Has anybody done the research on this?

I remember being taught somewhere along my mental health career that thought precedes emotion, but it always struck me as being the other way around. I feel emotions first then from those emotions thoughts are formed. If the emotion is a delicate one, my thoughts might also be delicate. If the mood is a good one, the thoughts that follow are generally positive.

Honestly, I don’t believe the entire communication process is rational and therefore governed by thought. I believe that the emotions we experience lead us toward certain thoughts.

If it is true that thoughts precede emotions, all we have to do is change our thoughts. What resonates with me on the other hand is the need to improve how we feel in order to get the feel-good thoughts to occur and stick.

Anybody want to weigh in on this discussion? I honestly cannot remember what setting I was in where this idea was presented that thought generated everything including emotion. But still I feel it’s the other way around. What do you think?

2 thoughts on “Has anybody done the research on this?

  1. I think it depends on the type of emotions. Primary emotions are automatic reactions to the environment. Then we evaluate those emotions through thought and experience secondary emotions based on those judgments. So I might feel anxious in a situation as a primary emotion, and think it’s a sign of weakness that I can’t control myself, and then feel ashamed as a secondary emotion in response to that thought.


  2. Very interesting. Very telling. So it’s kind of a process between primary emotions, thoughts and secondary emotions? It has never been explained to me in that way in all my years of mental health / illness. Makes sense. Thank you.


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