ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How Beliefs Affect Our Emotional Health

Updated on June 5, 2018
denise.w.anderson profile image

An Education Specialist, Denise teaches the principles of Emotional Health for the establishment and maintenance of high quality families.

Even though we emphatically believe, that does not necessarily make it  true!
Even though we emphatically believe, that does not necessarily make it true! | Source

"My dad knows everything!"

"My mom is the best cook ever!"

"My big brother can take out your big brother any day!"

As children, our beliefs were simple and profound. We just knew that our family was the best, and no one else could match them! Unfortunately, there came a time in life, when we realized that even though we wanted something to be true, it wasn't necessarily so!

During adulthood, we come face to face with the beliefs that we carry with us from our childhood, and begin to question their validity. Some we are able to discard, others are so ingrained that they remain a part of our psyche all of our lives. These long-standing beliefs become assumptions upon which our actions are based. In this hub, we will explore what these beliefs are, how they affect our thoughts, feelings, and actions, and how we can change them.

Our beliefs are the basis of all our actions.
Our beliefs are the basis of all our actions. | Source

Common Core Beliefs

"I was made this way."

Many people believe that they were born the way they currently are. Psychology has long debated "nature versus nurture" and has come to the conclusion that although we receive physical and personality traits through our genetic heritage, it is the response of our caregivers, their current reality, and what we do with it, that ultimately shapes our destiny.

"The world is an unsafe place."

Perhaps our parents went through some horrific experiences before we came along and like Marlin in the movie, Finding Nemo, pass that belief on to their children. When Nemo went to school, he realized that others did not have fears about venturing into the unknown. This caused him to question his father's actions.

"You have to work hard to make it anywhere in life."

Those in the baby boom generation worked hard physically in order to be where they are today. They knew the value of education and made sure that their children didn't have to suffer like they did. In our current society, however, things are different and technology is advancing at unprecedented rates. Most people today seek information through surfing the Internet rather than purchasing and reading books or taking classes.

"You have an essential value, worth, and dignity just by virtue of the fact that you're a human being."

— Edmund J. Bourne, Ph. D., The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook

"Self-esteem is delicate and must be guarded and protected."

As much as the "feel-good" era of the 70's advanced positive psychology, it has been concluded more recently that we have to do something to give ourselves these feelings. We need to learn skills, live in productive ways, and realize that we have innate worth as human beings. It is okay for people to make mistakes and learn.

These are only a few common core beliefs that affect the way we are raised, how we see the world, and the decisions we make on a daily basis. Every behavior that is a part of us is the result of a core belief that has been taught, observed, and lived in our lives.

Robert S. Kelly, in his song I Believe I Can Fly, tells how beliefs can and do change. When we find ourselves in a rut with no way out, the key to our better future lies within ourselves. The paragraphs after the video talk about recognizing our mistaken beliefs, how they are detrimental to our emotional health, and what we can do to change them for the better.

Mistaken Beliefs

In The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, Edmund J. Bourne, Ph. D., writes about "mistaken beliefs," or those that have a detrimental affect on us emotionally. He indicates that we may learn them in our childhood through the example or teaching of our primary caregivers. Some are adopted when we react to things we experience in life. The table below lists examples of mistaken beliefs and how they affect us emotionally.

Mistaken Beliefs
Resulting Issues
I am not good enough
Low feelings of self-worth
I have to be accepted to be loved
Fear or rejection or criticism
If I make a mistake, I am a failure
Perfectionism
Anger is the same as rejection
Oversensitivity
I have to look good to feel good
Unrealistic expectations
When I need something, I cannot wait
Impulsive spending and addictions
The "I am" Wheel shows how our "I am" beliefs are the core of our thoughts, feelings, desires, and actions.
The "I am" Wheel shows how our "I am" beliefs are the core of our thoughts, feelings, desires, and actions. | Source

We may not recognize a mistaken belief until we experience the consequences of it. Irrational thought patterns and behaviors surface when we have emotional difficulty. Notice in the I Am Wheel, that beliefs are at the center, and desires, thoughts, feelings, and actions rotate around them. Our "I am" beliefs, such as "I am strong," "I am loved," and "I am able," are the basis for our self-worth. Positive "I am" beliefs lead to feelings of strength, choices for our better health, and treating others with dignity and respect.

