Often when I am presenting at a college or organization, I spend a few minutes working with the participants in a guided exercise to demonstrate the power of our own minds when setting and achieving goals.

Our own attitude – which is approximately 50% genetic and 50% learned behavior – wields a powerful influence.

Our attitude is formed by a thought meeting a feeling, or vice versa. In other words, it is in the interplay between thought and emotion that our full power (for good or for ill) is discovered and unleashed (sort of like pulling the pin out of a hand grenade, or filling a balloon full of helium).

There are two typical pathways by which thought and emotion most frequently tend to meet:

  • Example A: The mind thinks a thought. That thought produces an emotion.
  • Example B: The body produces an emotion. The mind thinks a thought about that emotion.

In the intersection where thought meets feeling, or feeling meets thought, decision and action can then occur.

While I could certainly blog all day long about this seemingly simple yet often tortuously complex dynamic, I thought it would be more fun (and equally as effective) to simply share a graphic that sums up how attitude often ends up being our primary mentor.

Why is it SO important to grasp this concept and bring it into our awareness as no longer a concept, but as a fact of our lives?

It is so important because, while we may have the best support team and the most outstanding mentors the world has ever seen, we are still in the company of our own thoughts and feelings a far greater percentage of each day than we ever will be even with our closest friends or partner.

So, the next time you are tempted to allow your thoughts – or your feelings – to lead you around in (admittedly) absorbing yet fruitless (and often quite painful) circles, consider these two diary entries instead:

Dog’s Diary

 

Cat’s Diary

If you prefer to read these diaries on a web page, you can also CLICK HERE

Today’s Takeaway: The next time you feel stuck in a negative, repetitive thought or a feeling, consider whether it might be helpful to grab your journal and write out a few gratitude statements. After you have selected a few things you feel truly grateful and written them down, go back and re-evaluate your mental or emotional state. Has the ennui, depression, anger, or whatever unpleasant experience you were having eased somewhat? If so, you might wish to keep journaling out gratitude statements or writing about similar heart-warming memories or experiences that lift your spirits.

p.s. I have personally found “gratefuls” (my term for keeping a regular gratitude list) that I started a personal blog to help me maintain this feel-good/good-for-me discipline. While mostly I blog about my favorite avian, Pearl, I also have a Gratefuls column that you can visit for inspiration if it is helpful. :-)

Snarling cat photo available from Shutterstock.

 


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    Last reviewed: 18 May 2012

APA Reference
Cutts, S. (2012). Attitude as a Mentor. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mentoring-recovery/2012/05/attitude-as-a-mentor/

 

 

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