Related to our feelings are our thoughts, and these too can be so fleeting we don’t even realize what they are. Again, we can be deeply affected by our underlying beliefs and thoughts, and yet they can work outside of our awareness and control.
Identifying Your Thoughts
It is not external events that create your feelings, but rather what you think about what happened. When someone cuts you off in traffic, you could see it as an insult, or as the result of the person not paying attention. Unreasonable thoughts lead to unnecessarily bad feelings.
It helps to notice what you are thinking when you feel bored, sad, guilty, or angry. At first this may be difficult to notice, so just listen to your own thoughts and write down whatever ones you catch. You’ll get better at it over time.
Then examine them. Are they true? Rational? At the very least, question your thoughts and loosen your grip on them as being valid. Learn to dispute them. Your heart will thank you for it.
Watch this video on the link between thoughts and feelings, at Actualized.org
So, if what’s going on in your head is creating unsettling emotions, how can you change this? How can you change your thinking so that you feel peaceful and happy, energized and focused? How can you use your creative and critical thinking capacity to generate positive emotions and accomplish your goals in life?
Your mind is flexible; you can decide to think differently. Learn from the masters, study positive thinking. Try this exercise: Next time you experience anger or frustration, identify the thought behind it. Then try to think the opposite. Try to imagine being someone else who would have a completely different reaction to the situation.
It might seem difficult at first, but keep trying to create new ways of thinking and eventually you will succeed.
Learn More Here
- Simple graphic above showing how thoughts make feelings, at TherapistAid.com
- 10 common thinking mistakes we make, by David Burns, MD