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Thinking and feeling are different exercises. On a good day my thoughts mediate my feelings (I might feel like hurling insults at an annoying colleague, but I don’t think that’s such a good idea). On a bad day, when I am stressed or feeling down for example, I run the risk of losing this critical-thinking edge, so the insult slips out.

The ability to separate thoughts and feelings – to be guided the thought even though our feelings want us to act differently  – is critical to psychological resilience, wellbeing and balance. Letting out feelings run amok can have disastrous consequences.

Equally, a life dominated only by thinking means poorer empathy skills, less satisfying contact with others (for them, anyway), and a less complete experience in life.

Like so many things, it is a question of balance and flexibility. Some situations require more awareness of feelings while others call for the skills of observation and analysis. There is no ‘right’ way to be, but self-awareness and understanding ourselves is a good rule of thumb.

 

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