Saturday, 9 March 2013

Emotions are blunt instruments

A negative response to Parkinson’s disease or a stammer may be appropriate in a given situation. However, the problem with negative emotions is you tend to get stuck in the negative until it is all you see; indeed, you may even begin to crave the emotion. Also, emotions are not subtle interpreters of a situation; they are blunt instruments when finer tools may be able to build a more complete picture of a situation. In addition, emotions are not permanent; they pass in and out of consciousness. Therefore, just because you feel an emotion, doesn’t make it true.

Thoughts and feelings form a reciprocal relationship; emotions generate thoughts and thoughts trigger emotions. Therefore, thinking negatively generates a spiral into negative emotion and more negative thoughts.

It follows that negative emotion can be reinforced by negative thought or changed by positive thought. For example, thinking, “I can’t do that because of my Parkinson’s (or my stammer)” generates a negative emotion, which supports the negative thought. On the other hand, thinking, “I will give it a go” creates a positive feeling. This reforming of emotion by thought gives us the opportunity to steer ourselves through rough, negative seas until we reach calmer waters.

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