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How Do I Feel Better?

feel better with life coach

So many clients ask me “How do I feel better?”  and even when the situation is different, the answer isn’t. 

You decide to feel better.  

You choose how you feel

That sounds too easy, right?  I thought so at first as well.  It sounds simple yet it’s not always clear to us at the moment.  How can it be as simple as deciding or choosing how to feel?

How do I feel better if it’s my husband who is annoying me?

Your husband or anyone else in your life can behave any way they want.  You are responsible for how they or their actions make you feel.   It’s not a person’s behaviour or their words that create your feelings, it’s what you think about them.  This is such great news, trust me.  What you think about what the person is doing is what is causing you to feel a certain way.  When you are in a bad mood, it’s never what is happening around you, it’s your thoughts that are creating the mood you are in.

Who is to blame?

If you blame someone else for how you feel then you put yourself in the tough place of needing them to change for you to feel better.    That would be very hopeless, always waiting for others to change so we feel better.  Don’t get me wrong, them stopping could make a difference, but why do you want to be at their mercy?  I help people see the power they have to change the way they feel in any situation.  You don’t need anyone else to change so that you can feel anything you want. 

So how DO we feel better?

Understanding that the way you feel is driven by what you are thinking, is the key.  When this is clear you will see that you decide how you feel.  By accepting that you can feel whatever you want, at any time, you have full control.   When a friend is doing something you usually find annoying you get to choose: Do I want to feel annoyed? Or could I choose a different thought?  Usually ‘annoyed’ for example, comes from us thinking ‘they shouldn’t behave like this’ and we don’t realize that we could also choose to think ‘I understand why they are acting this way’ and feel compassion instead.  By seeing these two choices, we can understand that there are options for what we think. 

Why do I always choose to feel bad?

It’s just what you’ve always done.  Give yourself a break on this and look for ways to be open to the possibility that you have a choice.  This openness alone can make a big difference in how your days go.

I had a client who told me that she was SO angry when her husband didn’t take out the garbage.  I explained that the reason she was so angry was that she was thinking “he should take out the garbage”.  It’s a thought she had and she felt it was true.  But I pointed out that she was choosing to feel anger.  There were also other thoughts she could have that would result in different feelings.  What if she looked at it as ‘I wonder why my husband didn’t take out the garbage?’ then you can see that this creates a feeling of curiosity – not anger.  She was choosing anger. 

Now I’m not saying that we should just try to think lovely things all the time so we feel comfortable rainbows and daisies emotions for every after.  We are humans who live in the real world where things are not amazing all the time, and that’s ok. 

The issue is that we judge or even avoid certain feelings because we don’t want to feel them.     

So, what is a feeling?

Feelings are literally vibrations in your body, physical sensations.  They are harmless on their own, until we attach meaning or judgement to them.  When we feel scared, we might feel a physical tightness in our chest or a burning feeling somewhere in our body.  That physical sensation we experience is not going to kill us.  We understandably don’t like it and it is not comfortable to feel but ultimately it doesn’t do permanent physical damage.  Lots of people watch horror movies that bring up this exact feeling and, in that situation, they consider it fun.  For the record, I am NOT one of those people and that’s ok too.

The thing is, we don’t like to feel things like that when we make it mean something about us as a person.  We make it mean we are weak, or we won’t succeed, or that we are a failure.  So, then we try to get out of feeling it by avoiding it, resisting it, distracting ourselves.  How often do you find yourself on your phone mindlessly, eating food when you aren’t hungry, or drinking too much alcohol to let go of stress?  We don’t realize that the cause of the feeling won’t go away because we avoid it.  The scary movie won’t turn itself off, YOU have to do that.  When we are avoiding a feeling we often don’t even look for the cause.  It’s easier to push it away because we know we don’t like feeling that. 

When we aren’t afraid to feel then we can figure out where that feeling is coming from.  The surprise is that it’s not anyone else but us and our thoughts.  You must be willing to feel your feelings and then choose on purpose to think different thoughts to feel better. 

How long do feelings last?

It has been said that a feeling lasts on average 90 seconds.   You are probably saying: Nope, not for me. I sometimes feel nervous or uneasy all day long, not just for 90 seconds!  What we don’t realize is that you keep thinking the same thing over and over and creating the feeling over and over.  If you only thought it once, then the resulting feeling would be over so much sooner.   When we don’t recognize that it’s a thought that is creating that feeling for us then we keep running the same thought over and over in our minds.  The feeling lingers because we let it. 

What if you had a thought, you felt the feeling that came up, then you moved on with your day.  Our feelings don’t take over unless we believe the thoughts that cause them. 

“My husband should take out the garbage.”

This created anger because my client believed that this was true.  What if she wasn’t married?  Then what?  There would be no anger at anyone else because there was no belief that someone else SHOULD do something.  My client would take the garbage out herself and move on. 

Our thoughts cause our feelings and since we have the power to choose to believe those thoughts we hold all the power to make ourselves feel better.  Until we get good at this, a life coach is a great asset to help you start seeing the thoughts and feelings you are having and to understand how they affect your life and your happiness.   For more on how I help click here.

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