Thoughts and Feelings: What’s the Difference? And, Why does it matter?
Our thoughts and feelings are commonly spoken of as one in the same. The automatic nature of our thought patterns trip us right into feeling, and then behaving in a chain reaction – like fashion.
For example, I’ll ask someone, “what is the negative thought you have about yourself in relation to that situation you are talking about?” The person often replies, “well, I’m really frustrated and just want to forget about it.” I reply, “you are frustrated. That’s a feeling. What’s the thought about yourself that goes with that feeling?” The person responds, “I’m an idiot for getting caught up in this situation again.”
Thought: I’m an idiot.
Feeling: I feel frustrated.
Behavior: I want to forget about it – avoid it.
Thoughts and feelings get all tangled up together like the messy ball of yarn entangling these Emotional Sherpas.
Uncoupling or untangling thoughts from feelings
is the first step toward
thinking and feeling at the same time.
When we challenge our thoughts and change up our stories, we can then choose how to respond, which in turn offers us options as to how we behave.
In other words, stopping the Thought – Feeling – Behavior chain reaction of reaction.
Responding instead of reacting offers us choices. And, choices empower us to make our yes a yes, and our no, a no.
In the next couple of blogs, I’ll draw this concept out in more detail.
Until then, when you feel an emotion, try to identify any negative thoughts you might have about yourself in relation to the emotion. And, as you come to realize how your thought patterns influence your feelings, and how your feelings cause you to react, you can choose to DERAIL the thought train track pattern. We can choose how we behave instead of following in a chain reaction – like fashion.
I hope this entices you to head down a new track. Let me know. Happy trails today, Allison