As I’ve already mentioned in other posts: thoughts cause feelings and this is the basis of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
All the techniques that have been developed in CBT over many years come from this simple premise: emotions that you feel are preceded and caused by a thought — be it a positive thought or a negative thought.
Events alone have no emotional content. It’s how we interpret an event that causes the emotions.
A = Event: You get in your car to go to work and it won’t start.
B = Thought: You interpret the event by saying to yourself: “Oh no, I’ve got a flat battery, I’m stuck and I’m going to be late”.
C = Feeling: You feel down in the mouth and anxious about the prospect of getting to work late.
D = Behaviour: you may well stomp about, ranting and raving, blaming everyone around you.
The event causes the ‘thought’ which causes the ‘feeling’ which results in a particular — often undesirable —‘behaviour’.
Applying CBT to the situation by changing the meaning you attach to that thought will change the way you feel about the situation, which in turn will change your behaviour.
If you had thought: “my wife has left the car lights on overnight”, you would probably have felt angry and you may well look and act aggressively or in an anti social manner.
But, if you had thought: “I’ll have a cup of coffee while I wait for my mate to turn up with some jump leads”, at most, I would guess, that you would have felt a mild annoyance whilst preparing your cup of coffee.
Managing automatic thoughts is a key part to maintaining good metal health.
Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people. ~ Carl Jung