You CAN Change How You Feel – In An Instant

Why not?

You’ve seen your kids do it many times in a single day.

In fact you’ve told them to do it.

(empty the dish washer and be happy about it, you think you’ve got something to be unhappy about?, stop teasing your sister, just eat it, no you can’t have a mobile phone, you’re NOT hungry, just sit still and be quiet for a while, do you think I’m made of money?)

Our culture emphasises the idea that your feelings just grab you and there’s nothing you can do about it.

There are many examples of this teaching (that don’t look like a sit down lesson) such as:

  • Hollywood propagates the idea that lightning will strike and you’ll fall helplessly in love,
  • Parents tells us that time heals all wounds – the pain will go away,
  • Teachers repeat that justice will always be done – the good guys always win,
  • Friends help us fling a perceived insult back,
  • Road rage becomes an accepted term,
  • etc etc etc

This is all backed up by “judgement” – a word/concept we need to be very careful with.

We learn that some things are good and some are bad.

We also learn that being quick to decide which is good and which is bad is a highly prized skill in our environment.

In many cases this is positively referred to as being “decisive” – another word/concept we need to be careful with.

The next piece of mis-education is that these feelings (that supposedly grab us without our permission) are in either the “good” or the “bad” category.

Commonly…

Joy, peace, happiness, excitement, love, compassion, kindness, etc fit into the “do as much of them as you like” category.

Anger, sadness, fear, shame, guilt, depression, etc are lumped into the “please do that somewhere else” bunch.

But is life a Good Vs Bad battle?

Could it be that there is no such thing?

Here’s my favourite thought experiment.

Question: When it rains – is it good or bad?

Answer: It’s bad if you have an outdoor wedding on. Its good if your water tanks are empty.

There are countless examples of the thought experiment…

Question: Is a car smash good or bad?

Answer: It’s bad if you get injured. It’s good if for the tow truck drivers, paramedics, panel beaters.

Question: When your landlord says move out – is it good or bad?

Answer: It’s bad if you were happy in that house. It’s good if you find a better one.

Question: When you get divorced – is it good or bad?

Answer: It’s bad when it gets ugly. It’s good when you find someone you can love deeper.

I’m proposing that the so called negative emotions aren’t negative – not because they don’t produce issues we have to deal with but because there is no such thing as Good Vs Bad in the first place.

What could be the possible “Good” in the “bad” feelings?

Try this on for size.

Without anger we would be unlikely to stand up and say something wasn’t acceptable.
Without anger its likely that we would be walked all over by those willing to do so.
Without anger we may never get motivated enough to take a stand on an issue of importance.

Sadness means you have lost something – probably someone. It’s appropriate to feel this loss!
Sadness helps us determine what is important in our lives.
Sadness is an open show that people and things have meaning and substance.

Without fear you would play with snakes.
Without fear you’d most likely say something stupid.
Without fear you’d probably be dead.

RELATED: TURNING BAD FEELINGS INTO GOOD

Our culture has shamed us about these feelings.
(you should be ashamed of the way you spoke to your mother after all she has done for you!)

So we become firstly, compelled to “judge” them as bad and secondly to make them go away.

From that suppressed position they build up (fester?) and eventually erupt in an overflowing, cascading, gushing torrent that overwhelms us.

When the gushing torrent is running – the sense that we have no control of our emotions is yet again, powerfully reinforced.

It becomes a viscous circle.

What should you do?

RELATED: HOW TO COPE WHEN IT ALL GETS TOO MUCH

(check out our EQ Learning Program!)

But meanwhile…

1. Acknowledge any feeling as valid.
(On that occasion my mother was an out of control, grade A, bitch)2. Find the location of the feeling in your body.
(Is it in the pit of my stomach, around my heart, compressing my lungs????)3. Explore the feeling.
(What colour is it? What shape is it? Is it moving? Is it shiny or dull? Moving or still? etc)4. Give expression to the feeling.
(made the sound of it, wrote about it in my journal, paint it, draw it, sing about it)
You probably don’t want to do this in public.5. Allow the feeling to expand within you. Invite it in.
(As it grows it will feel like its going to drown you. Just let it keep coming – it will dissipate.)

6. Replace the empty sensation with an emotion you choose.
(As it dissipates and you feel a vacuum forming – choose what feeling you would like to carry around in that place in your body.)

You will not be disappointed with this process.