Have you ever experienced stressors, worries, and trials that leave you asking the automatic questions: Why? Why is this happening to me? Why do I deserve this? Why isn’t this over yet? I could go on and on but you get it. There is great merit in evaluating our choices and circumstances. It helps us recognize unhealthy patterns and work toward avoiding the same mistakes in the future.
The more important question here is: What? What can I do to change my circumstances? What am I willing to do to change my circumstances? What will change if I keep doing the same thing?
With children, I often focus on changing the Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) that take over and get stuck in their mind when something frustrating or scary comes up for them. This term was coined by Dr. Daniel Amen in the early 90’s and provides some representation to negative thoughts that make them more tangible. These ANTs have the ability to:
- change our body chemistry
- shrink our brains
- give us physical and emotional symptomology
In short, they can tank us for the rest of the day or longer if we let them. We work to combat the ANT with the truth (Dr. Amen calls this the ANTeater that polices our mind). Doing so begins to discipline our mind. For example,
ANT: I will fail the test tomorrow.
Truth: I have studied for this test, I am well prepared, I passed the practice test.
With this simple focus shift we’ve changed our thinking from negative to positive, solved the problem, and worked to provide additional support and solutions. This feels good. This affirms what we already know and brushes off those pesky ANTs. This doesn’t happen instantaneously. Changing our ANTs takes time and, for awhile, it feels clunky and cumbersome. However, if we stop to address them, over time, the positive (and more accurate) thought will become the automatic thought.
With adults, the perspective shift from why to what can do the same thing. As anxiety and depression continue to rise in prevalence and severity, we can utilize this thinking shift proactively both when we feel fine and when we are in the throes of these diagnoses that can feel inescapable.
Giving yourself and your kids grace in the midst of reframing and adjusting our thought patterns in this process is imperative. It took time for the ANTs to take over and it will take some time to get rid of them. If you struggle with the why or Automatic Negative Thoughts (hint: we ALL do), I encourage you to challenge your thinking, ask what you can do, rather than getting stuck in the why. The why is helpful in identifying and helping us pinpoint the problem so that we can then work to find the solution. What can you do to work toward healing today? Are you willing?
Donor Open House – Tuesday, May 21st from 5:30pm-7:30pm
Peace Partnership, 605 NE Woods Chapel Rd, Lee’s Summit, MO
We want to say thank you to everyone who has supported us over the last year with your time and gifts. Stop by, grab a bite to eat from Zarda BBQ, and meet our staff.
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Join our “100 Campaign”
100 people giving $100 to raise $10,000!
1 in 5 kids experience severe mental health struggles. Thankfully, there’s help…right here in our community. Join 100 community members coming together to bring hope to those in need. Donate your $100 gift here.
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Because of your support and generosity, we made nearly $17,000 during our Month of Giving with Jersey Mike’s in March. THANK YOU for supporting our mission to provide premium, affordable counseling for families and children in need!
We so enjoyed meeting and visiting with each Lee’s Summit Chamber member who came out for the Chamber Before Hours event. It is always our pleasure to get to know the individuals in our community who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of others. A better world begins with you!
Thank you to all of you who gave so generously in April:
- Butch and Karen Bellis, thank you for your generous gift to our Jersey Mike’s Month of Giving.
- Briana Collins, we are grateful for your contributions to our 100 Campaign.
- Thank you, High Street Baptist Church, for your generosity and support of our mission to help others in need.
- Lisa McCarty, your generosity is so appreciated. Thank you for your gift.
- Church of the Four Corners, we are excited to begin our new partnership and grateful for your support.
- Randy and Stacie Walker, thank you for joining us during our Month of Giving to help raise awareness for Peace Partnership.
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If so, you can double your gifts to Peace Partnership. Check here to see if your company provides a matching gift program to its employees. Still unsure? Contact your company’s HR department or email Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.