Amazing 17 Negative Automatic Thoughts List (ANTs) and 3 Different Worksheet

Negative automatic thoughts that lead to dysfunctional and unresolved moods are one of the important issues of CBT. You can find automated thought lists, worksheets and examples in this content.

We teach people that they upset themselves. We can’t change the past, so we change how people are thinking, feeling and behaving today.

Albert Ellis

Automatic Negative Thoughts Definition

What is automatic thoughts ?


Automatic thoughts are mental functions that occur without conscious judgment, deeply affecting our actions and emotions. These thoughts, which occur depending on the events in the environment, originate from our more stable beliefs and schemas. These thoughts are considered by the person to be true.

Why Negative Automatic Thoughts Are Important?

Our negative automatic thoughts; Our mental functions, are formed subconsciously and it deeply affects our emotions and behaviors.
When an event occurs, an automatic thought is formed in our brains. These automatic thoughts determine how we think. How we think determines how we feel.

According to Albert Ellis, rational thoughts lead to healthy emotions and irrational thoughts lead to unhealthy emotions.

negative automatic thoughts
Automatic thoughts are always with us. We have to get rid of them.

Automatic thoughts come from beliefs that are deeper in our mental structure. Before moving on to the subject of beliefs, it will be useful to talk about the intellectual errors that occur at the level of automatic thoughts.
When the automatic thoughts that distress the person are examined, it can be observed that there are some obvious errors during this thinking process. These errors are called cognitive distortions in cognitive therapy.
Typical mistakes in our automatic thoughts include the following.

What are the Negative Automatic Thoughts patterns? CBT ANTs

List of Negative Thoughts

Selective Detection:

Selectively perceiving a certain detail of a situation, other
The important features are to be ignored. The negative in the background
Usually negative details of events due to interpretation
are perceived and positive details are overlooked.

Example Negative automatic thoughts;

“Negative response came from job interview: No one would hire me.”

“Currently there are students not interested in the lesson: I am an unsuccessful teacher.”

” He didn’t accept my offer to go to dinner : He doesn’t want to be with me.

Mind Reading:

It is a thought error based on guessing what is going on in the mind of the other person or people. We shape our actions and emotions according to these thoughts we anticipate.

Example Negative automatic thoughts;

“I think I asked the wrong question. He thinks I’m stupid.

“I ordered too many. She thinks I’m greedy.


It is to draw exaggerated conclusions about itself, the environment and the future from the negative events experienced. Even small problems are perceived as a sign that the whole future will be bad.

Example Negative automatic thoughts;

“I’m getting worse and I’ll sink to the bottom.”

“If I say what I think, the person in front of me will be hurt and very angry.”

“If I say you made a mistake, it will be ruined.”

“It couldn’t be worse.”


The person even underestimates the positive events he experiences. He may think these successes are not his own. There is a situation of underestimating himself and not seeing his achievements.

Example Negative automatic thoughts;

“It doesn’t matter if I get good grades from the exam. Anyone could do that.”

“The reason they keep me at work is not because they like what I do, but because they can’t find anyone else.”

“My loved ones are with me because they feel sorry for me.”


It is to draw general rules from a single event. Generally, such thoughts and expressions often include definitions such as “everything, nothing, always, never, never, always.”

Example Negative automatic thoughts;

“All people are selfish.”

“Nobody respects me.”

“Nothing is going right.”

“He never said he loved me.”


Personal comparisons are made or personal connections are made about the events and people in the environment.

Example Negative automatic thoughts;

“How full of self-confidence. I am a complete idiot next to him.”

“How happy people are. How unhappy I am among them.”

Thinking of All or Nothing Style:

In this type of thinking, events are formed in two opposite directions. Like all or nothing, black or white. It is mostly seen in perfectionists.

Example Negative automatic thoughts;

“I got a poor grade in mathematics. I am a very unsuccessful student.”

“If he said he didn’t love me, he would never again.”

“I haven’t made much money this month, I think I’ll go bankrupt.”

Illusion of Control:

The person feels responsible for the pain or happiness of those around him.

