What Are Thoughts & Emotions?

Thoughts and emotions are intricately related and can be experienced together, but they are distinct.

What are thoughts?

Thoughts are mental cognitions—our ideas, opinions, and beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. They include the perspectiveswe bring to any situation or experience that color our point of view (for better, worse, or neutral).

An example of a long-lived thought is an attitude, which develops as thoughts are repeated over and over and reinforced.

While thoughts are shaped by life experiences, genetics, and education, they are generally under conscious control. In other words, if you are aware of your thoughts and attitudes, you can choose to change them.