Feelings are such an interesting topic because on the one hand, we as a society spend most of ours days trying to avoid feeling our feelings. And on the other hand, everything we do is driven by how we feel and how we want to feel.
What are feelings actually? Feelings are emotions and they are actual vibrations in our bodies. They are usually described in one word, such as happy, sad, excited, frustrated.
Something so amazing about feelings, that I learned only within the last year, is that all feelings are caused by our own thoughts. They are not caused by our circumstances, life situations, spouse, boss or any other person or thing outside of ourselves. Crazy right?
Think about something that makes you happy, maybe a giggling baby, a puppy rolling around, the perfect beach sunset. Now, think about something that is upsetting, like possibly the people in your life who’ve died, getting denied a raise, getting into a car accident.
Now go back to the happy feeling thoughts! ?
Can you see how just thinking about different things can give you the feeling? It is not actually the thing itself that does it. Even with my examples, maybe when you thought about those particular instances they didn’t elicit the feeling of happy or upsetting. That is because it is the way we think about it that provides the feeling.
For the baby or the puppy, maybe if I don’t really like babies or puppies, my thoughts would be: “I don’t really like babies,” or “I don’t really care about this puppy.” Therefore, thinking these thoughts would not create a happy feeling. Those thoughts could create feelings of discomfort or apathy.
What does a feeling really feel like anyway? One technique to figure this out is to ask yourself a bunch of questions about how you’re feeling now. Take a seat and a deep breath. Focus on your body and what feeling you are experiencing in this moment. Then, ask yourself and answer these questions:
– What am I feeling now?
– Where is this feeling in my body?
– What color is this feeling?
– Is this feeling hard or soft?
– Is this feeling fast or slow?
– How does this feeling make me want to react?
– Why am I feeling this?
– What is the thought or belief that is causing me to have this feeling?
By asking these questions and answering them, we are becoming more in tune with our feelings and our thoughts causing them. Why does this matter? Because we have the power to choose our thoughts and subsequently how we feel.
Many of us go through each day on autopilot and many of our emotions range from anxious and frustrated to overwhelmed and discouraged. And, because we often think that we don’t want to feel these feelings, we try to avoid them by zoning out with eating, drinking, TV, social media, etc. However, tuning out doesn’t make them go away. The feelings persist.
Once we do get fed up with feeling this way, we will often try to change our circumstances to change the feeling. If only I could get a new job, new house, new spouse, for my kids to behave better, then I will finally feel better and be happy, or at least just not this way that I’m feeling now.
The bummer with all this is that the circumstances will not change the feeling, only our thoughts change the feeling. Sometimes we do change the circumstance and feel better for a while, but that is because we changed our thoughts too.
Another interesting feature of feelings is that our feelings drive all of our actions. Meaning, anything we do or don’t do in life is driven by how we feel.
I like to use part of my morning meditation and journaling time to decide how I want to feel that day. Often during the workdays, I’m choosing feelings like, motivated, driven, accomplished and abundant. On weekends, I’m choosing fulfilled, relaxed, peaceful and grateful. I like to mix it up. And it totally works!
How often do you notice your feelings? Do you make a deliberate choice to feel a certain way each day? How would your life be different if you chose your feelings rather than let them happen by default?
I can help you dig deeper with experiencing your feelings, and choosing how to feel each day.
I’m a Life Coach, specializing in helping professionals feel rejuvenated and back in control of their lives through better sleep routines. ~ Rebekah Anderson
Click here to schedule a free 25-minute coaching session with me. I will help you get on track with your routines and your life.