One of the fundamental questions that almost everyone asks us is how to feel better. On this week’s episode, we are going to talk about what it takes to feel exactly the way that you want to feel. Most people think that they want to feel happy all of the time. I want to talk about exactly what it means to be happy and where all of our emotions come from. We will also discuss the keys to determining how to change the way that you think, and ultimately how you feel. This episode will change how you think about your mental health.

What you will discover

  • All of our emotions, including happiness, are created in our minds.
  • Why being thin does not always equate to being happy.
  • How to identify how it is that you actually want to feel.
  • Whatever it is you want in your life, it’s because you believe you will feel better having it.
  • How you decide to think about something determines how you feel about something.
  • How to determine the three feelings that you have most on a regular basis.

Featured on the show

Episode Transcript

Welcome to The Life Coach School podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo. Hi everybody. Welcome to the podcast. I am stoked that you’re here for round 2. I hope that you listened to the first one already and you enjoyed it enough that you’re back for a second helping of the work that I’m doing. It means a lot to me that you’re here and I am really focused on giving you everything I can to help you understand the power of coaching and how it can apply to your life. When I was thinking about the order I wanted to go through with these podcasts and what I wanted to offer you, I really thought about what most people struggle with. I started the first podcast with lack of action because most people, that’s what they present with when they come. There’s something that they want to do that they’re not doing, or there’s something that they’re doing that they can’t get themselves to stop doing. The second most common thing that people present with is how they feel. That’s what I wanted to talk to you about today. I want to talk about how to feel better, basically. I mean most people, that is their goal. They just want to feel better. When you ask people what they really want in their life, they usually break it down to, “I want to be happy.” When you ask them what that means, like when you really have them break down what exactly do you mean that you want to be happy, they’ll say, “I just want to feel happy all the time.” I think that most of us would agree that’s something that we would all want. We love the idea of being happy. I want to talk about being happy and I also want to talk about all of the other feelings that go along with living a life. We talk about happiness as maybe being something that comes upon us. Most of my clients will come to me and they’ll say something like, “It just wasn’t a happy day,” or, “I just didn’t have a happy childhood,” or, “I just don’t have a happy life.” We refer to things, such as emotions, as something outside of us and so we kind of have to dial it back in and go back to the basics and talk about exactly what it means to be happy and remind ourselves that that is completely within our control. It has nothing to do with who we’re married to or how many kids we have or whether we don’t have kids or what kind of job we have or whether we have a car that we love or a car that we don’t. All of our emotions, including happiness, are created in our minds and if you were to watch anything on TV, it would tell you otherwise. It would teach you that all of our emotions are really created outside of us by something we purchase. If we buy this certain car or if we buy this certain food, then we will be happy. So many of us are literally brainwashed by this idea believing we have to chase something external outside of us in order to change the way that we feel. Really, all advertising banks on you believing this, especially with my weight-loss clients. This is a huge issue because really, the idea is that all of the diet industry, and all of the diet foods, and all of the exercise equipment that you see on late-night TV, they’re all selling thinness as the secret to happiness and if you could just have those 6-pack abs and if you could just have that butt that that girl who’s 18 has in a bikini running down the beach, then you would be happy, and so many of us have bought into this idea hook, line and sinker. I know that I did for so many years. When I was first trying to get thin and I was trying to figure out what was going on with me that I couldn’t. I remember asking myself would I rather be thin or happy. It got me that question. It stalled me because I really, really, really wanted to be thin. I thought about it. It got me because I thought about it and I said, “But if I was happy, would I care so much about being thin?” and in fact, are those 2 things different to me, or did I believe that being thin meant I would be happy? Now, of course, you don’t have to choose between those 2 things, but presenting them to myself in that way changed my life, literally, forever, because it slowed me down enough to decide that what I really wanted was to be happy. The reason I wanted to be thin so badly is because I believed that thinness meant happiness. I have since learned that that is not true. I have many clients who are thin and miserable, and in fact, when I think about the times in my life where I probably had the “best body” is when I was in my teenage years, which were probably the most unhappy of my entire life, so if thinness really did equal happiness, then I should’ve been much happier