10 ways to change how you feel

by Henrik Edberg

Being able to manage and change your feelings is one of the most important things in personal development.

You might have all the logical and rational reasons in the world to do something, but then your emotions can just sweep in and pull everything to a grinding halt. Having your feelings for work you instead of against you can have a massive effect on your life.

There are many ways to change how you feel. Here are 10 ways that don’t include chocolate, pain or alcohol and that actually work.

All of them might not work right away, it’s a bit like learning to ride a bike. You don’t learn it by reading about it and the first times you try you might fall. But remember when you were a kid learning to ride a bike. You just got up of the ground, brushed yourself of and got on that bike again and again and again.

1. Relax
This one is easy but just remembering that you can relax when you feel all tensed up can work wonders. You might realise that much of that tension was something you just built up in your own mind.

In “A guide to the the Huna way – mastering your hidden self” King Serge Kahili writes this about effort and relaxation:

”When people are trying to change a habit of thought or behaviour, they often complain that it takes too much effort. Others may criticize them for not having a strong enough will. What actually happens is that such people are trying to force a habit to change by using their muscles against it, and this is true whether the habit is physical or mental.

This kind of forceful attempt creates tension that locks up the body’s energy and makes people feel worn out. They end up literally fighting themselves, which is rarely effective. All you really have to do is make your decision by your will, relax your muscles, and direct your attention in the way you want to go, until the new habit is established. If you ever feel that using your will is an effort relax and Start over.”

2. Ask different questions
We are always asking ourselves questions, but they might be questions that aren’t really that good. Instead of asking yourself: “why must I do this?”, ask yourself “how can I make this more fun for me?” or “how can this help me?”. Don’t ask yourself “will I be able to do this?”, instead ask “how will I do this?”.

Ask better questions that empowers you.

Questions that presupposes that you have the power over your own life.

Questions that directs your focus to solutions and opens your mind to new possibilities instead of questions that just makes you feel trapped and lousy.

3. Smile
Smiling gives you a boost of happiness. Try forcing yourself to smile for thirty seconds right now. The great feelings that make you smile works in reverse too. By making yourself smile, no matter how you feel, your body will start releasing all those wonderful chemicals that makes you feel happy. Try it right now and feel the difference.

4. Appreciate things
This is one of the most simple and effective ways to just feel so much better. Just look around yourself. Appreciate the good food you’re eating, the hot woman or man walking past you, the kids playing and just having fun in the mud puddles, all the possibilities in your life, all the great things about your friends and your family, the birds singing… Ok, so perhaps it sounds a bit corny.

But it really works. And it’s great to try to change your mindset to one where you appreciate the things in your everyday life instead of taking them for granted.

5. Interrupt your thought pattern
You might be feeling down or you are procrastinating. Maybe nothing is working out for you today. You just want to go home and go to bed. Here’s where you might want to interrupt your thought pattern. And you do that simply by doing something unexpected and totally different from what you are doing now.

Some suggestions; take a glass of water, throw it in own your face. Or jump up and down ten times singing the chorus from “We are the champions” by Queen at the top of you lungs. Or imagine your negative inner voice sounding like Goofy. Do something that totally breaks your thought pattern. Something humours is nice because it’s often the opposite to a depressed or anxious state that you would like to break out of. And laughter and smiles breaks tension too.

When you have done that you might not be able to able to find your way back to that previous train of thought. Much like when you have a conversation, someone comes up to you and asks a question and then when you turn around again back to you friend you can’t remember what the two of you were talking about. You feel confused and your state has changed. Make up five things to do that really breaks your pattern and try them out. You may also want to try and find a couple that you can do among other people too without being labelled as crazy.

6. Use an external stateboost
On one of his audiotapes Tony Robbins mentions that before one of his guest-speakers or coaches goes up on stage they watch videos with Eddie Murphy. It puts them in a great state before performing. As you might have guessed, that tape wasn’t recorded this year or even this century. Eddie’s been in a slump for a while.

This is a great idea and you probably already using it to some degree. Anyways, here are some suggestions. Change and boost your emotional state with some of your favourite music, maybe a couple of YouTube-clips, an episode of the Simpsons (or your favourite sitcom), personal development-cds, -books or –websites. Or perhaps Eddie Murphy’s “Delirious” or “Raw”. That’s some side-splittingly funny stand-up.

