Now that you’ve learned ways to manage your thoughts, it’s time to gain control of your emotions. You took the first step in the last lesson. Thoughts produce emotions.
Most people are surprised when they learn they can change emotions. Sometimes it seems emotions “just appear.” They are actually triggered. You have the power and ability to tame those painful emotions. The skills you learned in the last lesson have prepared you for this lesson.
Feelings Are Important
Before you learn how to change feelings, it’s crucial to know that feelings aren’t bad. Feelings are a natural human response to what happens in life. They are a signal of what brings joy and where you are hurting.
For example, if you’re with friends and someone brings up getting married, you could recall fondly your own marriage, or you could feel sadness because you’re not married and would like to be.
What may be happy to one person may remind you of someone or something painful. Knowing how to work with your feelings when this happens is empowering. These feelings aren’t bad; they’re painful.
The Role of Grief
Whenever you experience a loss, you move through the stages of grief. The loss could range from scuffing your new shoes to the horror of betrayal. The stages of grief are the same for both but more intense for the more painful and life-changing event.
When you scuff your shoes, you’ll go through the stages quickly and, probably, once. When you’ve been betrayed, you go back and forth through the various stages with changes in the type and intensity of feelings.
The more deeply you’ve been hurt, the longer it takes to navigate the stages of grief. Be patient with yourself as you use the tools below to navigate through the feelings.
Take Care of Your Long-Term Health
When in the midst of the pain of grief, it’s difficult to think about the consequences of your feelings on your physical, mental, and emotional health.
It’s crucial for your long-term emotional and physical health to feel, work through, and release the feelings which come from grief. In cases of betrayal or the ending of a relationship, it takes time to navigate those feelings.
For your emotional, mental, and physical health, it’s important to release the anger, anxiety, and despair which can accompany loss. The sooner you’re able to do this, the more quickly you can move on to your new future.
Adapting What You’ve Learned to Release Destructive Feelings
Discover how to adapt what you learned in managing your thoughts to learning how to change your feelings:
1. The Mirror. In the early stages after someone has betrayed, abandoned, or otherwise hurt you, it’s important to encourage and support yourself. As you stand in front of the mirror looking yourself in the eye, say aloud to yourself:
- “Yes, this is terrible, but you will make it through this.”
- “Yes, (whatever you need to say about the situation), but you will make it through this.”
- After about a month or so, change your messages to:
- “It’s over. Let it go and move on.”
- “They’re not worth staying stuck. Let’s get moving.”
- When you do this, you are telling your subconscious mind, “Yes, I recognize this is difficult, but I know I’ll get better.”
2. Put all your feelings in a letter…. Then burn it.
- Use the same process you used in releasing thoughts. This time, focus on your feelings.
- When you’re ready to burn the letter, say, “I release this relationship, this situation, and all my associated feelings. I’m beginning a new life!”
- Remember to write long-hand and not with a computer. This method is an excellent way to get those feelings out.
3. Change your feelings. It doesn’t matter where your feelings come from, you can change them. Learning to change your feelings requires some advanced preparation.
- Recall at least three wonderful memories.
- Write each one out in detail using all five senses. Get in touch with the feelings you had at that event.
- When you catch yourself feeling miserable, tell yourself, “Nope, I’m not going to waste this time on feelings that make me miserable.”
- Immediately recall one of those three happy memories. Immerse yourself in that memory until the other feeling is gone.
- Because of the way the brain works, focusing on the happy and wonderful feeling cancels out the unhappy one. The more you do this the more your brain is trained to focus on the positive.
As you learned how to change your feelings, you noticed that the exercises were similar to the one of changing thoughts. Thoughts produce feelings.
In the next lesson, you’ll learn how to change your behavior so you can release the past and move to the future.
Before you go to the next lesson, please take time now to do the following exercise to anchor in what you’ve learned.
Take the time now to write out the wonderful memories you’ll use to knock out the painful memories. Put in as much sensory detail as possible. Include:
- How it looked (colors, shapes)
- How it sounded (voices, music, people’s comments)
- How it felt (your own feelings and how your body felt)
- How it smelled
- How it tasted (foods, drink, imagine tasting something there like a blade of grass)
- Describe an event in which you were proud.
- Describe an event in which you were excited.
- Describe an event in which you were peaceful.
I. Additional Resources:-
I channel my emotions towards positive choices.
I embrace my emotions because they connect me to my true inner self. They help me honestly express how I feel. My feelings are an integral part of me.
Even when what I am going through generates negative feelings, I use my emotions constructively. It is easy for me to find solutions to issues when I am emotionally charged up.
Sometimes taking a moment to confront my emotional state is what I need. Giving myself that chance helps me to turn any negativity into a learning experience. When I view my feelings that way, I am able to make sound choices.
Today, I take hold of each of my emotions because they help to complete me. I am committed to using them to build a healthy and positive existence. My decisions in life are based on acknowledging and respecting my true self.
- How do I make the necessary adjustment when I find myself caught up in negative emotions?
- When is it okay for me to acknowledge that I am unsure of what decision to make?
- What can I do to manage my emotions so they are more positive?
II. Additional Resources:-
I set myself free when I release emotional burdens.
There is so much to be said for freeing myself from things that weigh me down. When I release emotional burdens, I feel like an uncaged bird.
Emotional burdens come when I remain in a relationship that breaks me instead of building me. Although I sometimes feel the urge to keep going, I recognize the impact on my well-being.
Remaining in a toxic relationship affects my happiness and health. There is great value in deciding to draw a line for the sake of my own physical and emotional wellness.
When I hang out with friends who gossip and express desires for what others have, I feel unfulfilled. Negative energy dulls my spirit and moves me away from a great existence.
Saying goodbye to uncreative timewasters does my body, mind, and soul good. I feel like there is more space to make a positive impact on the world. When I focus on positive things like spirituality and physical wellness, I feel more accomplished. There is power in letting go.
I embrace the opportunities to be happy and at peace. Those are the times when I am able to live my best life.
Today, I vow to release myself of each thing that is weighing me down emotionally. My days are well spent when I make room for healthy energy. There is beauty in giving myself the space to grow in a meaningful and positive way.
- What are some of the emotional burdens that I am better off letting go of?
- How do I know when something is weighing me down?
- Where do I go to be quiet and introspective?