Postdate: 23 November 2016
Different techniques have been developed to manipulate and control emotions in a positive way. One of the most well-known techniques is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). The first to develop this therapy were Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis. It is important to know what cognitive therapy and behavioural therapy mean, as these two terms arose independently from each other.
Cognition is about the effect of thinking on the emotional and practical life. The sensory stimuli from your environment are combined with insight and knowledge. In the field of cognitive psychology, behaviour is explained by looking at environmental stimuli on the one hand, and at the person's reaction on the other hand. The principle is that the perceptions are translated into thoughts, which are then coloured by prior experiences. When you, for example, look at important events in your life from a negative perspective, then this will impact on your emotional life: you will get anxious, angry, or irritated more quickly. This, in turn, will have a negative effect on your behaviour. Another well-known example is the 'the glass is half full or half empty'. These kinds of thoughts affect your behaviour and even your state of mind.
With behavioural therapy, a person's behaviour is at the core: how you act determines for a large part how you feel. By putting negative emotions away or by avoiding them, you make them even stronger. When you have not learned how to control yourself, for example, you will sooner be the victim of your own impulsiveness. The trick is to emphasise good habits and to get rid of bad ones. Some of the pillars of mental strength are the acceptance of changes, a continuous self-improvement, and learning from your mistakes. A cognitive ability can thus affect the way of thinking of interpretation as well as the way we act or let go. Sometimes, the focus lies on thinking, sometimes more on acting or letting go. This can help you to get more out of yourself, as it is good to know by which thoughts you are hampered and where they come from.
'We first make our habits, and then our habits make us'