For example: you get into your car, turn the key, and nothing happens. This is an event. You may think, "Oh no, my battery's dead. This is awful. I'm stuck. I'll be late." You will probably then feel depressed and anxious about being late. Or you may think, "My battery's dead. My son must have left my lights on all night again," in which case you will probably feel angry. You may also think, "Ah, good--now I'll call the tow truck to get a jump, and while I'm waiting I'll have an extra cup of coffee and relax." In this case you would feel a mild annoyance at most, and perhaps even relief.
Change the thought and you change the feeling. None of the thoughts in the above example are better than the others. The point is that your feeling is caused not by the event, but by the thought.
Most people act and talk as if their feeling were beyond their control, and directly caused by events around them. This is common. A large proportion of our daily thought is automatic. Life is too busy for us to never have automatic thoughts; we can't attend to everything equally. However, when our automatic thought-habits are making us happy, or fearful, or angry, it's time to uncover them and see if we can make some adjustments.
Taking Control Of Your Life is a workbook designed to show you, using practical techniques and clear examples, how to do just that--take control of your moods by attending to the workings of your own mind. If your suffering from phobias--of dogs, of flying, of harm coming to your children--or from constant self-criticism and resulting depression; if you are constantly stressed and nervous; if you often find your adrenaline rushing in anger threatening to explode; or if you feel trapped within a limited conception of yourself, this book can help you immensely. Based not on mumbo-jumbo or platitudes but on solid psychological research and proven techniques, Taking Control of Your Moods and Your Life has won wide acclaim among mental health professionals for its straight-forward style, wide-ranging information, and clear, pragmatic approach.