7. Eat. But not too much. Or too little
If you feel tired and frustrated maybe you just need to eat to get your energy back and your blood sugar up to a more healthy level. But don’t eat too much or you’ll feel tired and lazy. Don’t eat to little either or pretty soon you’ll feel just as bad as you did before you ate. Also, it you’re sitting most of the day, take it a bit easy on the carbs and the size of your portions. You may have been raised to eat large and healthy meals, but maybe your father and mother had more physical jobs…

8. Create a physical anchor
Ok, this one might take a while but it seems to work for many people. Basically you stand up, close your eyes and imagine an emotional state that you want to able to snap into on command. As an example I imagined a time when I felt really powerful and confident. I stood, I breathed and I moved the way I did that one time. Then while I was back in that state both physically and mentally I snapped the fingers of my right hand. Over and over. Over and over and over again. The theory is that you link up that emotion with the physical act of snapping your fingers.

Did it work? Yeah, actually it kinda does. When I snap my fingers I get an emotional boost and go into that state again. However, the effect is not 100%. It doesn’t feel as good as it did that one time. But it’s my first anchor and by practicing more, I think especially by trying to visualize and feel that state even more intensely, the anchors are likely to become more and more accurate.

Anchoring is based on Ivan Pavlov and his experiments with dogs and bells but has been developed by people in the field of NLP (neurolinguistic programming).

9. Open yourself up to other possibilities that are more beneficial to you
Have some faith that the way you view work, relationships, money, exercise, life and those other things are not the only way to see them. Having the feeling that you are right about something and “know how things work” can feel really good. It’s instant gratification and gives you security and comfort.

But it also limits you by closing your mind to other avenues of thought and personal development. Seek out a couple of experts’ advice in the area that you are having problems with. Use google and amazon, just dive in to the subject for a while to get a basic understanding. Most likely there are things you can do both to remedy the problem and to change you perspective on this trouble area. There are often more solutions than one or two to a problem.

10. Recall your positive experiences and memories
It’s easy to be overcome by negative internal chatter. “I can´t do this, what if they think I´m incompetent, God I´m gonna fail, I´m gonna fail and this why did I take this shirt, it’s so ugly”. And so on.

When preparing for a meeting, a job interview, a presentation, asking someone for a date or anything that makes you really nervous recall your positive memories from similar experiences. Think back to when you were funny and charming in the bar. Remember the times when you were confident and relaxed during previous meetings and interviews. Let a few of your best memories wash over you. Let them drown out your negative thoughts.

This will make you remember the positive and wonderful sides of yourself. The qualities and your inner possibilities that are always there but we often forget about them when we get caught up in a cloud of negative thoughts and feelings. Focusing on these positive experiences instead of those negative ones that always seem to be closer at hand can make a big difference.

Learning to direct you feelings more and more have implications beyond feeling better. By feeling better you will more constantly start to see the world in another way and you will start to see other, more beneficial options. And your feelings will start to work for you instead of stopping you when you want to take action.

And try to use these suggestions from the perspective of yourself when you were a kid trying to learn to ride that bike. If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself of and try again.




If you enjoyed this article, then get email updates (it's free)
Join over 59,426 awesome subscribers today and get practical personal development advice in your inbox.













Print Friendly

{ 35 comments }

Mahapatra October 16, 2006 at 4:56 pm

Excellent one, keep it up

Henrik Edberg October 19, 2006 at 12:26 pm

Thank you very much!

Den December 5, 2006 at 2:27 pm

8. Create a physical anchor – a very good thing.
Being a chronic procrastinator myself just for the reason of attitude problem (plussed with guilt, inconfidence and anxiety) I have noticed that this kind of thing helps to overcome your temporary weakness and to make you going. Though, in my case I used to do it quite intuitively. It wasn’t snapping fingers to remind about your powerful and confident state of mind. In fact, it was a parfume that I used when I was much more successful. Suddenly smelling it, would eventually bring the memories of that time (i.e. my mental state at the time) and it would lull me into it again.
Though snapping fingers requires conscious and constant reminding about it.

