Slow down the ANTs or do slow talk on something different?


I am not sure I understood what I should do when I catch negative thoughts. Should I concentrate on them and slow them down, or think of something different in slow talk?

Also, do you recommend slow thinking (talking to myself)while being in social situations that cause anxiety? I found it has a somewhat calming effect, but at the same time, I feel it is more difficult to connect with the others.


Hello Stefanos,

You’ve posted this in Session 2, so I will assume you’re asking this question while you are doing Session 2.

Session 2 covers Slow Talk and Slow Thinking. That’s what you are practicing this week - slowing down, calming down. Session 3 starts ANTs stoppage. It’s not explicitly stated in Session 2 to start catching ANTs. That’s in Session 3.

You might say, then, still what should I be doing now, or should I applying something now because I feel ready for it. That’s fair enough.

My suggestion is to err on the side of going gradually, step by step. Don’t rush it. I see it here in the groups, I see it here on the posts - people going through the therapy, even towards the end, but they aren’t applying any of the strategies enough, even the early ones. In fairness, this is the gradual nature of CBT, anyway. The brain will adjust in time, but it will adjust if we do this. So, we won’t feel like we’re always ready to keep going, session by session. That’s understandable. No pressure there. On the flipside, don’t underestimate focusing on the session where you are now. Don’t underestimate a week spent practicing Slow Talk. The whole program is built on being able to slow ourselves down - both in action and in thinking. We need to slow down to allow ourselves the possibility of getting in touch with more and more rationality - even necessary for catching ANTs.

If you’re interested, the first step in how to treat ANTs is in Session 3, handout 1: “Catch, Label, and Tell Your Brain the Truth”. This series of actions is then followed by what is described in the next handout of that section. You might want to look at it, but I suggest still spending a week on Session 2 followed by a week on Session 3.

I answer for anyone reading, Stefanos. Not just to address you specifically. People may say, well this is quite simple. Anyone would know this stuff! Right? Well, sure. In some ways it’s simple. But we aren’t, or haven’t been doing these simple habits for all our lives up to now. What is probably simple for us at this point is doing more of the opposite to Slow Talk, and the opposite to stopping/catching/labeling ANTs. So we practice “simple”. It’s not simple for us now, but with practice it will become more automatic - simple.

Good luck to you, Stefanos. Glad to have you here.


Thank you Mateo for your detailed and fast response. I am also glad to be here, together with many people facing the same or similar problems like me, and a support group ready to help me out.

From what I understand, while being in Session 2, I should rather use slow talk as a distraction, to distract my thinking from thoughts that cause anxiety. For example, when I catch myself thinking of something going wrong, I try to put this thoughts aside, say to myself “I don’t need this stress now” and use slow talk to think about other things. Am I correct in that assumption?


I think your assumption is fine. You’re getting into Session 3 strategies of ANTs stoppage, but okay! Fine with me.

For me, I wouldn’t define Slow Talk as a distraction activity. It’s a lot more than that, and not specifically a distraction. But if you find it useful as a distraction, great! Use it. I checked back on my own notes from the audio for Session 2, not my handout notes, and I don’t see so much the emphasis on ANTs stoppage here, or on using Slow Talk in an ANTs stoppage or distraction strategy. I see more the emphasis on using Slow Talk to calm down so that you can feel more in control since Slow Talk will help us cut down on adrenaline and cortisol. We need that foundation before going into more therapy. We can’t be all hyped up on adrenaline, or we hope not to be, while doing therapy. And from the start we can try applying Slow Talk to situations in real life (assuming we are ready and practicing this at home too). Here are some of my notes from Session 2 which highlight the focus of Slow Talk now, for me, at this point:

First, we need a way of slowing ourselves down.

Our first cognitive strategy today – Slow Talk / Calm Talk. By calming yourself down and talking a little bit more slowly, you prevent adrenaline from speeding up your body.

I will use slow talk to help me stop (begin) the excessive flow of adrenaline.

When anxiety hits me, I will remember to relax, take it easy, loosen my muscles, and not speed up.

Using slow talk, I will feel more in control, more organized, more focused on the task in front of me and more relaxed about it all.

The more you practice slow talk, the more control you’ll have over your thoughts, so the easier to do the therapy coming up.

That’s what I get from Session 2. What you are getting from Session 2 is also good. :+1:


Concentrate on the content ! And repeat !

  1. change the tone: make it a Donald Duck voice, or another comic person !
  2. make the thoughts softer and sloo-ower.
  3. Say " Shut the fuck up ! " to the thoughts. ( inside )


Sorry, first breath 3 times !


Thank you Mateo, I think I have a better understanding now of Session 2 material

Timi2shy I will certainly try that out!