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Excerpted from The Feeling Good Handbook by David Burns. Copyright © 1999 by David Burns. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, 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.

"Anger, irritation, annoyance, or resentment: You feel that someone is treating you unfairly or trying to take advantage of you."

  David Burns, The Feeling Good Handbook, Part 3

The list on pages 6-7 illustrates the connection between your thoughts and your feelings. Study this table carefully. It will help you understand why you’re in the mood you’re in, and this can make it easier to change the way you feel.

Your Thoughts and Your Feelings


Thoughts that lead to this emotion

Sadness or depression

Thoughts of loss: a romantic rejection, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or the failure to achieve some important goal.

Guilt or shame

You believe that you’ve hurt someone or that you’ve failed to live up to your own moral standards. Guilt results from self-condemnation, whereas shame involves the fear that you’ll lose face when others find out about what you did.

Anger, irritation, annoyance, or resentment

You feel that someone is treating you unfairly or trying to take advantage of you.


Life falls short of your expectations. You insist that things should be different. It might be your own performance ("I shouldn’t have made that mistake"), what someone else does ("He should’ve been on time!"), or an event ("Why does the traffic always slow down when I’m in a hurry?").

Anxiety, worry, fear, nervousness, or panic

You believe you’re in danger because you think something bad is about to happen – "What if the plane crashes?" "What if my mind goes blank when I give my talk in front of all those people?" "What if this chest pain is the start of a heart attack?"

Inferiority or inadequacy

You compare yourself to others and conclude that you’re not as good as they are because you’re not as talented, attractive, charming, successful, intelligent. "She’s really got what it takes. She’s so cute. All the men are chasing her. I’m just average. There’s nothing very special about me."


You tell yourself that you’re bound to feel unhappy because you’re alone and you aren’t getting enough love and attention from others.

Hopelessness or discouragement

You feel convinced that your problems will go on forever and that things will never improve. "I’ll never get over this depression," or "I just can’t lose weight and keep it off," or "I’ll never find a good job," or "I’ll be alone forever."

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