during that time. Even when I’ve lost weight and gone on crazy diets before when I was younger, I never found that elusive happiness that was supposed to accompany that feeling. I did feel that shot of adrenaline when I put on smaller-sized clothes, but then I kept spinning with why wasn’t all of this making my life better. I do a cool exercise with my clients and I teach this to my students at the school, and one of the things we ask when it comes to weight loss is we ask our clients, “What will be different when you lose weight, and what will be exactly the same?” That’s true for any of you, or any of our clients with any goal that they have, you know, when they get married, when they have a baby, when they make their first million dollars, whatever it is, what will be different when you achieve that goal, and what will be exactly the same? Really think about that because a lot of us want to put a goal out there because we believe that everything will be rainbows and daisies as soon as we achieve it and it gives some sense of control over our lives. What I really want to teach you and what I really want to make sure you understand, and all of my students, is that the only reason why any of us ever want anything is because how we believe we will feel in the attaining and giving of it. For me, the reason why I wanted to be thin was because I believed it would make me happy. Whatever it is that you want in your life, it’s because you believe that you will feel better in the having of it, and so first identifying how is it that you really want to feel. Would you answer that question the same way? Would you say, “I just really want to be happy.” I remember asking this question to my mom a long time ago and she just said, “I just want to be at peace.” Other people will say, “I just want to be excited.” What is it that you want to feel? What is it that seems so elusive? Then ask yourself what you think would give you that feeling and are you focused on something externally and something that you think you need to achieve, or are you believing that you can create whatever emotion it is that you want now. When I found this out, when I really understood that my thinking is what creates my feelings, I remember thinking that I had just won life’s lottery. I had just won the emotional secret to the universe and all I needed to do to have anything I want, because if what I really want in my life is just to feel a certain way, that’s why I want all these external things, and that the only way that I can really feel that way is by controlling the thoughts that I’m having in my mind and deciding to deliberately think what I want to think, then I can create any emotion that I want. That is like, “Booya!” Like, “What am I messing around with all this other stuff? I’m just going to focus on how I want to feel,” so for you, if it’s happiness, for some of you it’s joy, for some of you it’s excited, whatever feeling you most want to feel, really think about that feeling, and remember, the way that we describe feelings is that they’re a vibration in our body. We teach our students to focus on those vibrations and to focus on the experience of having an emotion and really describing it, like really describe that emotion in your body and how it feels. This is true for negative emotion, too, and we actually really want to teach our clients and students how to feel any emotion, because if you’re willing to feel any emotion, there’s nothing you’re not willing to do. Because just like everything you want to do in your life and everything you want to have in your life is because how it will make you feel, the same is true for everything you don’t want to do in your life, right? Everything you avoid in your life is because you’re afraid of how it will make you feel, so if you’re willing to feel any emotion and you really get good at feeling your emotions, then you can go into any situation with very little fear because there is no feeling that you’re unwilling to feel and you also know how to create positive emotion and therefore feel positive emotion whenever you want. Here’s how you feel emotions that you want to feel. You think about that emotion, so if that emotion is happiness, and you really identify what happiness feels like in your body and you really understand why you want to feel it, then you have to go back to that truth that all emotions are created by thoughts. Then you ask yourself, “What would I be thinking if I was feeling happy? What would I be thinking if I was feeling excited?” and you kind of trace it backwards and so you think, “Okay. I don’t know.” That’s what most my students and clients will say. “I don’t really know what I’m thinking when I’m happy,” and I say, “Okay, so what do you think would make you happy?” People will always say to me, 9 times out of 10 they’ll say either, “I want to be thin,” or “If somebody gave me a million dollars right now I’d be happy.” It’s so funny. This is kind of a little side note. I used to think about when I would hear someone won the lottery or I’d read about it in the newspaper, that they won like a hundred million dollars and I used to fantasize what it would be like for that person. I’d be so happy for them. I’m like trying to imagine what they were thinking when they won that money. What would be going on in their mind that would make them happy? They don’t even have the money yet. They just found out that they won it. They literally don’t have in their possession 1 more dollar than they had the day before. In fact, they have a dollar less, probably, if they bought a lottery ticket, and yet, they are experiencing an emotion that