Thanks,

Gina December 29, 2006 at 6:09 pm

This all is fine if just in a bad mood, but what about when you are such a mess you just wish you were dead?

Julie February 23, 2007 at 5:48 am

It’s when you’re such a mess you wish you were dead that you most need to try something like this. I stumbled on it by accident & am very grateful. Most of the ideas cost nothing, so what do you have to lose? Maybe they’ll help me beat long term depression & change my life. Many thanks.

Victoria April 19, 2007 at 11:52 pm

How about when you are such a mess,you feel so dead and so physically hurt, you are in a rut. i think i’ll implement these ideas and make a change for the better. This is not what my life was like not so long ago.

John May 2, 2007 at 3:02 pm

You are just amazing!…

alice May 10, 2007 at 11:47 pm

I feel i am a good person but i have the problem to cling to the past and to bad thoughts, i do my best to fight myself and rejection espescially of my mother ,my childhood my self esteem is always low mostly in this period of time i have many emotions of giult and self pity i try to find help mostly from my husband but i think he got tired of hearing same things the situation degrevated a bit between us i do not know what to do ? we still love each other but the problem is me and i just hate myself for this and i can understand him but i cannot help myself and at this point of life i got depressed .I feel like i am in deep hole i am trying to climb but i keep falling back i just need a helping hand .I am a person that a minute ago i am alright the other i am low than maybe rebellious. My lifestyle is always at home with two kids most of the time alone cause husband works a lot . I know this paragraph i am writing should be confidential and i should not be so open but i have been too closed to myself and i just need a friend who rescues me and is not a fake but what should i do maybe you can help .I do not know you but i hope there is some way that i can change my perspective of life and maybe feel more confident assertive and happy it is my dream to be a different person cause for now i do not like myself i just need someone who understands me thanks for your presence as a helping person

Gene June 1, 2007 at 11:50 pm

5. Interrupt your thought pattern –
I have a haunting negative inner voice that keeps putting me down, for instance, people are making fun of me, talking about me, etc.etc. I feel better knowing the inner voice sounds like Goofy..Thank You

Riyannah June 24, 2007 at 8:34 pm

it is wonderful to learn that there are ways to boost your approach to life. It is good to know that there is some one out there who is sharing life altering tips. thank u. keep up the good work

A reader June 27, 2007 at 10:00 pm

http://priscillaortiz.blogspot.com/2007/06/change-how-you-feel.html

I presume that Positivity Blog is the original author, but this blog long has the exact same article, but doesn’t cite the source.

Lillie September 30, 2007 at 7:13 pm

These are great, Thanks for sharing. I especially like the 4th one ‘Appreciate things’. Gratitude is very important!

In response to the comments on this article that were saying what if you are feeling a mess and stuck in a rut. I’d like to share with them, that anyone can change their habits. Just know that it takes time. I was once feeling my life was hopeless and a friend bought it to my attention that how we live, think and act is all based on our habits. We can change old habits and adapt new one. It takes consistent effort at first, but in time becomes near effortless as most habits do.

I’m still chipping away and adding a new, but I am enjoying the journey of knowing it is possible to change no matter where you come from.

sundip October 2, 2007 at 7:36 am

Hi,
Thanks it really works.

Heather October 22, 2007 at 1:49 am

This website was a new opening in my mind w anxiety.There are countless people who can benefit from this information.I have a constant battle in my mind w negative thoughts.The word Goofy was excellent way to stop a anxiety attack before it happens.I have tired it and it works!!! Thank You!

Melanie Painter October 25, 2007 at 12:30 pm

It’s definitely great to be in control of your emotions rather than have them control you. Has anyone heard of EFT, it stands for Emotional Freedom Techniques. I’ll admit that sounds a little ‘Californian’ but it’s great. It involves tapping on acupressure points with your own fingers whilst you tune into your current dilemma or issue and then tap on those points. It balances your energy system which in turn focuses your mind so you can view that same issue with a little distance and feel more control of your feelings. Check out http://www.emofree.com it’s the main site where you can learn all about it and how to do it.

