WHAT I THINK IS . . .
Okay, now I've got it, "Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them". by the roman slave (who earned his freedom) Epictetus.
Yes, the idea that thoughts create our lives has indeed been around along time. Is it old fashioned or is there something to it? If we accept for a moment that language truly is what sets us apart from the other creatures of our planet (just ask James Franco and his new movie), then we can begin to see our concept of the "mind" differs from the brain.
The brain is a physical organ while , well where is the mind? Exactly. We create the mind through our language and so create ourselves in it. We can live in our minds; dwelling in the past or the future, rather than the present moment--the only thing that actually exists. As each moment moves into the once-lived past and from the imagined future.
LET'S GET PRACTICAL
We perceive whats around us through our physical senses. Within the organ called our brain, we process the massive number of impulses via our nerve cells to create what we call reality. Therefore we create what we feel and experience. As Dr. David Burns is in the habit of saying, you can change what you feel, by changing how you think".
The heart of Cognitive Therapy is exactly that. By closely examining our habit of interpreting our sensations, we can begin to make decisions about how rational or distorted they've become. We are creatures of habit and tend to tell ourselves the same things over and over.
If how we've gotten into the habit of explaining to ourselves what is happening around us is helpful, then how we feel is fine. If however we've become to be destructive or defeating in out thoughts, then our feelings are sure to follow. Feeling depressed or anxious will not tend to lead us to behavior that's in our best interest.
WHAT TO DO?
The solution is that we can begin to be aware of and then challenge (and change) what we think. In the process, we change how we feel and so our behavior begins to move in more productive directions. Getting a handle on our thought is the first step in understanding our feelings. Which are the engine that drives our behaviors.
While it's possible to have complications that make this a tricky process, and talking to your physician if you're depressed or anxious is always the right thing to do; understanding that you can change your thoughts which impact your feelings is as empowering as it is age-old wisdom.
When has your mind trapped you into acting on unhelpful thoughts? Can you be aware of your thoughts without having to act on them?