EVER dipped into the biscuit tin then decided youve ruined your diet so you may as well eat the lot? Or thought that because you didnt get a promotion this year, youre destined for failure in your career? Youre not alone. Even the most optimistic person is not immune to negative thoughts, but for some, the destructive chatter of self-doubt can be relentless. Psychologists now believe that just as feeling embarrassed can cause a physical reaction (blushing) so self-destructive thoughts can lead to ill-health, weight-gain, poor skin and misery. Psychiatrist Dr Daniel Amen has spent a lifetime studying how thoughts influence our appearance, energy and diet success. His studies have revealed that by flipping negative thoughts to positive, we can transform our lives for the better. In his new book Change Your Brain, Change Your Body, Dr Amen identifies the infuriatingly common scourge: the ANT (Automatic Negative Thought), which he describes as 'the little voices that pop into your head and tell you youre not good enough, not thin enough, a rubbish daughter, mother, worker. A few ANTS, he says, can be managed. But he warns to watch out for ANT infestations - when thousands of negative thoughts start to take over. The answer, he says, lies in simple ANT-eater techniques that stop the bugs in their tracks, ensuring they never return. 'Your brain is a powerful organ, he says. 'If you see yourself as fat, old, wrinkled or forgetful, you boost production of the stress hormone which affects your health, your weight and your mind. 'Negative thoughts can make negative things happen. In the never-ending battles, redemption lies in building your own arsenal of ANT-eater solutions. 'Develop an ANT-eater in your brain that can eat up all the negative thoughts that come into your head. Whenever you feel mad, sad or frustrated, write down your ANT, then write down what your ANT-eater would say to that ANT to kill it. Make a pact with yourself to not listen to your ANTS. If you do this, your thoughts will translate into actions and those actions will cause your body to transform into the body youve always wanted. Your body follows your mind. It has no choice. ANT: All or nothing This is the black-and-white thinking that leads you to believe everything is either all good or all bad. Its the warped logic that dictates that if you miss one day at the gym you therefore have no self-discipline and might as well give up the whole idea of exercise completely. ANT-eater: Force yourself to acknowledge that one slip-up doesnt mean you should give up. If you skip the gym one day, make sure you go the next. ANT: Using 'always, 'never, 'every time or 'everyone If you find yourself saying 'I will never lose weight you are acting as if you have no control over your actions. ANT-eater: Never say never - put a ban on over-generalised words ANT: Focusing on negatives If you find yourself dwelling on negatives at the expense of positives youll be more inclined to give up than to persist. ANT-eater: Try to put a positive spin on anything you can to raise your mood. Daily Mail