Sheetal November 2, 2007 at 7:19 am

amazing article

Afreen Faiyaz November 17, 2007 at 3:02 pm

hi! your article is amazingly motivational. After a series of failures at job interviews it has breathed a new life into my collapsing confidence.Thanx for the great favor!

Secret A November 23, 2007 at 4:31 pm

i can sometimes move very tenseley (when i feel tense) and because i try to be confident and happy whilst feeling scared, shy, lost, weird etc it comes across as weird. I did a presentaton with my group earlier this year and when looking back at it i look a mess, my eyes are going all over the place my hand movement is very tense the way my mouth (lips) moves is tense and really fast and it just looks weird. Is there any tips on how to overcome this? If anyone would like to see a copy of this presentation let me know and i will send you a copy so you can analyse it and give me your view of it.

k December 1, 2007 at 5:17 pm

this is a wonderful document. I particularly found the tip on jumping up and down extremely helful and funny, i could not stop laughing.
just a quick answer to secret a, well what you could do when delivering a presentation is pretend that the audience is full of tiny sweet little children who do not know much. and you are their fountain of knowledge.. it worked for Mahatma Ghandi ji, and it works for me. Remember , you know more than you think.

Troy December 23, 2007 at 11:30 am

I think if I had a camera in space that allow me view the general human behaviour, I will be more at ease with my life?

mat December 28, 2007 at 8:52 pm

for cryin out loud people , my theory is that i think we are reinforcing the aspect to over anylyse everything. im on this website for the same reasons you are .a questionable self asteem issue. but to date the best way ive ever been able to combat social anxiety is to say.. f#ck it lifes is a bloody crazy lanscape ,and its the same for everyone. when you feel low, picture yourself kicking the black dog in the ass and then tell yourself you do this because life has so many challenges but you just sent that one home with its tail between its legs.then turn to the next person next to you and say ….. make me laugh now, or i’ll have to go home to my dehydrated pot plants… they usually ablige and soon you forget about your paranoid conscience.. albeit temporarily. na none of this actually works ,maybe just classify ourselves as questioning ,sensative crusaders of justice.

blackmyth February 8, 2008 at 7:29 am

not bad.

nidhi February 19, 2008 at 12:58 pm

IT’S GREAT…….

Chinthaka Hapuarachchi March 27, 2008 at 8:24 am

Those information of this web site is better to develop our personality as a team member, Also it’s very helpful to understand the difference of humans behaviours.
Thanks a lot.

vasuki April 15, 2008 at 9:44 am

IT IS VERY USEFUL TO IMPROVE MY PESONALITY

sagar May 9, 2008 at 10:21 am

its a nice thing which i did today….

maureen May 14, 2008 at 10:51 pm

thank u! :) this def made me feel better yay!!!

moizzle May 14, 2008 at 10:52 pm

thank u!!!! :)

purushot July 13, 2008 at 8:33 am

good one and everyone follow or have personal development he/she will sucess in he/she life

Ive August 1, 2008 at 10:42 pm

Really helps!!!
recalling good memories gives so much confidence, not only that but also makes you feel happier!

Cat August 16, 2008 at 10:03 am

Wonderful .. What I really love is creating the physical anchor and also remembering positive memories. It actually helps a lot to give a serious issue(at least to you) a funny face or boosting up yourself

Diane February 19, 2009 at 8:19 am

I like your website (because it IS a great place to learn how to be positive) and I love the suggestions in this particular post (especially number 5). Keep it up, please!

danny boy March 9, 2009 at 5:00 am

MY WORD :P

it’s as if god has tapped me on the shoulder and shown me the way .

It’s extremely packed full of goodness chi

No 5 is thy favourite

I think we all love self pity to a certain extent …thats why we have whordes of dirty emo’s.

I myself love putting up songs that reflect my every mood on myspace ,…even if it is a sad one … but in this way i seem to wallow in my failures…
this has shed some light on the matter. and made me change my ways (y)

The anchor also, works for me with smell haha ..-strange

good show :P

Chuck March 12, 2010 at 6:14 am

Gina, I know it is late coming but please get help, also, you are hot. This was very helpful to me. Thanks

OCD July 11, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Wow so. . . not to be rude but almost every time you used the word “to”, it should have been “too”. Great job, though. :)

Previous post:

Next post: