you’re thinking. Write it down.
Always thinking: You think in words like “always, never, everyone, every time”. They are always wrong.
Mind reading: You believe you know what someone else is thinking even though they haven’t told you.
Fortune Telling: You take something and predict it will turn out badly.
Labeling: You label yourself or someone else with a negative term.
Blame: Making yourself a powerless victim
Personalization: Take something innocuous and apply to you
Guilt Beatings: Using the words “Should, must, ought, have to”…
Thinking with your feelings: Making your feelings a reality
Focusing on the negative: Focusing on the one thing that didn’t go right
Whenever you feel bad, write down what the thought is.
Pastor Miles shares one of his ANTs is fortune telling. He started writing his book over a year ago and for about a year he would stand and worship in fear that the book would destroy our church. At the time, the devil was saying it would destroy. He was overthinking everything he wrote.
So Dr. Amen takes that thought “this book is going to destroy this church.” So you write down the thought, and you ask, “Is it true?” “No.” Right away you begin to crack the thought.
Mind Your Business Declaration
- Write down what you are thinking and describe the ANT in detail
- Ask “Is that true?”
- Ask “Are you 100% sure?”
- Ask “How does that thought make you feel?”
- Ask “How would you feel if you didn’t have that thought? Powerful?”
- Turn around to the opposite.
Even as Pastor Miles decided to stay true to God’s calling, despite his thoughts, it was still an uphill battle against himself. Your thoughts can drive issues.
Think about your ANTs and do this process because you will have victory. Write down a couple of your common ANTs and go through the process above.
This isn’t about positive thinking. That is thinking, "I can go to lunch and have 3 pieces of cheesecake and it won't affect my health”. According to research, the people who died the earliest were the “don’t worry be happy” people. This is about honest and accurate thinking. Tell yourself the truth.
The truth will set you free. John 8:32b
This is getting to the truth of your own thoughts.
For Pastor Miles’ ANT, the opposite would be, it will not only strengthen us, liberate us, it will transform us. Our fears and apprehensions because of racism will see walls torn down.
Get this technique and give it away to others. Healthier friends, healthier families, healthier workplaces can make a difference. You have to decide to obey the command to transform your mind. Get into a life group, start giving, pay attention to how God transforms your life when you obey what He is asking of you. Walking by faith is not about being comfortable, it’s about being obedient.
And the end of this message, Pastor Miles gave everyone an opportunity to take communion, but first encourages anyone who hasn’t accepted Christ as their Savior to confess that Jesus is Lord. If you haven’t asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, now is your opportunity to start a new life! Ask the Holy Spirit to come into your heart and transform your life today.