Negative "I am" beliefs, such as "I am stupid" or "I am ugly," automatically lead to negative thought patterns, feelings, desires, and actions. The individual with these core beliefs has no inner strength, therefore, will easily fall prey to power struggles, putting others down, bullying, and hurting others in an effort to build feelings of worth.

To find the mistaken beliefs, we have to rewind the wheel. First, we look at our actions, then our desires, thoughts, and beliefs. Going through this process on a regular basis, we start to see patterns of behavior that result from particular beliefs. We have "aha" moments when we realize that the roots of these behaviors started in our past with particular situations or events. As we see how they are affecting us, we are in a position to make choices to change them.

As we pause for a moment and analyze our situation, weighing it against what we know to be true and right, we will come up with a different plan of action.
As we pause for a moment and analyze our situation, weighing it against what we know to be true and right, we will come up with a different plan of action. | Source

Changing Mistaken Beliefs

Once we are able to identify our mistaken beliefs, we are in a position to do something about them. Dr. Bourne teaches that we need to question and challenge them, find the evidence for or against them, and if they are found to be unprofitable, replace them with better ones.

Using one of the previously listed beliefs, let us walk through this process:

Belief: If I make a mistake, I am a failure. In other words, If I am not perfect, I am worthless.

We ask ourselves:

  1. What is happening?
  2. What am I feeling?
  3. What am I thinking of doing?
  4. What are the consequences?
  5. Is that really what I want?
  6. Is there something better I could do instead?
  7. What would be best for me and others in the long run?

What is happening? I am human. I make mistakes. I do not know everything and I do not have time to learn it all. No matter how hard I try, I do something wrong.

What am I feeling? I am embarrassed. Every time I turn around, I do something I shouldn't. I am angry with myself because I can't get it right. I hate it when this happens!

What am I thinking of doing? I am thinking about hurting myself. I am not worth living. I am flawed and hopeless.

What are the consequences? If I am no longer here, my family won't have to worry about me anymore. They would be better off without me.

Is that really what I want? Wait a minute! What am I saying! No! They wouldn't be better off without me! I am a vital part of this family! I've seen what happens to the families of people who have taken their own lives. This is not the answer!

Is there something better I could do instead? I do not have to be perfect. I do not have to do this alone. I can turn to others who will help me. There are people who love and accept me in spite of my imperfection.

What would be better for me and others in the long run? If I make a mistake, I will acknowledge my error and correct it. If I don't know how, I will find someone who does. I am not a failure unless I stop trying, and I will not stop trying! I am a worthwhile human being!

The result of this process is an affirmation that can be posted in a visible place where we will see it frequently. Reading and repeating it often allows us to re-program our beliefs, and as a result, change our emotional health.

Hope is one of the most powerful mindsets we can adopt. It gives us a reason to keep going in spite of the difficulty we face.
Hope is one of the most powerful mindsets we can adopt. It gives us a reason to keep going in spite of the difficulty we face. | Source

Disclaimer

This hub is not meant to diagnose or treat psychological illnesses or disorders. If you are experiencing abuse, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, nightmares, insomnia (inability to fall asleep), panic attacks, or thoughts of hurting another person contact a mental health professional.

As human beings, we have the ability to analyze, interpret, research, and solve. We are able to look beyond what we already know and find something that is better for ourselves. We do not have to continue in the "status quo" that we have lived all of our lives.

Hope is the ability to look above and beyond our current circumstance, realizing that it is only temporary. Things change. They always do. No matter where we find ourselves at the current moment, whether in happiness or misery, that state is not permanent. It will change. The only constant in this world is change.

Because things are changing all around us, it is only natural to realize that we can change. We do not have to keep going the way we are now. If our emotional health is in question, we have the ability to figure out how to make things better. Our beliefs affect our thoughts, feelings, desires and actions. Now is the time to check them out.

