Thousands of thoughts cross our minds every moment of the day. They just float through our minds like clouds float through the sky. We create thoughts as a result of a situation we face, depending upon our beliefs. Beliefs result from multiple experiences, which makes us think a certain way about people and situations. Thoughts can be positive, neutral, or negative. Negative thoughts have a high potential to affect our bodies. Is there any relationship between the thoughts we create and the emotions we feel? Yes! they are very closely related.
What are emotions?
Emotions are the responses of our body to the thoughts crossing our minds. For example, a thought crosses your mind that you have an exam one week from today. This thought can trigger any of the following emotions:
- Fear: If you are not thoroughly prepared for the exam
- Confidence: If you know you will give it your best shot
- Planning: If you decide to revise all the concepts in the coming week so that you do well in the exam
You observe from the previous example that thoughts and emotions are closely linked. When we hold on to a thought, it triggers emotions that are based on our previous experience of a similar situation. It is these emotions that are actually our body’s response to thoughts.
Let us understand with the help of an example. Let us suppose you are carrying something delicate and drop it by mistake. The first time it happens, you do not associate a belief with the event. It triggers feelings such as remorse for breaking something precious. This is a feeling related to the event that occurred. The next time, however, if you are told to carry something delicate, your previous stored memory will create a thought, “Will I be able to carry it safely?” or “I am bad at handling delicate things”. These negative thoughts might affect the outcome of the current situation. If you break it again, you will strengthen your perception about not handling delicate stuff.
In the previous example, we saw how a previous association between carrying something delicate and breaking it makes us indulge in negative self-talk that is based on our perception of ourselves. What you say to yourself with a belief is self-talk. You might have observed commonly that whenever anything happens, we either blame ourselves or someone else for the situation. This happens since it’s easier than analyzing the event in question and trying to find how you could have done better.
Please read my previous post on the topics of emotional intelligence. Some additional resources that will help you delve deeper into understanding thoughts and emotions:
In the next post, I will discuss how negative self-talk affects the body and some ways to stop the vicious cycle.