Being how you want to feel not how you do feel

I used to think we were largely victims of our emotions… but the more I learn and experience, the more I realize that we have more control over our feelings than I used to think we did, because our thoughts often actually control our emotions.

Obviously there will always be things that make us angry or sad, and thank goodness for that or we wouldn’t be human.  But after a certain point, dwelling on these things (or if your feelings are not lessening or changing over time) then you are stuck and it is no longer healthy.

  • Changing your perspective/thoughts can change your emotions

For example if you made a deal with someone and afterwards you start thinking that you were ripped off, you begin to feel angry.  Let’s say you are driving home after having made this deal, and by the time you get home you have worked yourself into quite a frenzy.  When you get home, let’s imagine that you google the deal you made and realize that you were not ripped off, it was a good deal for everyone, a win-win situation.  What happens to your anger?  It goes away.  The point is, that the deal didn’t change, but your perspective did. Therefore you can change your feelings by changing your perspective.  If you find yourself feeling angry or sad or ruminating about something that happened to you, you can ask yourself, “in the whole grand scheme of things, how bad is this?”  There is usually something worse that you can imagine.  Either way, if you can’t do anything to change it, again, there is no point in dwelling on it.

Now, I know this is a lot easier said, than done.  It may be something you have to remind yourself of daily (I know I have had to).  Sometimes during difficult times in our lives we struggle with this.  But if you are sick of hearing yourself complain (and your friends are probably too) then you can and should do something about it.

Be how you want to feel not how you do feel– If you feel sorry for yourself and sad,  and you don’t want to feel that way any more—act like you don’t and you’ll often find that you don’t anymore—you can tell yourself you are “okay”, and literally make yourself be okay.  (Obviously there are exceptions to this, if you are clinically depressed or having panic/anxiety attacks and are unable to control it, then you need to get professional help and consult with a physician about the possibility of taking medication for your condition.)

  1. Alan

    So can you change your perspective even if it doesn’t coincide with reality?

    • drbettina

      Well that is probably NOT a very good idea! 🙁 But I would need more information to answer that one completely. Usually you don’t actually have to distort reality in order to get a better perspective! :-p

  2. Jan R. Day

    There are other ways to cope with difficulties, even big problems and terrible emotional pain. The help of a mental health professional might be needed for major life troubles or overwhelming emotions. For other tough situations or strong emotions, it can help put things in perspective to talk problems over with parents, other adults, or friends. Getting plenty of exercise also can help put problems in perspective and help balance emotions.

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