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Learning the Connection between Thoughts and Feelings

Studies have shown that the thoughts we have about ourselves cause us to experience certain feelings.

We all have automatic thoughts which pop up into our mind; sometimes these may be negative and unhelpful such as I am useless, not worthy, ugly and so on.  These thoughts then cause feelings such as anxiety or depression. 

Are your thoughts producing the feelings you want to have?   In stressful situations it is easy for us to think negatively.  By listening to your inner voice you can begin to write down the thoughts you are experiencing and also the feelings that go along with these thoughts. Do this for both positive and negative thoughts.

Create a 5 column row on a sheet of paper.   In column one write the heading 'event';  column 2  'positive thought'; column 3   'emotion';  column 4  'negative thought'; column 5  'emotion'. 

Now chose a time each day to write down the events which have occurred.  Begin by putting in the event in column 1 e.g. my partner made me a chocolate and banana crepe for breakfast, the bus driver smiled at me, I awoke with a headache, the bus driver frowned at me.  Then in column 2 write down the thought, either positive or negative, which this event caused e.g. I am loved, I am acknowledged, I am always ill, people don't like me. Then write down the emotion which you experienced e.g. energised, happy, depressed or anxious.  This will allow you to begin to see and understand the relationships between events, inner thoughts and emotions.  

(Beck. 1979 Cognitive Therapy of Depression)

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