© 2014 Denise W Anderson

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • denise.w.anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise W Anderson 

      4 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Thanks, gsidley. We all come into adulthood with a set of beliefs that may or may not be adequate for our success. As we find attitudes and beliefs that do not serve us well, choosing to abandon them for more suitable ones is necessary for our well-being. As we do so, we discover that there are time-honored truths that become self-evident we can hold on to throughout our lives. These become a foundation for our future.

    • gsidley profile image

      Dr. Gary L. Sidley 

      4 years ago from Lancashire, England

      A quality hub on an important subject. Deeply held beliefs about ourselves, the world and the future impact significantly on our emotional wellbeing. And once a strong belief is established it tends to be self-sustaining, by filtering out (ignoring or distorting) evidence that doesn't fit with the existing belief while selectively focusing on evidence that is consistent with it.

    • denise.w.anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise W Anderson 

      4 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      That is an excellent way to change beliefs, CherylsArt. In my hubs, I have written about what I call visualization. You have used the term, imagination. When we couple this with affirmations, we have a much more powerful way of changing our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 

      4 years ago from West Virginia

      I have used both affirmations and also imagination to change my behavior. Imagining myself responding in a different way is quite powerful, and usually the results happen more quickly, though it might take a few times for it to be affective.

    • denise.w.anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise W Anderson 

      4 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Yes, teaches. For some, it requires professional assistance. I know for me, it took medication and several years of therapy to loosen the grip of some of the mistaken beliefs I had. I still find myself drifting back to them when things get difficult in life. I use the techniques that I write about on a regular basis. That helps remind me of what I need to do. I, too, hope that my writing can help others that are having difficulty in this area. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 years ago

      This is a really good article on this topic and I do hope may stop by for the valuable advice. I believe many people cannot overcome the negativity you mention. When they are constantly surrounded by it, it tends to become part of their emotional being.

    • denise.w.anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise W Anderson 

      4 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      You are welcome, MsDora. I have had to do the same. When I realized that my beliefs were holding me hostage, I had to do some major housecleaning! Thanks to helpful counselors and classes in changing my thought patterns, I, too, have found peace and happiness. I still find new things to learn as I grow older, however. Blessings to you and yours!

    • denise.w.anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise W Anderson 

      4 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I appreciate your comments, ChitrangadaSharan. Life is full of transitions. Our bodies change, our circumstances change, and society changes. When we find the truths that are constant, and hold on to them, it gives us a foundation for weathering the changes. Teaching our children is vital, and we can have such an impact on their future lives. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Excellent article, Denise. Beliefs have such a powerful effect on our emotions and our whole lives. I've had to rethink some of mine, and been happier with some adjustments I made. Thank you for clarifying some important issues here.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very nicely done, thought provoking hub!

      It is true that we grow up with beliefs as explained by our parents. As we age, we may or may not change, depending upon what we have been taught is still relevant or not.

      Change is inevitable and one should be flexible enough to adapt to changes according to the changing times and environment. True and healthy parenting requires to teach children to be flexible to changes.

      Thanks for this excellent hub. Voted up!

    • denise.w.anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise W Anderson 

      4 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Thanks, Catherine. Change is difficult. When we realize that it will not last, we are able to weather it much more successfully. Making adjustments in our thought patterns helps bring our beliefs to a better vantage point, and then change becomes our friend instead of our enemy.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 

      4 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Very well done with good advice. I think I have a few of the issues you mention. I do agree with you about change. When things are not going ell, just ride it out. Things will get better.

    • denise.w.anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise W Anderson 

      4 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Thanks, lisavanvorst. That is the amazing beauty of humanity! We have the opportunity to determine for ourselves what is best in our lives. We do not have to depend upon others, whether the things we learned in our childhood, or following the crowds around us. We can find out for ourselves what it true.

    • lisavanvorst profile image

      Lisa VanVorst 

      4 years ago from New Jersey

      I enjoyed reading this. True we are raised as children with the morals and beliefs our parents put upon us. However as we get old we mature and develop our own beliefs. The problem in society is that sometimes others try to persuade us to their beliefs and opinions. As individual we must develop and embrace what we believe in. Great Hub!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)