Example Negative automatic thoughts;

“It was my fault that my patient did not recover.”

“I am responsible for what happened to my brother.”

Arbitrary Inference:

The situation of reaching some conclusions without evidence or with evidence to the contrary.

Example Negative automatic thoughts;

“He doesn’t want to be with me because he sees me as a simple woman.”

“If I articulate my feelings I will lose people.”

“Women only love men they find handsome and humorous.”


To make a generalization about the attitude of the person based on a behavior of himself or the other person.

Example Negative automatic thoughts;

“He doesn’t know what he’s saying. He’s such an unstable man.”

“He offered me very little money. He’s a mean person.”

“Sometimes I think I’m not interested in him. I’m a selfish person.”

Emotional Decisions

Thoughts arising from the belief that what one feels about the event or people will be true.

Example Negative automatic thoughts;

“At first sight I felt what kind of person he was.”

“I feel like people are scratching me.

Negative Automatic Thoughts Worksheet

With this worksheet, you can work on your automatic thoughts on your own. That way, you can become aware of your automatic thoughts and replace them with healthier thoughts.

Remember, your thoughts can change your feelings. Do not forget to write down your emotional changes at the end of this study.

amazing 17 negative automatic thoughts list (ants) and 3 different worksheet 1

PDF Automatic thoughts review worksheet

I will transfer the sample worksheet to you after a few updates. Thus, you will also get practical information on how to fill in the worksheet.

Examples of Negative Automatic Thoughts

I actually can’t do anything.
All men should see me pretty.
I must be very rich.
I must look perfect.
Everyone should talk about me.
I can’t go there.
You can’t trust any people.
All people are monsters.
All spiders are toxic and harmful.

Experts (Therapists) try to change the negative thinking patterns listed above using the cbt techniques. For this they offer alternative perspective to their clients.

How do automatic negative thoughts occur?

Our negative experiences are our beliefs about events affects our thinking process and when we experience the same kind of event, our ‘automatic thoughts’ emerge.

The point is that when we think negatively, we should try to change it. Step by step, we can get rid of the learned helplessness in your brain by transforming negative thought into positive.

7 CBT Techniques To Eliminate Negative Automatic Thoughts

Negative automatic thoughts leads us into depression. Increases the anxiety. Therefore, it is very important to get rid of these thoughts. It is possible to get rid of these thoughts by using CBT techniques. This has been scientifically proven. In most cases, negative automatic thoughts completely disappears.

7 CBT Techniques

Keep a diary :

Cbt is a commonly used technique. It’s a form of psychotherapy that focuses on how a person’s thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes affect their feelings and behaviors. So it is very effective for raising awareness of a person.

amazing 17 negative automatic thoughts list (ants) and 3 different worksheet 3
With CBT techniques you can get rid of dark,negative thoughts and be able to live in the moment !!

Awareness exercises:

Consciousness enables individuals to monitor what is going on, to be aware of the nature and quality of events as they occur, and to perceive their meaning.

Anthony Stevens

Questioning the accuracy of thoughts:

The most important of the cognitive behavioral therapy techniques is to question the accuracy of false thoughts. Different applications, tests and exercises have been developed for this purpose. You can also do this with therapy or yourself.

Relaxation exercises:

It is particularly notable for awareness therapy, the easier it is for a person to think positively about how well he feels.


Observation assignments are important in order to be aware of the wrong thinking. The client can practice the gains in therapy and practice exercises. Assignments can also be written. It is applied very frequently in cbt. So the more successful the assignments are, the greater the success rate.

Self-study with books:

The books prepared in accordance with cognitive behavioral therapy techniques are definitely a very effective way.There are alot of books that can help. However not all of these books are useful so it is necessary to be very careful in selecting a book.

Computer assisted cognitive behavior therapy:

Applications are becoming increasingly widespread in recent years. Computer games designed for young people and children is also effective. These programs include cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. With the development of artificial intelligence every year, the area of ​​influence increases.

Last Updated on January 2, 2021 by Marilyn Walker

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I am studying in Florida about Dialectic Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I'm doing research on Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET), Cognitive psychology, Metacognitive Therapy.

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