Feeling good is a habit? Sure is. And it's a worthwhile one to practice. We all wanna feel good, right? Well, all that stands in between us going-through-the-motions and truly feeling good is understanding how our brains are wired and using that information to make a conscious decision to choose our thoughts wisely--literally.
You see, the things we focus our attention on are our thoughts. We have tens of thousands of them per day and they contribute to our emotions which come from our brain's limbic system and show up as physiological responses. If we get scared about speaking up at a meeting, for example, our face might turn bright red or our stomach may do flips, triggering a fight-or-flight response.
Enter, our feelings. Maybe we feel insecure or embarrassed for having an emotional fear response to speaking up. Our feelings are deeply personal and are generally acquired by our life experience, our beliefs, and the meanings we've made about the world around us.
If we feel insecure about speaking up in said meeting, chances are we probably won’t do it again. Our body remembers that emotional response and the feeling that was triggered. Then we decide not to take action for fear that our ideas may be rejected, leading to further embarrassment.
Thoughts —> Emotions —> Feelings —> Actions
So, the actions we take--getting up early to exercise and meditate or hitting snooze, yelling at our kid or taking a deep breath and explaining for the millionth time why we don't paint the couch, politely asking our boss for clarification or storming out of the room--loop back around to our thoughts: "Damn, I'm such a loser for hitting snooze", "I feel so bad for yelling at my couch-painter", "My boss is such an a**hole".
See the pattern here? What emotions are these thoughts going to evoke? Guilt? Frustration? Annoyance? Then how are we going to feel? Our bodies will be tense and we're going to feel like crap, that's how. Or maybe we'll feel tired and have a headache.
What actions are you going to take when you're feeling guilty, frustrated, annoyed, tired, and head-achey? You're likely gonna go-through-the-motions, complain about your day, ruminate about how tired you are, and how far away from your goals you feel.
Many of us are inadvertently taught to push our emotions and feelings to the side at a young age which can lead to a lifetime of this negative habit loop, AKA the-merry-go-round of inaction, feeling like crap, and excuse-making .
When I first started becoming conscious of my actions, I was stuck in a polarizing dilemma. I knew that I was either having "good" emotions or "bad" ones and I couldn't properly identify the difference between emotions and feelings.
Emotions = Physical Response
Feelings = A psychological/mental Response
It took me years to realize we can actually choose our thoughts instead of allowing our thoughts to choose us. When we choose to devote our attention to our positive, empowering thoughts we then have an easier time recognizing our emotions and feelings and, in turn, we take actions that move our life in the right direction, AKA finding our true purpose.
Feeling good comes from recognizing our capacity to choose the thoughts we give our attention to. Sounds simple, right? It is, in theory, but we have a biological tendency to get caught up in the same thoughts over and over again, especially those of us predisposed to anxiety 🙋♀️.
We need to understand that if we continue to choose anxious thoughts we're going to continue to feel. . . you guessed it, anxious. And while most of us know that anxiety feels like crap, it's familiar to us so we continue the habit loop over and over and over again. . . Until we choose differently.
Here's to choosing empowering thoughts, feeling good, and taking inspired, consistent action to create a life we love.