I know I’ve been writing a lot these days about the power of emotions. But understanding how they work in your life is the key to living the life you desire. Or at least feeling good about the life you’re living.
Science shows that we can choose our emotions and influence every aspect of our lives. Choose a higher emotion, feel better, better things happen. Go with anger, sadness, anxiety — get more of that in return.
If you want to have a happier, healthier experience then choose healthier, happier emotions.
Think about it: If you move up slightly from anger to mild irritation and you’re on the road to peace. Go from suffering to indifference and you’re headed for joy.
But if you’re buried deep in dismal feelings and having a hard time identifying the bigger, better-feeling here are some quick ways you can find the empowering emotion and turn it on.
Turn on a song. I know it’s cheesy, but I love that old Earth Wind and Fire song “Do you remember, the blah, da, blah,da (don’t know the words) of September.” It makes me happy. When I’m not feeling that way, I find that song and from there I’m able to choose other more positive emotions.
Gratitude journal. Write or say the things you’re grateful for. Gratitude has become, well, trendy. And it is the fastest, easiest, truest way I know of raising your emotion and feeling better in an instant. It is so hard to feel angry, sad, beaten when you think of the good you have going on.
Get outside. Our connection to nature hits us on a primal level. And a quick glance at the ocean or a breath of fresh air, watching a sunrise on a sunny day – those things are really good at flipping the switch of a higher emotion.
Pick up the phone. When I’m feeling low or mad or scared, I pick up the phone and call a friend. Nothing feels better than to lament and laugh with somebody who believes in you even on your crazy days. Social connection is also a way to ward of depression and physical ailments, according to the Big Wigs. So respect and love your friends when they are down in the dumps and turn to them when you need the same.
Smell something good. Scents are powerful links to memory. Pick a smell that brings back good memories and your good feelings will return. The scent of vanilla reminds me of good times when I was a kid and cinnamon makes me think of happy, festive times. So tap into the pleasant smelling lotions, light up the candles, and use potpourri to bring up the good memories and boost your spirits.
Get curious. Sit quietly and let the emotion you’re experiencing wash over you. Sit with keen awareness. Feel it. What thoughts do you have about it? Where does it sit in your body? Are your shoulders tight? Move into your sadness or anger and experience it physically. Often when we shine a light on something, when we understand it better, it losing it’s potency and seems a whole lot less threatening. Think about Scooby Doo when they finally pull of the bad guy’s mask at the end. The mask is super scary, but when they go underneath, it’s just that weak, wrinkled old caretaker. Nothing to be afraid of.
Do something for someone else. Often our strongest emotions trap us in self absorption. It becomes all about us and our fears and our problems and how the world is out to get us. Turn that around and make it about someone else. Sweep a neighbor’s porch. Take soup to a sick friend. Volunteer at your kid’s school. Take a load of canned foods to the food bank. Do something that is NOT about you.
You could also add exercise to this list , prayer, meditation, journaling, dancing. Whatever works. Just know that you have the power to choose how you feel. Choose wisely.
O.K. enough said on that. For awhile. Probably.
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