by Richard Carlson
If you were to become aware of only one mental dynamic, the most important one to know about would be the relationship between your thinking and the way you feel.
It's important to realize that you are constantly thinking. Don't be fooled into believing that you are already aware of this fact! Think, for a moment, about your breathing. Until this moment, when you are reading this sentence, you had certainly lost sight of the fact that you were doing it. The truth is, unless you are out of breath, you simply forget that it's occurring.
Thinking works the same way. Because you're always doing it, it's easy to forget that it's happening, and it becomes invisible to you. Unlike breathing, however, forgetting that you are thinking can cause some serious problems in your life, such as unhappiness, anger, inner conflicts, and stress. The reason this is true is that your thinking will always come back to you as a feeling; there is a point to point relationship.
Try getting angry without first having angry thoughts! Okay, now try feeling stressed out without first having stressful thoughts -- or sad without sad thoughts-- or jealous without thoughts of jealousy. You can't do it--it's impossible. The truth is, in order to experience a feeling, you must first have a thought that produces that feeling.
Unhappiness doesn't and can't exist on it's own. Unhappiness is the feeling that accompanies negative thinking about your life. In the absence of that thinking, the unhappiness, or stress, or jealousy, can't exist. There is nothing to hold your negative feelings in place other than your own thinking. The next time you're feeling upset, notice your thinking-- it will be negative. Remind yourself that it's your thinking that is negative, not your life. This simple awareness will be the first step in putting you back on the path towards happiness. It takes practice, but you can get to the point where you treat your negative thoughts in much the same way you would treat flies at a picnic. You shoo them away, and get on with your day.