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7. Clarity > 57. Learn Your Emotional ABCs

Learn Your Emotional ABCs

Mental and emotional clarity reinforce each other, so don’t ignore your emotions in your quest to be a better thinker. Greater clarity is just a few steps away.

The ABC model of emotion, widespread in contemporary psychotherapy, holds that it is not an activating (A) event, such as rejection by a friend or lover, that causes you emotional consequences (C) such as depression; rather, the linchpin is your invisible beliefs (B) about the event that come in between A and C. Fortunately, it’s often easier to intentionally change beliefs than emotions.

Since at least the time of the ancient Stoics, some have believed that our circumstances don’t control whether we’re happy, but our thoughts about them do. Our reasoned thoughts and beliefs form a kind of buffer between reality and our private selves—in theory. In practice, our thoughts often don’t buffer us from events we don’t like so much as amplify those experiences, causing us emotional turmoil and suffering. In fact, our thoughts can be so irrational and so removed from reality that they often make us suffer, even when nothing is objectively wrong.


  

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