We usually think that we need certain things to happen for us to feel content, relaxed, happy and secure. When things turn out the way want them to, we feel good. When things don’t turn out the way we want them to, we feel not so good.
But paying a bit more attention to our thoughts and feelings in daily life reveals that feeling good does not have to be dependent upon what happens to us. We can actually choose to live in a happier emotional space.
In a sense, we live in two worlds. The world around us consists of the people, the things, the external situations that we find ourselves in. But we also live in an inner world, consisting of our thoughts and feelings about what is going on in our external world.
By paying closer attention to our inner world, we discover that we don’t have to dwell in automatic thoughts and feelings. We can choose what we think and choose how we feel.
Our emotional reactions to life, including our attitudes, are largely a response to our thoughts about our lives. Someone may unjustly blame you for something, but if you don’t mentally interpret that as a threat, you don’t feel upset by it.
If you stress out about your kids, it is because you are thinking about your kids in a way that stresses you out. If you worry about finances or your health, your thoughts are focusing on what you don’t want to happen, and that causes you to feel insecure.
As adults we need to take responsibility for our lives, but stressing out about our lives is not actually being responsible. Stress not only feels bad, it impacts our physical bodies in negative ways. It also makes us more irritable and difficult to get along with in our relationships.
To be responsible is to do what you can for what you want. Taking constructive action is the best that any of us can do. This begins by thinking about what you want, then thinking about what you can do for it. The only time you worry or feel badly about what is happening is when you are thinking about what is happening in a way that makes you feel badly.
Right now, relax a bit, smile, take a deep breath and see if you can feel a bit more secure, content and happy in the now. Let go of any thoughts that cause you to feel unhappy, annoyed or anxious. Just focus on how you are feeling in the now.
When you focus on the now you find it possible to adjust your feelings, to calm down, to appreciate the good that is here, to let yourself be. When you let yourself be, by not troubling yourself over this or that, you naturally begin to feel better.
See what happens if you spend the next week making the choice to feel good in the now, under all circumstances. When you catch yourself beginning to react with unhappy stress, take a breath and remind yourself, “Feeling good is a choice that I can make right now.”
Right now give yourself a few moments to feel better. Say to yourself silently or aloud three times: “Feeling good is a choice that I can make right now.” Then, let go of any thoughts about what you have to do, about what happened in the past (even one minute ago), about what may happen in the future. Just focus on the now and see if you can adjust your inner feelings experience a more satisfying inner state. You will probably find that you can feel at least some degree better, just by choosing to do so. Each time you do this exercise you strength your power to live a happier, and therefore a healthier, life.
In what situations do you tend to react stressfully? When do you find it most difficult to exercise your power of free choice regarding how you feel? Please feel welcome to share your experiences relating to your power to choose to feel better and to raise any questions that this blog brings up!
By Bob Lancer, Motivational Speaker and Author