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TOPIC TITLE: Power of thoughts
Created On 4/6/09 11:54 AM
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lookin'up
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4/6/09 11:54 AM
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I recently started reading a book called “Feeling Good”. It’s all about changing the way we think…Now first I’m going to state the facts and then I’m going to challenge it. So here goes. Its theme is that all our moods and feelings are created by our thoughts. You can take any remark, comment, event or occurrence and interpret it in a myriad of ways. And based on the way we interpreted it, that’s how we will feel. In other words, we chose at all times, whether consciously or not, how we will feel at any given moment. We can either chose thoughts that make us feel depressed, anxious, worried, fearful…or we can chose thoughts that make us feel happy, confident…

Now I’m going to challenge the idea that all of one’s feelings and emotions are based on what they are thinking at any given moment. 1. I have less negative thoughts today then, say, two or five years ago when I felt pretty good. Yet, today, I often feel depressed, anxious, fearful, lethargic - just to name a few. 2. Doesn’t achievement, success or acquisitions make one happy not because we chose to be happy, but because these things naturally makes us happy? 3. What about our actions? Doesn’t doing something good count for something? I want to clarify that I don't discount the idea that thoughts create our emotions to some degree, I'm just saying that I feel that there are other factors that play a role in the way we feel (like actions, acquisitions, achievements and success).

Any comment on the topic will be greatly appreciated.
 
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gad
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4/6/09 1:16 PM
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I agree that actions (your third point) influence our feelings. For example, when you help someone else, you feel good that you were able to help this person.

As for your second point, that success etc. makes us naturally happy, I think that one could respond: yes and no.
Success definitely has an impact. But someone who is successful can feel stressed and nervous, worried if the success will continue etc. And someone who does not have success can feel happy, confident that all is for the best, and the G-d will help in the future.

As for your first point, that you feel less negative thoughts now, yet you are more depressed etc. It could be that the depression etc is caused by other factors such as chemical imbalance etc. It could be that you have less negative thoughts now, but the quality (that is, the intensity and stress level) of the negative thoughts now may be more intense.

I think that in general there are many factors involved in influencing one's mood. And as I wrote above, a number of the points which you mention seem valid. But I think that in general, a positive attitude can definitely have a positive impact.
 
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