Thoughts, Feelings, Behaviors Triangle?

Thoughts, Feelings, Behaviors Triangle?

There I was enjoying my groove, my love driving down trails in the blinding snowstorm for us to follow and me running and enjoying the clean mountain air, the sounds of paws in the snow, and literally nothing holding me back from enjoying every step I took. The pups were in a rhythm and so was I. Then it happened, the truck was in the ditch snapping me out of my groove.

What happened next? Well, it was like the thought, feeling, behavior triangle, but in my view, it needs a square, with a cyclical cycle.

If you asked me, this is what I would say.

Situation= The truck is stuck and anchored into the mountain 8 miles from home.

Thought= How can we get out of this?

Feeling= Perplexed

Behavior= Take action start digging

If you asked her she would say this was my response:

Thought= I can get us out of this help is not an option

Feeling= uninspired

Behavior= start digging

And here is the fourth piece of that square

Consequence/Outcome= I didn’t assess the situation and communicate anything initially.

Therefore, more thoughts and feelings presented between her and me, which is a negative unhealthy cycle this square keeps going round and round until one of us jumps off the negative train and onto the healthy outcome train.

And some very nice strangers pulled us out!

Have you ever been in this situation where you just keep going round and round?

What were your thoughts on the feelings and emotions you had after it was all over?

For me, it was; what the hell? I wasn’t mad and I called everyone I know.

For her, not so much… because she thought I wouldn’t ask for help.

We both stopped communicating and our emotions took over. Driven by thoughts, resulting in behaviors and actions which were irrational and didn’t help the situation at all. This leads me to the question.

Should your emotions be trusted?

Some say yes trust your feelings, and some say no you cannot trust how you feel.

Understanding emotions can be challenging, especially if you are in the middle of something that makes you emotional.

Considering it’s the thought you are having at that moment driving that emotion, logically neither answer matters. There is no right or wrong emotion, your thoughts, however, that is the real driver of those emotions.

Can your thoughts be trusted?

Can this thought be trusted?

Am I already compromised?

Am I responding based on this spiraling out-of-control irrational reality?

Think about this example,

You are focused on finishing something that has a deadline and keep getting interrupted. On any other day, this wouldn’t bother you. But today it does, your thoughts and how you respond to this event will determine if it was healthy or unhealthy.

Why do you think there is a difference between today versus any other day?

It is because you can choose to change your thoughts. You can choose your behaviors and emotions because you decide the thoughts you think. In turn, your outcomes to that thought.

What thoughts do you have that drive your emotions? Can you think of a time when you could have changed a thought and your emotions would have been a different reaction?

Outcome Square

This outcome square is something you can use to start identifying your thoughts. If you find yourself reacting but are not really sure how to identify the thought or change your patterns, work backward to the scenario.

What was the outcome?

What behavior presented?

What emotions were you experiencing?

What was your thought?

Once you have answered these questions, ask yourself was that a rational thought?

Rational Thoughts

Do I really believe that?

Is it healthy?

Take our earlier scenario, was the lack of communication and immediate action taken on my part really a rational behavior? No of course not! So what is? What would have been rational? Can you think of a healthy rational thought?

Once you have identified the rational or irrational thoughts you are having, you can start changing your thought, emotion, behavior triangle.

Change your thoughts and the rest will fall into place. Even if you slip up you always have the chance to identify why and change those thoughts.

Overall, the thought, emotion, and behavior triangle is effective at describing our emotions, but in reality, the thought drives the outcome.


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