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I Think, Therefore I Feel Better

Publication: The Globe and Mail
Date: August 15, 2003

Your thoughts control your entire existence.

Pretty incredible when you stop and think about it.

The way that you think about something, determines how you will feel and react. What this means is that your perception of a person, event, or circumstance actually creates the way you feel and consequently, how you react.

How many of us make it a practice to pay close attention to our thoughts? No doubt this isn't the easiest thing to do - particularly since we are constantly bombarded with internal and external noise that distracts us from focusing within.

Our thoughts are more elusive to us than time itself, harder to identify most days than our innermost feelings, -- and yet they dominate every aspect of our being. That being said, most of us still pay little - if any attention to that ongoing dialogue we have with ourselves. As much as 90% of the estimated 16,000 thoughts that we have in a single day go virtually unnoticed.

What does this say? Well for one thing, it means that most of us operate on automatic pilot. We say things like "I couldn't help it" and "I wasn't thinking," when in fact our thoughts always precede our actions. Every thought that we have creates a powerful neural chemical reaction in our brain, which in turn causes us to feel certain emotions. We act and react based on those emotions.

If we really understood the power that our thoughts have in shaping our lives, it is quite possible that we would be motivated to reclaim control of our lives by controlling our thoughts.

It also implies that we hold the key to harnessing all of our unwanted emotions and behaviors.

Herein lies the secret.

Let's say that you approach your boss about an innovative idea that could improve productivity in one key aspect of your business. While you feel excited as you present your idea, you can't help but notice that your boss seems to be only half-listening. In fact, he does little more than grunt at you as he keeps one eye peeled to the papers on his desk. A few moments later, you leave the room thinking, "He wasn't even paying attention!" "He hates my idea!" "Why do I bother to care so much about this company when he doesn't?" "I've really got to find a better place to work."

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