Healing Solutions For You - Alternative and Integrative Healing Practices

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Thoughts and Feelings: What’s the Difference?

Through my work as a flower essence therapist I have noticed how often emotions and thoughts are confused. Certainly, if one doesn’t understand the difference they may be unsure how to surmount issues, how to change their thoughts or believe they are incapable to change how they feel. Our basic emotions are: happiness, sadness, love, anger, jealousy, fear. It is normal and healthy for humans to experience all these emotions at times. Compare these two statements. “I feel sad” and “I feel like no one loves me.” The first expresses an emotion but the second is a thought not an emotion although sadness is the emotion behind it. Emotions are the result of our thoughts. They are reactions. A common misperception is that emotions are spontaneous and are not under our control. If emotions were not under our control then we would all experience the same emotion in the same situation. Take getting cut off on the highway. Bob gets scared, Suzy gets mad and Brian gets roadrage even though they were all in the same car. Situations can be a catalyst but it is us who decide how to react. The suffering is within our own minds. It is our thoughts, thought patterns and issues that cause us pain and hold us back. Our emotions are just the symptom. Yogis and Buddhist monks can train themselves to not feel emotional pain without suppressing their emotions. They can still feel compassion for someone in a terrible situation yet not feel pain for having witnessed the situation. They can look at a very scary thing such a cobra in the eye and not be afraid of it. They can be taunted and not feel angry. They achieve this through meditation, self-observation and thought/behavior modification (ie emotional/spiritual growth). This proves that the mind is the maker of our joys and our sorrows. As Aristotle put it, “Happiness depends upon ourselves.”

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