I'm not sure I completely follow your train of thought. But how to stop ANTs, I feel we go back to stopping them by saying something to ourselves, perhaps outloud, then using conditional rational statements, then finding a distraction - which for me means at this point letting it go and moving on with my day. An ANT can be big or it can be subtle. I think we often might get into places where we are asking ourselves is this an ANT? Does this qualify as an ANT? If you're even asking yourself this, then I would argue that yes, maybe it is. So use the same strategies. I found in myself that after therapy, years later even, if thoughts pop up that could be ANTs, since I have such a strong social anxiety past - I can or could always relate that to SA, I could let that thought become worrisome. As in, why now, why still? But from another perspective, a negative thought for a person who has never had social anxiety is also a natural phenomenon. People feel stressed, feel up, down, optimistic one day and less optimistic another. People face the same situations which naturally cause anxiety for all people - so an ANT for us and our world, is a natural thing that people have anyway. It's a thought. So I try putting that into persepctive and just not fighting it. Perhaps my thinking more naturally goes into conditional rational thinking now, but I can dwell on things. And at that point I find some way out by just accepting that it's natural. I'm not always using a distraction at this point. But the simple awareness of that thought being there and the fact that it's okay and that I don't need to feed into the feeling of what that thought can possibly do, ... this way helps me stop the resistance, stop the fighting against those thoughts, and it clips off the rest of the rumination trail. Allowing myself to be aware of it and then not choosing to follow. But I don't think I necessarily go through as many of those steps anymore. The key becomes not resisting. Earlier in therapy I definitely needed for myself to go through the steps outlined in the therapy. I needed to say outloud the rational statements and tell myself I was choosing to think in a new way and then more manually looking for that distraction. I needed to be practicing those conditionals more which I didn't fully feel as a belief then. This process, though, is an accumulation of a lot of the different parts of therapy - being able to be more rational, self acceptance, deserving statements - it all adds up there in hopefully a better way to deal with myself compassionately while not denying that stresses are also natural.
What do you others say on this topic? I'm not sure I'm helping with my convoluted thoughts on this.