Notable philosophers and writers over the years have alluded to the importance of thinking. And, those philosophers have come to the conclusion: whenever we think, we make choices.
In the first century AD, Epictetus wrote: “Men are disturbed not by things, but the views which they take of them”. Good old Epictetus also put forward the notion: “The chief concern of a wise and good man is his own reason”.
No doubt when Epictetus said this he was referring to wise and good women too! Even Shakespeare stuck his oar in when he wrote in Hamlet: ‘There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so’.
The human mind is such a powerful medium; what we think controls our feelings which in turn affects our behaviour. Many people, especially those suffering mental distress, can tell you that ‘simply thinking positive thoughts’ is not at all simple.
The fact is, if we do just think positive thoughts when we are having strong emotions, we could easily end up missing important cues that something is wrong.
The other side of the coin is that to only focus on negative thoughts could be more harmful and ultimately self-defeating.
Over the years I’ve come to realise, events by themselves have no emotional content. It’s how we perceive and interpret those events that affects our emotions.
In other words: How we think about something can control how we feel and how we feel can ultimately affect how we end up dealing with that event.
Think about it.