There are 2 kinds of people in this world.
There is the one kind of people that don’t care that the food on their plate touches. Heck, they may even mix their food together. Potatoes, gravy, beef, salad, and corn on one forkful.
Then there’s the kind that doesn’t let the different foods on their plate touch- the peas can’t touch the salad, potatoes can’t touch the carrots, and so on. These people spend most of their “chewing time” using their utensils to neatly separate their food into little parcels of real estate occupied by one food item only. They may even hunt for that rogue pea that snuck its way past the invisible boundary onto the corn property, and slide it back into its “proper” place on their plate.
Nice. Neat. Separate. Organized. Black and white.
I used to be the latter when it comes to my mental food. In order to digest life, I used to need (well…the need is still there, but it’s just not as strong) to organize, categorize, and separate everything and put it in its proper place as either good or bad, before or after, this or that, etc. I used to need to put things in order of what comes first, then second. I wanted it organized. Neat. Black and white.
But it turns out life isn't so easy to categorize and the order of events isn’t always clear, like the proverbial chicken and egg. Things are not black and white.
My biggest ‘chicken-egg dilemma’ was the chronological order of thoughts and emotions. What comes first?! Do thoughts create emotion? Or do emotions create thoughts?
My little mind, with its rigid black-and-white thinking, needed to have an answer.
I’d have this mental tug-of-war: “Emotions first, then corresponding thoughts. No, thoughts first, then corresponding emotions.” Back and forth.
Here’s the truth: it’s both.
Let’s say something happened that embarrassed you. When you feel embarrassed, you will have corresponding thoughts such as “I’m an idiot.” “I don’t fit in anywhere.” Emotion first, thoughts second.
But let’s say that you had the thought, “What if I lose this really good thing I have?” You will have the corresponding emotions of fear or worry. Thought first, emotions second.
That being said, research shows that emotions have a stronger influence on thoughts than thoughts do on emotions.
Regardless, emotions create thoughts, and thoughts create emotions. They are fused. It’s not black and white; it’s grey.
Why is this important to know?
It means that if you change your thinking, you also change your emotion. And if you change your emotion, you also change your thinking.
It means that if you want to feel better, you must regulate the way you feel AND think. And if you want to think better, you must regulate the way you think AND feel.
It means that as nice as it would be to have your peas and carrots separated and organized, it’s just not possible. Like a lot of things in life, this meal is served as a casserole.
But just because emotions and thoughts are fused, that doesn’t mean that they are impossible to regulate! If you’d like to feel happier than you do, and/or you’d like to think more positive than you do, we can help you get there! Start with a free 30-minute consultation with us. Book it now! We can’t wait to help you. :)
Here’s to conquering stress.
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