Have you ever felt that you are unable to control your mood? . Negative emotions invade you and accompany you throughout the day, without you having any idea why it happens. You want to be at peace, feel good, but you don’t know how to do it. You get frustrated and resign yourself assuming that this is how you are, that this is your natural tendency.
You have most likely experienced these types of sensations throughout your life. This only confirms your suspicions: you are like that and there is nothing to do. Let me tell you that the key to your state of mind lies within you: what you feel is a direct consequence of what you think. And, although it is hard to believe right now, you are the owner of your thoughts.
The relationship between thoughts and mood
There is a great deal of empirical evidence that confirms that our thoughts are closely related to our emotions. We can easily see in our daily life how we assume news differently depending on our mood.
If our friend is late for the appointment on a day when we are in excellent spirits, this will not be a big problem. On the other hand, when we are in a negative emotional state, the slightest setback triggers a cascade of catastrophic thoughts.
Our emotions influence the thoughts we have, but the relationship is two-way: our cognitions directly affect our emotional state. It is this aspect that can be most useful in practice. If we want to experience peace, happiness and fulfillment, we have to be concerned with what we think.
You feel what you think
Let’s take an example: we ask a co-worker if he wants to have a coffee when he leaves work and he says he can’t. We may think that you have errands to run, that you have to take care of your children, or that you have some other commitment. In this case we will feel calm and continue with our day. On the other hand, we may think that his answer was an excuse and he doesn’t really want to be with us because he doesn’t like us. This thought process will lead us to feel ashamed, humiliated and, surely, angry.
Let’s put ourselves in a more extreme case: our partner decides to end the relationship with us. We can think that it is a catastrophic, horrible situation, that we are not attractive, valid or interesting enough. That we will never experience love again. This will provoke negative emotions of anguish, anger and despair.
We can also think that love is ending and this has no relation to our personal worth. That it has been a fortune to have experienced such a beautiful relationship and that we can learn a lot from this situation. Obviously we will feel sadness for the loss, but it will be less intense and lasting. We will also feel confident, secure and able to move on.
Educate your mind to change your mood
Now that the influence of thoughts is clear, the question is: how do I control them? I have had negative cognitions all my life and I am not able to get rid of them. Well, thinking is a habit. Since childhood, your brain has become used to experiencing negative thoughts and the associated brain connections have been strengthened. In this way, it is much easier for them to be activated automatically in any situation.
You have to take control and combat these old patterns. Start by being aware of your mental processes: identify in each moment what you are thinking so that you can detect negative content. When we live as automatons, we are not aware of our own inner process.
Once you detect the negative thought, stop it and replace it with an alternative, more positive and functional one. Also, start giving yourself messages of gratitude, motivation, and power. Create an internal dialogue with which you remind yourself of all the good that you have in yourself, in your life and in your future.
Do these activities with constancy and perseverance: they are re-educating your mind, you are accustoming it to a new way of interpreting reality. Over time, the connections associated with positive thoughts will strengthen and the previous ones will weaken. One day, when you least expect it, you will find yourself reacting in a naturally positive way. You will find yourself experiencing the inner peace you have always sought.
Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective, flexible and time-limited type of psychological intervention. Find out what it is in this article.