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thoughts, feelings and behavior

May 23, 2011

Someone really awesome introduced me to the thoughts, feelings and behavior theory. Have you heard of that? It’s the theory that our thoughts create our feelings which in turn influence our behaviors therefore reinforcing our thoughts. It is a cycle that we can (and have) all been caught in.

This can work for or against you. Let’s start with the positive example: You look the mirror and your thought is I look really pretty today. This makes you feel good about yourself and the behavior is you put a little extra effort into your appearance that day. That reinforces the thought that you look pretty. See?

But it can also work against you. Let’s use the same example but change the thought. You look in the mirror and your thought is I am so ugly. This makes you feel bad about yourself and the behavior is to put no effort into your appearance that day. That reinforces the thought that you think you look ugly. Make sense?

It is such a simple concept but one in which I had never heard before a few weeks ago. But it makes TOTAL sense. I like logical diagrams like that. They work for me. When I have a negative thought or am acting in a negative way I like being about to figure out where it came from and change my thought process. This is a new concept for me. Instead of just accepting that it is going to be a bad day I now have tools to figure out where the feeling came from and what my thoughts were. It helps. It helps me to get out of funks when I find myself in one. I am not by nature a positive, glass half full kind of  girl. But I feel like with this tool I can change my mindset instead of just accepting it. And that, for me, is huge.

I am not perfect at it by any means. And sometimes even when I can trace the thought and know I am being illogical it still won’t change anything. But sometimes it does. Sometimes I can break the cycle and right now sometimes is good enough. Sometimes is a building block and eventually sometimes will turn into most of the time.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. May 23, 2011 8:11 am

    I find it so crazy when I “believe” some of the things I tell myself — like I think I’m ugly or I’m fat, etc. I know those things aren’t true, and yet I still tell myself those things. Like you, I sometimes catch myself and am able to “convince” myself that it isn’t true, but it doesn’t always work.

    • May 23, 2011 9:33 am

      Me too!! Keith says my inner dialouge is like WWIII. I would never talk to my friends (or even a stranger) as harshly as I speak to myself. I am working on it. 🙂

  2. Kalli permalink
    May 23, 2011 8:35 am

    i think the power of postive thought is amazing! i also think the pay it forward idea is too 🙂
    have a great day kelly!

  3. May 23, 2011 9:45 am

    Never thought about it like that, but very true. I need to remind myself to have postitive thoughts. I had some negative ones yesterday, which were just stupid now that I think about it. I turned weightloss into something neg when I was frustrated my new shorts…were too big. Hello…losing weight which is what I want but silly me was getting mad I had nothing to wear bc big shorts made me look fat. Oh they tricks we play on ourselves.

  4. kelli young permalink
    May 23, 2011 9:49 am

    Thanks Kelly, this is something I will work on. It makes total sense, but sometimes I’m so down on myself that I almost want to feel bad or be angry at myself. Its weird, I know by being angry I’m doing more damage to myself, yet I do it anyway. Hmmm, I think i need intense therapy! lol

  5. May 23, 2011 12:01 pm

    That totally makes sense. Usually mine goes: My hair looks like crap (thought) … I’m the ugliest person alive (feeling) … *starts yelling at husband* (behavior) Of course, during the whole process I know which thought caused the behavior. I’m just not thinking rationally enough to express it.

    • May 23, 2011 1:33 pm

      Oh I don’t even want to count the number of times I have yelled at Keith when in reality I was just releasing frusteration that i felt with myself. We all do it…but now when I yell at Keith about something ridiculous I can step back apologize and tell him what is really bothering me. Usually it is something related to how I feel about myself.

  6. May 23, 2011 12:03 pm

    Love this Kelly! So true!

    I realize that when I’m being negative, all things are affected. However, even on days where I feel bad about myself, I still try to keep positive, talking it through, and even dressing up…bc I know it makes me feel better about myself! Great post!

  7. May 23, 2011 1:14 pm

    I find stuff like this so helpful. It’s great for me to remember that I have control over my thoughts, which means I also have control over my feelings and behaviors.

    • May 23, 2011 1:34 pm

      I know!! Sometimes I forget that I AM in control of my own thoughts. It doesn’t always seem that way but I am! 🙂

  8. May 23, 2011 2:37 pm

    This is so fascinating. I’ve never thought about that little triangle of emotions, but it makes such sense. You know what it made me think of though? Your posts a few months ago about how you aren’t naturally a happy person. Even stating that you aren’t a glass half full person could be a thought worth changing, no? I have the same macro-opinion of myself, so perhaps a shift in perspective would help me too! Food for thought 🙂

    • May 23, 2011 2:43 pm

      That’s true Alisa!! I didn’t even think about that! You’re right that I have stated multiple times that “I am not a half glass full kind of a girl” and you are 100% spot on that that thought is one worth changing. It just goes to show how ingrained some beliefs we have about ourselves run.

  9. May 23, 2011 2:54 pm

    I love this. My dad is all about positive thinking, and mind over matter and all that stuff, so Ive been raised with diagrams like that. I always ignored him because thats just what you do, but the older I get, the move obvious it is that he’s right. I have a coworker thats super paranoid. He thinks everyone hates him and is out to get him, so he acts really odd sometimes. He gets snippy and mean, and in turn that makes everyone else stop trying to be nice to him, proving to himself that he was right all along and everyone is against him.

  10. May 23, 2011 10:49 pm


    Such a great post, self talk really is such a powerful tool. I don’t think I realized it until just a couple years ago. I work on it each day but it really takes putting it into practice to make those positive thoughts stick!

    PS I added more tank tops to my FHF t-shirt shop, I wasn’t sure which one you were requesting, so let me if you want a combo you don’t see 🙂

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