Key to our success in controlling emotions is… Well, let me ask you a question. Do you remember what lies at the core of all conscious human functioning (behavior) and is the instigator of many of our lightning-fast reactions as well? It’s our thinking! Now add to that this fact: It is not only our rational thoughts that shape us, but it is also our feelings that drive our reactions to all that is happening to us. Perhaps it is more our emotional reactions that shape us than our rational thinking. Which would you think is the more frequent source of your reactions?
We Are Emotional At the Core
We are at the core emotional creatures — a fact that can be easily proved. When we stop acting out of our emotions and begin to think rationally, we actually switch from feeling things to thinking about them. As a result, we often feel more in control of who we are. Many other changes also take place in our mental world, but this will suffice for now as we focus on where we must focus to make significant positive change: our thinking.
Our Thinking Shapes Our Beliefs and Values
We’ll add another fact. The thinking and feeling we have done in the past have contributed to shaping our beliefs and values. Beliefs and values shape most of our thinking and our emotional reactions. We have to admit this, even though we like to think we are always calm, rational, intelligent thinkers. The beliefs and values we hold set our mental stage for all our in-the-moment actions. We will have to reshape some of them if we want to control emotions.
Reshaping Ourselves (and Our Emotional Reactions) In Our Minds
We actually shape our inner drives and urges (our temperament) by developing our strengths (positive development) or, unfortunately, turning them into our weaknesses (negative development). We do this by nonuse, overuse, or misuse of our strengths. As a result, we cast ourselves in the mold of our thoughts. Sometimes, that’s good, and sometimes, the deadly opposite. Therefore, it is in our minds that we must begin the task of reshaping ourselves. Our thoughts can make or destroy our true persona and our happiness. Have we developed them in a positive and healthy way, or negatively to damage our peace and calm and in the process, damaged others, too?
Our reactions to what happens to us can be so fast that we have no time to think before we fire our cannons. As an afterthought, we think of why we reacted in the way we did. So, for this week’s practice, examine how you are thinking from one moment to the next. If you are a parent, I hope you are thinking “there is a lot here to teach my child.” If you are not in the parenting business, there still is a lot to teach yourself.
Practice with me this week. Become very familiar with what you choose to feel, think, and do. Ask yourself three questions:
- Are my thoughts and feelings positive or negative?
- Am I thinking straight or crooked?
- What are the consequences of my thinking and feelings?
Become more familiar with how you think and feel.
Next: We will continue to reshape our thoughts to become the best we can be.
Here’s a resource, Intelligently Emotional, that will provide help to you in gaining a better self-understanding as well as a better understanding of how each of us is wired a little differently when it comes to our emotions. But there are patterns in this wondrously created world of wonderfully made humans and identifying those patterns will help us immensely. (If you are a subscriber, you can use the promo code provided in our weekly updates to receive a 15% discount when you purchase the book from the link above).
The Way to Have a Healthy Mental System
Weekly Help for Your Mind/Brain
This weekly addition to my articles will provide practical guidance for the application of commonly known facts about brain health.
We wonder at times whether we have (or some other person has) a brain. Do not worry. We all do. But few of us know how to keep our brain at its best, especially as we age.
Therefore, I will be including a short segment in each of my articles to deal with maintaining our mental health or what is commonly known as brain health.
Watch weekly for facts and down-to-earth, practical help for keeping your mental system healthy. None of us can afford to ignore this!