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.
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.
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.