Do We Control Our Own Reactions?

Do We Control Our Own Reactions?In a recent thought for the day, I stated that we are in control of how we react to events.

In reply to this thought somebody brought up the question:

‘In the case of people who are bipolar or who suffer clinical depression, can it be truly be said that people can control how they react to events?’

Given that there are many people who are bipolar or suffer from bouts of clinical depression, I thought that this subject was worthy of a discussion topic.

Here are my thoughts:

All people, can have their moods effected by external conditions, some people with medical conditions such as BP and clinical depression can have their moods effected by their own bodies working against them.

Take the case that it is a hot day and I am feeling too hot and cannot function properly, or the atmospheric pressure is too high or low, or it is winter and the nights are long and I am affected by lack of sun light for prolonged periods.

In all these cases my mood will be affected, it is not possible that it won’t be. I will feel more tired, more irritable, more edgy, etc. The question is, will my internal thoughts help me to lighten my mood and feel less effected by conditions whether they be external or internal or will they re-enforce the negative feelings driving me into an ever deepening cycle of despair.

So now we come to developing a positive attitude. If our thoughts about ourselves and events are negative they will re-enforce the depressive cycle. If on the other hand our thoughts about ourselves and events are positive they will help us maintain a more positive mood and be less effected by conditions.

It is fair to make the point that clinical depression and bipolar directly effect the brain and will therefore actively work to prevent us from trying to be positive but this does not mean that working to develop a positive attitude is not a good idea. On the contrary, developing a positive attitude is more important for people with BP or clinical depression than other people because it can help them develop coping strategies.

Coming back to the original question, ‘Are we in control of our own reactions?’ The answer is yes and no.

If we had 100% positive attitude, then (assuming that in our hearts we want to be happy rather than sad) the answer would always be yes, no matter what the circumstances.

Personally I am not sure that it is possible ever reach the point of having a positive attitude 100% of the time but if I had it 95% of the time I would be more than happy.

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