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Excerpted from You Can Be Happy No Matter What by Richard Carlson. Copyright 1997 by Richard Carlson. Excerpted by permission of New World Library.  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.

"Every negative (and positive) feeling is a direct result of thought."

Richard Carlson, 
You Can Be Happy No Matter What

Part 1

All that you achieve and all that you fail to achieve is the direct result of your own thoughts. James Allen

Human beings are thinking creatures. Every moment of every day, our minds are working to make sense out of what we see and experience. While this may seem obvious, it is one of the least understood principles in our psychological makeup. Yet understanding the nature of thought is the foundation to living a fully functional and happy life.

Thinking is an ability a function of human consciousness. No one knows exactly where thought comes from, but it can be said that thought comes from the same place as whatever it is that beats our heart it comes from being alive. As is true with other human functions, thinking goes on whether we want it to or not. In this sense, "thought" is an impersonal element of our existence.

Every negative (and positive) feeling is a direct result of thought. It's impossible to have jealous feelings without first having jealous thoughts, to have sad feelings without first having sad thoughts, to feel angry without having angry thoughts. And it's impossible to be depressed without having depressing thoughts. This seems obvious, but if it were better understood, we would all be happier and live in a happier world!

Virtually all the clients I have worked with over the years have begun their sessions like this:

Client: "I feel very depressed today."

Richard: "Did you recognize that you were having depressing thoughts?"

Client: "I didn't have negative or depressing thoughts; I just feel depressed."

It took some time before I recognized the problem in our communication. We have all been taught that "thinking" means sitting down to "ponder," to put in time and effort, as if we were doing a math problem. According to this idea of thinking, a person who wouldn't dream of spending six hours obsessing about a single angry thought could nevertheless feel quite "normal" thinking fifteen or twenty thoughts for thirty seconds at a time.

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