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“Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings….”

Many of you won’t remember this modern musical marvel, written by Morris Albert Cir. 1975. Though this is a sappy love song, the first line of its lyrics gives us some insight into these states of being called feelings.

All feelings are temporary states of being. It is impossible to feel angry ALL the time, just as it is to feel happy ALL the time. Thus, feelings are brief states that direct human behavior. The picture accompanying this blog demonstrates just how many feelings a person may experience at any given time, and most are extensions of 7 core feelings. Impressive list, huh? This list doesn’t even scratch the surface of the number of human emotions in existence.

No matter what you’re currently feeling, we can predict that it will soon change- sometimes in a matter of seconds. This can be both positive and negative in that we desire for positive feelings (happiness, gratitude, pride) to last forever and negative feelings to pass quickly.

I have some ‘happy’ news for you: We have the ability to control our feelings. I know, I know…”Nellie, please. You know how difficult it is to get out of a ‘bad mood’?!” I sure do! It takes as long as you want it to take! (it’s a good thing you’re reading this, keeping me safe from any number of objects being heaved at my head).

Truth be told, we actually choose our feelings most of the time. This generally occurs in response to an environmental stimulus. This means we can actually choose the feeling in which we respond to said stimuli. Your boss just told you that you’re falling behind in productivity? Well, you can choose any number of feelings here. And I’m willing to bet most people’s go-to feeling may include humiliation, despair, anger, or insecurity. What if I told you that you could actually choose and experience a positive feeling in response to this event? (seriously, stop throwing things at me!)

Instead of relying on our ‘go-to’ feelings of turmoil, we can choose more positive feelings in response to that nagging boss- such as inspired, eager, and energetic. Choosing the positive feelings over the negative feelings dictates the behavior that follows. If you feel inspired, eager, and energetic about your boss’s message, you will brainstorm and find ways to increase your productivity. This will make your boss very happy. And when your boss is happy, you are happy. Your spouse is happy. Hell, your dog is happy! In a sense, those positive feelings fuel more positive feelings which fuel more positive feelings in others.

So, yeah, yeah, Nellie. You’ve learned the secret to living a perfect life. Ha! If only it were this easy. Learning to change our feelings and behavior in situations takes practice. It takes mindfulness. It takes courage and perseverance. At times it even takes a therapist, like me!

If you are having difficulty managing your feelings, give me a call. Let me help you sort through them and find more productive ways of responding to your environment. This will lend to a happier, more productive, and purposeful life.

(…and you can leave your rotten tomatoes at home)

If this doesn't impress you, may I suggest you find the feeling above that matches your current state and drop me a comment about it below! I'd love to hear about it!

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