When most of us consider the connections between our emotions and our thoughts, we tend to believe that our emotions drive our thinking: If we are feeling sad we will think about sad things; if we are feeling anxious we will think about things and people that make us anxious. Consequently, when we are feeling sad or anxious, we try to change our emotions so we will stop having so many negative thoughts. Cognitive theorists, however, believe just the opposite: Our thoughts drive our emotions. I feel sad because I am thinking depressive thoughts; I feel anxious because I am thinking anxious thoughts. Thus changing how we think will change our emotions. If we stop thinking about so many depressing things, we will feel less depressed; if we stop thinking about everything that can go wrong next week, we will stop feeling anxious.
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