ACTION #2: CHOOSING YOUR THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS
 

This article is for anyone wanting to take control of their life and create a life they love, enjoy and are inspired by.  A life that is truly beautiful!!

action # 2:  CHOOSING YOUR THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS

Villa Cimbrone in Ravello (Amalfi Coast, Italy).

Are you feeling down and out about yourself lately? Maybe everyone and everything is getting on your nerves and you just can’t see a way out of this mess?!

Want to start feeling better right now? I have the antidote and you can too!

THOUGHT COMPARISON

First, let's consider some negative thoughts that people commonly experience:

I hate my job. 

I'm overweight.

I don't have any real friends. 

Now, let's consider these alternative thoughts:

I am working in a job, which pays my bills and is strengthening my skills in communication.  

I have a body that supports me.

I have friends in my life. 

My guess is that these last lot of thoughts left you feeling a whole lot better than the first lot! This is because your thoughts create your emotions and by changing your thoughts, you change your emotions.  

So, the antidote to feeling bad is: Choosing thoughts, which make you feel good!

why we need to select our thoughts

Keeping your mind clean. Photo taken inside Alcázar of Seville, Spain. 

By purposefully selecting thoughts which create positive or neutral emotions, we change the way we feel for the better.  This in turn attracts experiences into our lives, which support the thoughts and feelings we want to have. It also means we become more aware of the thoughts and feelings we have on a day to day basis.  And... awareness is everything as once we become aware, we have the power to change our behaviour.  

I still remember exactly where I was when I first learned that I have the power to decide exactly how I think and feel and that I am 100% responsible for my thoughts and emotions.  Although it took me a while (...and some further reminders) to really learn this technique, it has truly been a game changer and I believe it is the most important technique I have learned to date as it puts all the power into your hands.

Let's have a go now and try it! 

Action #2 to Create a Life that is Beautiful

Over the next 7 days I want you to stop yourself whenever you are feeling down (whether that be stressed, anxious, sad, depressed, basically any emotion which makes you feel bad or puts you in a negative headspace) to observe the thoughts you are having and write them down.  

For each of the thoughts you write down I want you to consider:

(a)   Whether the thought is an indisputable fact;

(b)  How the thought makes you feel; and

(c)   Whether the thought serves you.

If the thought is making you feel bad or puts you in a negative headspace, then it is likely not an indisputable fact or serving you.  This thought is simply a self-limiting thought or belief and you need to remove it from your life.   Say goodbye, NOW!

Consider instead a thought you could have about the same situation, that creates either a positive emotion or simply states the facts.  Write that thought down.  This is the new thought you will consciously replace your old one with.  

EXAMPLES

Lilac hair don't care.  See that smile? I'm choosing thoughts that make me feel good.  Photo take on Regents Canal in London, England.

Thoughts about jobs/career

I hate my job - this thought does not nothing to serve you because it creates negative emotion and it is not an indisputable fact. 

My job gives me the opportunity to connect with so many wonderful people and is giving me skills I need in order to move on to something else amazing - this thought serves you because it creates positive emotion and while the "wonderful" and "amazing" might not be indisputable, the rest of the thought is. 

I have a job and it pays my bills - this thought serves you because it is neutral and contains only indisputable facts. 

Thoughts about weight

I am fat - this creates a negative emotion and is not an indisputable fact and therefore it does not serve you.  I don't care if you are technically "overweight", the shame and negativity that comes from the use of the word "fat" completely outweighs (no pun intended!) any "truth". 

My body is a temple - this thought creates positive emotion and in my opinion this is also an indisputable fact (not literally but the meaning behind the statement) and therefore this thought does serve you. 

I have a body - this is a thought I have to give credit to Brooke Castillo for (see below) and one that I think is just a wonderful example of a neutral statement to make when coming up with a thought to create positive emotion is not available to you.  Can you see how simply stating the facts in a neutral way is much better than a thought, even if the thought is "true", which creates negative emotion?

Thoughts about relationships

My boss is a jerk - again, this thought does absolutely nothing to serve you because it creates negative emotion and is not an indisputable fact (they probably have someone out there loving them!)

My boss is great at bringing projects to completion - this thought creates appreciation which is of course a positive emotion and is therefore a thought that serves you. 

I have a boss - this is another example of a thought creating a neutral emotion and containing only indisputable facts. 

Need more help? For similar exercises to the one above, I recommend:

  • completing Byron Katie's 'Do The Work
  • listening to episode #2 of Brooke Castillo's, The Life Coach School;
  • listening to episode #87 of Jess Lively's, The Lively Show podcast episode with Brooke Castillo.

Photo taken from Villa Cimbrone in Ravello (on the Amalfi Coast, Italy).

So, why can’t we simply change our emotions, without changing our thoughts? 

While yes, we can also simply choose which emotions we want to feel and simply feel them (try it now, remember a time you felt joyful? Sit in that memory and feel the feeling of joy). The problem is we have programmed our brain to think certain things and respond with particular emotions. This is called a thought pattern and these occur automatically and unconsciously.  So if we don't change the thought, we won't break the cycle.

Most of our thought patterns were learnt when we were very young, still a child and so changing thought patterns has to be a conscious process because we are BREAKING AWAY from many years of thinking and reacting in a certain way. This is harder than it sounds! But it is well worth it because once you break away from the thoughts that are not serving you, you make room for thoughts that do.  

REAL LIFE

When sucky things happen, this means you get to decide what they mean to you and how you are going to feel.  For instance, just the other day I was walking home through the streets of London late in the evening by myself and I was "egged" with a handful of ice cream by a young girl with a backwards cap.  At first I had no idea what had hit me (literally) and then I felt really uneasy because I didn't know if I was in serious danger and then I started to think about all that I might have done to bring this situation upon me.  This made me feel like I wanted to start crying.  But as soon as I felt those negative emotions come on, I thought to myself: Leticia, you have been hit with ice cream by some kid up to mischief late at night, luckily it wasn't anything serious. You don't have to make this mean anything. 

Immediately, I felt so much better because I had shifted my emotion to a neutral place. While I do think this was a good wake up call for why I shouldn't walk home alone late in the evening - I didn't make it mean anything else because I am in control of my reality.  How wonderful is that?!

Choosing to feel good, by choosing thoughts that support me. Photo taken in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England. 

WRAP UP

Just because we have a thought does not mean we have to believe them.  By choosing thoughts which uplift you and create positive (or neutral) emotions you will instantly start to feel better.  Understanding that our brains have been hardwired for efficiency to think and react emotionally in certain ways and becoming aware of those patterns, is the first step to taking back control of your life.  You have the power to feel better now and it all starts with choosing the right thoughts.  In fact, if you joined me in completing Action #1 last week you have already began doing this!

So lovely people, join me this week in feeling better by spending 5 minutes every day observing your thoughts and following the steps I have set out above to remove and replace thought patterns which are not serving you!

Please keep me updated on how you are going and make sure you share this article with any friends who you think might resonate with this topic or might like to share this journey with you. 

If you need support at any moment along this journey, please: leave me a comment; or send me a message; or send me an email, to let me know how you are doing. As always, I care and I appreciate you and thank you so much for joining me here. 

You are worthy and wonderful, with so much to contribute to the world! We all have unique skills, abilities and interests and I wholeheartedly believe that by embracing those, finding your platform and choosing love, joy and inspiration along the way you make the world a better place. :-)

Join me next week for Action #3 which is all about being present.  Make sure you don't miss out by subscribing to receive my weekly newsletter below.  

Lots of love,
Leticia