Distrust Your Feelings in a Low Mood
It has been said that our Feelings are emotional responses to our thought processes. A conscious reminder of what is going on in our heads! If we think sad thoughts, we feel sad, think happy, optimistic thoughts and guess what? We feel…..you got it, happy and optimistic. Its not rocket science!
Why then do we as individuals and society in general encounter so many challenges with how we feel?
I am feeling a bit low today because……. I am feeling really good today because…….I am feeling stressed because…….. I will let you fill in the blanks but chances are you are more than familiar with these phrases.The interesting point is not so much the fact that we feel happy or stressed or tired or sad or whatever-that’s a part of being human, but the myriad of reasons we use to justify why we feel the way we do. And nine times out of ten the responsibility for how we feel lies outside of us, it’s somebody else’s fault! By way of example, I am feeling really stressed today because…..my boss takes me for granted and doesn’t pay me anywhere near what I am worth!In this example my feeling stressed is the fault of my boss. And so long as responsibility for this undesirable state remains with someone else I can play the blame game. The sad thing with that is that it might help us to feel better in the short term but it doesn’t really move us forward in life. A much more empowering response would be to accept responsibility for our own feelings. In order to do this we need to get our heads around the fact that our feelings in relation to our thoughts are quite simply a matter of cause and effect. What we do with our thoughts and how we relate to them is what determines how we are going to feel, the thought itself is neutral unless we attach meaning to it (for more on this check out THOUGHT). To re-visit our example above about the ungrateful boss, if, upon recognising that our relationship with him/her is having a negative effect on our feelings we were to change our thought process to something like, I am fortunate to have a job but would like my boss to really appreciate my true value to the business. I wonder how I can express this to him/her in a manner that is more likely to get a raise? We are far more likely to get a positive outcome from this kind of thought process and series of questions that presupposes that it is our responsibility to find a way of communicating with our boss and effecting a positive empowering outcome.
If you are reading this now feeling defensive, cynical or sceptical, guess what – you are thinking the kind of thoughts that are very unlikely to move you forward.Remember your feelings are like a conscious reminder or barometer of what is going on inside your head! Once you are aware of this, you have the opportunity to do something about it- by changing your thought process. That said, like most things in life, prevention is better than cure. Trying to get yourself out of a negative or pessimistic state of mind is a bit more difficult than not going there in the first place. As the old saying goes “perfect practice makes perfect”. The more we practice (in the correct way) being aware of our feelings and what controls them (thought) the easier things become!