Mmegi Online :: Can Our Behavior Influence The Way We Feel?
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Last Updated
Tuesday 13 November 2018, 16:21 pm.
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Can Our Behavior Influence The Way We Feel?

We choose how we want to behave all the time. What we overlook at times, is that our behaviours can influence our feelings in two ways. Firstly, some of our behaviors have a direct effect on our moods or feelings. Secondly, certain behaviours indirectly influence the way we feel through their effect on how we think.
By Correspondent Thu 20 Nov 2014, 11:20 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Can Our Behavior Influence The Way We Feel?








Warona (not her real name), is a middle aged woman who has a self-imposed pressure to keep up with her past reputation of being a wealthy man’s daughter. She has developed a habit of trying to outshine people she knows, especially those she perceives as coming from “poorer financial backgrounds”.

Warona’s competitive behaviour has resulted in her getting into unnecessary debts, to avoid looking like a failure. When her bank put her possessions up for sale to recover the loan she could not pay, Warona blamed the bank employees for being “jealous” of her.

She also lost respect from those she had previously controlled using her fantasy “cash power”. The loneliness Warona experienced after losing the mask she had been wearing caused her to feel consistently miserable, something that later on developed into depression.

Even though Warona was not initially aware of how her “keeping up appearances” behaviours were going to land her in  a depressed state, they indirectly did. Her self-defeating behaviours reinforced her belief that people can only accept her if she comes across as a wealthy man’s daughter.

This, in turn, did not only lead to depression, but also lowered her self-esteem, even more when she lost everything she had gathered to protect her image. This is an example of how our feelings can indirectly be affected by our behaviours – via our thinking patterns.

On the other hand, we have all experienced situations where changing our behaviour made a direct difference to our mood.

When Tom (not his real name) felt stressed after a series of meetings at work, he invited a friend to the gym and felt better after a good dose of physical exercise and relaxing music.

Tom’s actions lifted up his spirits because they are inherently pleasurable and they distracted him from developing negative thoughts about the meetings he had earlier at work.

Changing some of our behaviours can help us think about our situation differently, and consequently feel better.

For instance, taking a step to work for an organisation may help to challenge the belief that we are too reserved to interact with other people. We may start to feel better about ourselves when we start to believe that we can interact with other people well if we make an effort.

Confronting some of our self-defeating behaviors can stop us from believing our situations are worse than they actually are and, as a result,  help to reduce our anxiety

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in those situations. From the above mentioned example, Warona can reduce her misery if she accepts that she is NOT her father’s carbon copy, and stop her desperation to prove that she can fit into her father’s shoes.

She suffered humiliation when people who were initially dependent on her discovered that she was not superior to them, as she had wanted them to believe.

Completing some tasks in a manner that is less than perfect can help us recognise that things don’t have to be perfect, and this revised approach in life can free us from unnecessary anxiety. Changing our behaviours can help us feel better because of the influence our behaviour has on the way we think.

As behaviours play such an important role in the way we feel and think, it would be reasonable to wonder, “why am I struggling with this behaviour? And why is it that some people behave in a productive way most of the time, while others engage in self-defeating behaviours so often?” The answers lie in the different influences that shape our behaviours over the course of our lives. These include (but are not limited to):

Our early childhood experiences-the orientations we received from our caretakers such as parents, guardians, peers, teachers and siblings. A child who grows up getting almost everything they want instantly, is likely to depend on quick fix solutions at a later stage in life, and probably develop low frustration tolerance for delayed gratifications

Our life experiences, including our achievements, losses, failures, successes and rejections. A person who experiences trauma might later on develop repetitive behavioural actions that are done to prevent some dreaded outcome (one of the symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) when confronted with a stressful situation, if the trauma is left untreated.

Such behaviours may include stress eating, bed wetting, self-mutilations; and are adopted as a result of the anxiety we feel from our past experiences.

The accumulated messages that we receive from society via television, magazines, newspapers, e.t.c. We may decide to have pictures our loved ones tattooed on our bodies because it is the ‘in thing’.

This might make us feel lifted up when we see those pictures, while we still get along and later on leave us feeling angry when the relationships go sour.

Do you have any behaviour you are struggling to quit? You can reach me at 71443707  or 71411140 for inquiries or comments

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