From our thoughts depends what we feel and what we do. Is it possible to know the reasons why some situations make us think badly and hence make us sick? What is behind these thoughts?
Many people live their emotions or behave behaving without being aware of why they are present. The emotional states can thus be experienced as mysterious, sudden, and unexplained. Which in many cases tends to make them even worse than they already are. When a person experiences a sudden anxiety, in addition to having to deal with the unpleasantness of that emotion, he finds himself confronted with an emotional event that seems to have emerged from nothing, and this increases the feeling of fear and uncertainty.
Some of the actions we make are also often dealt with almost automatically. We think about getting a cigarette: What’s behind it? Why do we do it? Often we are by no means aware of it, at most, we limit ourselves to saying that we are responding to an internal “feeling”.
In anxiety disorders, it is very common to use mechanisms of evasion and escape: if there is something I fear, avoid it; if I’m already in the middle, I’m leaving. Why do we do it? If we think about it, we find it very easy to implement these behaviors simply because we fear what might happen if we tackle the situation. What we fear, therefore, has a fundamental role in dictating this kind of action. As a result, what we do (and what we feel) depends on how we evaluate the situation as being more or less dangerous or neutral.
A hypothetical university student might experience a considerable degree of anxiety when he is called upon to undergo an exam while a colleague might approach the professor whistling with nonchalance. What’s the difference between the two? The first, most likely, assessed the situation as somewhat “dangerous”, while the second no. Why is the situation considered “dangerous”?
Trying to imagine what may have happened in the mind of the first student, but we could find an automatic thought of the kind: “I’m not prepared enough, I cannot answer, and I’ll make a glutton” (usually these thoughts are much more colorful) maybe there was also a picture of the other reviewers laughing at him. However, this does not tell us much about why this knowledge came to mind.
Going to look at these thoughts a little bit more in detail, perhaps you find that for our friend to “make a bumblebee” would be just terrible because for him it would mean that, unlike the others, it is not able to support a situation of exam. What would imply you would not be able to support an exam situation? It would be proof of the idea that the student has to be unable to do anything, to be a failure, to be a loser.
The boy is in the dark of all this, barely able to feel some fleeting superficial thought (if he pays enough attention) and what he feels in that situation is just “strife.” What, then, is our friend? It has almost reached its turn, anxiety continues to grow, and continues to repeat, “I cannot do it!” Then, silent, puts the books in his backpack, gets up and goes home.
The exam did not give it (and it will be bad for that), but do you want to put this with the risk of being faced with a failure and with all that it would achieve?
The way we evaluate situations is largely “unconscious”, so it is not something that is done with purpose. Therefore a predominantly automatic mechanism, with the content of the evaluation that will reflect some of our beliefs about who we are, who are the others and the world around us. It is not easy to be able to grasp the essence behind our ways of evaluating our inner and outer reality, but some more superficial thoughts (and therefore easier to observe) can give us important clues as to why we think in certain ways.
Often enough effort and attention to capture those short sentences (or images, thought can also be expressed in the form of visual representations) that pass us by the head a moment before experiencing a certain emotion. Some people are more likely to be able to pick up these automated thoughts , others need more training to “photograph” the fastest impressions that trigger emotional reactions, but in any case you can catch these quick clues.
From superficial thoughts, then, it is possible to go back and forth, to what are termed “basic beliefs”. That is, those conceptualizations about ourselves, others, and the world that we are behind all our lives (e.g. “I’m a loser, I’m worth nothing, I’m wrong”), and they have had a certain degree of influence over our way of thinking, feeling and acting.
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