Many people don’t live happily, even if they wanted: for them everything is problems because all are concerns. However, in a given situation, different players react to the same event differently. The difference is not in the external event, but in the view that everyone has of it. Already in the first century BC Epictetus said that “people are not disturbed by events, but by the view they have on the events”.
In humans the thoughts, feelings and behavior relate in a very intimate way. Each influences the other, but the thought “creates” the emotion and determines the appropriate action at all times. Therefore it is important to detect signs of mental pollution.
Our thoughts flow like blood within us, sometimes without us being aware of its presence. But we notice its consequences, for they feed an internal dialogue that leads at all times specific emotions and feelings. These thoughts can be adapted to the reality. In that case, so are the emotions or feelings that cause. But sometimes they can also be distorted, making that a dangerous mental pollution occurs, because our most painful or disturbing feelings are mobilized.
It is necessary to expose these distorted thoughts to recognize the principal errors of thought we use in our internal dialogues and thus get rid of mental pollution. Some of the most frequent according to psychologist Ramiro J. Alvarez, are based on focusing our attention on the negative details and forget the context, think that everything is “black or white” and forget the shades or generalizing from an isolated fact. Also in believe that we know what others think, to be catastrophic, feel that we are the center of the universe or directed and controlled by external factors. As well as trying to impose our code of justice and influence to the others, regardless that the only person we change for sure in some way is ourselves.
On the other hand, the psychologist Albert Ellis has proposed the theory of the ABC, which is the basis of his rational-emotive therapy: when faced with an activating event (A) we react with a certain emotion or behavior (C), caused no by the event itself but by our own thoughts, derived from our belief system (B) or values we have adopted. Many of the ideas we have acquired since childhood (cultural codes) haven’t been seriously questioned, but sometimes are completely irrational.
Therefore it’s important to get rid of mental pollution. Ellis raises some principles that can help to free ourselves from many automatic thoughts and irrational beliefs that lead us to see the world with a negative view and make us suffer: not believe that “to be happy, it is necessary that everyone appreciate us, approved and treat us with sympathy. “Do not feel compelled to have to show that you understand everything and that you are competent in everything. Also reject the thought that “some people are bad and deserve punishment or social censure” including oneself. Get rid of the view that “Is horrible that things don’t go as one would like” or “many misfortunes are caused by external causes and because so it is written.”
Neither be worried and expect the worst always if something can go wrong or is dangerous, or think it’s best to avoid the responsibilities that face them. Just as come to think that what happened in the past has affected us in a way that cannot be deleted, and that determined our past and future behavior.
Or think that “we should be very concerned about the problems and disruptions of others” or that “there is a precise and specific solution for each situation and if is not found the catastrophe ensues.” These are some of the key, if we realize that, we will have started down the road to free ourselves from mental pollution.