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Excerpted from Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David Burns. Copyright © 1999 by David Burns. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.
 

"You feel the way you do right now because of the thoughts you are thinking at this moment."

  David Burns, Feeling Good, Part 3

This therapy is unique in having professional evaluation and validation at the highest academic levels. It is not just another self-help fad but a major development that has become an important part of the mainstrem of modem psychiatric research and practice. Cognitive therapy's academic foundation. has enhanced its impact and should give it staying power for years to come. But don't be turned off by the professional status that cognitive therapy has acquired. Unlike much traditional psychotherapy, it is not occult and anti-intuitive. It is practical and based on common sense, and you can make it work for you.

The first principle of cognitive therapy is that all your moods are created by your "cognitions," or thoughts. A cognition refers to the way you look at things -- your perceptions, mental attitudes, and beliefs. It includes the way you interpret things -- what you say. about something or someone to yourself. You feel the way you do right now because of the thoughts you are thinking at this moment.

Let me illustrate this. How have you been feeling as you read this? You might have been thinking, "Cognitive therapy sounds too good to be true. It would never work for me." If your thoughts run along these lines, you are feeling skeptical or even discouraged. What causes you. to feel that way? Your thoughts. You create those feelings by the dialogue you are having with yourself about this book!

Conversely, you may have felt a sudden uplift in mood because you thought, "Hey, this sounds like something which might finally help me." Your emotional reaction is generated not by the sentences you are reading but by the way you are thinking. The moment you have a certain thought and believe it, you will experience an immediate emotional response. Your thought actually creates the emotion.

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