by Joseph J. Cozzo, MA, MS, LMHC 

I remember a professor in a cognitive therapy course saying, “Thoughts are things.” He was referring to a cognitive theory that explains how, what, and how we think shape the attitudes that affect our behavior. This cognitive relationship reinforces our thinking, creating a cycle of thinking-feeling-behavior that often cannot change without a mindful intervention to alter our thought triggers.

Our thoughts influence our behavior, actions, and choices. For example, if we think about going for a run, we may actually go out and exercise. Similarly, if we think about eating a particular food, we may be motivated to go and get it. Our thoughts shape our behavior and determine how we respond to different situations.

So, if you want to change your behavior, it makes sense that you must change your thoughts! Tell yourself that you are in charge of how you think. For instance, if you always feel sad or depressed, start telling yourself that today [and every day] you can make a conscious decision to choose happiness.

While it may not be simple, and requires repetition and time, you might be surprised how your thoughts play a major role in how you perceive and navigate your world. They definitely will affect how you behave and feel.

Joseph J. Cozzo, MA, MS, LMHC is President, CEO, and Chairman of Buffalo Hearing & Speech Center. A nationally certified trauma counselor, Joe has worked extensively with children and families, orphans, and orphanages. He is a Community Health Foundation Health Leadership Fellow, founded West Buffalo Charter School, serves on BNMC’s board of directors, and is incoming chair of the board of the Health Foundation of Western and Central NY.