So many times we are sitting on the back end of a decision wondering how we got there. Sometimes it is a pretty benign choice like eating that cheeseburger when you swore you would eat better. Other times those decisions have pretty big consequences, perhaps flirting with a married coworker.
To understand how our thoughts affect our lives we must first understand the interconnection between the various aspects of ourselves. These aspects are compartmentalized into:
Our Thoughts are comprised of information that our brain takes in and sends to our mind. Our mind acts as the gatekeeper of the computed information. It determines which information is relevant and thus what will become our mental focus. Those thoughts can very easily become beliefs that can affect our feelings in positive or negative ways.
Let’s take the cheeseburger example. Maybe the thought was simply, “I am hungry”, or maybe the thought is “I have had such a hard day, I deserve a treat”
Feelings are the emotional response to thoughts and behaviors. They are indicators of our connection to a situation. They stem from our experiences and our perspectives…aka thoughts.
This is where things can get tricky, we can take a simple thought “I am hungry” and add our own emotional response to it, often we can combine emotions from other things happening that day onto thoughts that have nothing to do with it. “I am hungry” can have the stress of the day tacked on, or anger from a fight, or sadness from bad news.
Behaviors are the actions generated from our thoughts and feelings. The way we behave in response to something is because our thoughts persuade us it is the best decision to make at that time.
So if you’re hungry, and you’re feeling sad and stressed etc, you may decide a cheeseburger is the best idea to cover both the thought and the feeling.
As you can see, although the three categorical aspects are distinguishable from each other they are highly interconnected.
So when we are contemplating the impact of our thoughts we can see that they strongly affect the entirety of our lives. They provoke our emotions, as well as, our behavioral responses. Our views and perceptions alter how we will feel and thus how we will respond to a situation. Just as every journey is made of many single steps each individual response makes up the life we build.
So if you find yourself wishing you responded differently to most things start taking note of your thoughts. What is your internal dialogue? How are you viewing the situation and, better yet, the people involved…including yourself?
This process creates awareness and once this happens you are then able to determine if the thoughts are ones you want to begin changing.
In my next blog I’ll be discussing how we can switch from
Thus, changing the impact our thoughts have on our lives to a way in which we desire.