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Pesach 5779: Acting As If

One of the most common arguments in modern psychology is regarding the nature of the connection between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Some argue that thoughts (e.g. “I can’t do this”) lead to feelings (sadness, worry), which in turn dictate how we behave (giving up, avoiding the difficult task). Others claim that feelings (e.g. anxiety, panic) lead to thoughts (“what’s happening?” or “something is wrong with me!”), which in turn lead to behaviors (going to the doctor, seeking reassurance from friends that you’re ok). Still others insist that our actions affect how we think and feel. If I sit in my room alone all day, I am likely to feel lonely and sad, and to have thoughts like “my life is boring” or “I have no friends.” If I go out and spend time with my friends or family, I might feel excited, or content, and have thoughts such as, “my friends are great” or “my life is full.”

On the whole, one can confidently assume that there is a kernel of truth in all three of these approaches. Emotions, thoughts, and behaviors are closely linked and complexly intertwined, constantly interacting in our daily lives. Increasing our awareness