is so different than anything they’ve probably ever experienced and the only reason why they’re experiencing that emotion is because of a thought. Now people will say, “Well in order for the emotion to be real and to truly be felt, the thing has to be true,” and I always say that’s not true though, because if somebody said to you that you won the lottery and you believed them, you would feel excited. You would feel ecstatic, probably. Now they could be lying, so it doesn’t have to be true. All that has to be true is that you believe it. If you believe a thought, it will create an emotion. When you think about that lottery winner, what do you imagine that they would be thinking when they found out they won that lottery, and that thought is what makes them happy. The money doesn’t make them happy and, in fact, the money just sits there. It doesn’t do anything, right? It’s all the ideas that are going through the person’s mind, all of the thoughts that are going through that person’s mind that are creating that happiness. When you think about for you what would make you the most happy, what do you believe would really, without a shadow of a doubt, make you so happy? Then think about what thought you’re thinking when you imagine that, when you think about it and can you identify that that thought is something you could choose to think now. If somebody wins a lottery and they start thinking, “My life is always going to be great now. I’m going to be able to do all the fun things I want to do. I’m going to be able to buy everything I have ever wanted to buy and that is going to be so amazing because I’ll never have to worry again.” If you grab a thought like, “I’ll never have to worry again,” that thought right there, if you believe that thought, you are going to feel so amazing. Like can you think that thought right now, “I never have to worry again?” and, of course, they’re thinking about money. The truth is none of us really ever have to worry. Worry is not a requirement. Worry is not even necessary in order to live an amazing life, and in fact, worry, most of the time, has nothing to offer us that’s useful because most of our worry is about nothing, is about stuff that hasn’t even happened nor will ever happen. We just spend our time spinning our wheels on it. Maybe you don’t win the lottery, but maybe you do start to adopt this idea that you don’t have to worry. Let’s say you’re able to really start believing that and thinking that because there is so much truth to that. Maybe you start to notice that you feel better, even without anything external having changed. That really is the secret to feeling happy. People will say, “Just think happy thoughts.” “Oh yeah, I’ll just think happy thoughts and then I’ll feel happy,” and it just sounds so silly, but the truth is, you can’t think happy thoughts if you don’t believe them and feel better and feel happy, but you can think happy thoughts and feel happy if you believe those thoughts. That is the secret to the universe. That is the secret to everything in your life, to feeling amazing. You have to think thoughts that are amazing-feeling thoughts and truly believe them. Every emotion that you ever experienced is because of a thought you’re thinking. Now inevitably, when I introduce this concept to my students, they always come back and say, “Well what about this?” They always have a scenario where they don’t think a feeling is caused by a thought and they’ll say, “Well what about when somebody dies?” That’s typically the example that someone presents. I say to them, “I understand that that’s a pretty intense feeling, but the feeling does not come from the person dying, the feeling comes from the thought you have about the person dying, and that’s why everybody’s death doesn’t have the same experience for every person because everyone’s thoughts about that person dying are different. For example, if someone dying caused grief, then their death would all cause us the same amount of grief, which it doesn’t, and in fact, the death itself doesn’t cause the grief because we don’t feel any grief until we think about the person dying. If we don’t know that the person has passed, then we don’t feel grief, right, because it hasn’t hit our brain yet. We haven’t had the thought about it. I know that some of you are probably thinking, “What does she mean? That’s just semantics,” but it’s everything because how you decide to think about something determines how you feel about something. How you decide to think about your spouse will determine how you feel about your spouse. You may think that your spouse determines how you feel about them, but they don’t. You’re the one in charge of how you feel about them, despite what they do or don’t do. Whatever you decide to think about them will determine how you feel about them, and that’s the same with anything that happens in your life. How you decide to think about it will determine how you feel and that’s why people of very different means and very different relationship status and very different social situations can be equally as happy because it has nothing to do with any of that. What determines your level of happiness, what determines any emotion that you’re having is how you are thinking. If you are thinking that you’re a wonderful person with a wonderful life and that you’re lucky and that you are grateful for everything that you have, you’re going to have a certain level of happiness and gratitude and appreciation in your life. You could have that exact, same life with very different thoughts about not being lucky, not getting your breaks in life, not having the people that you want in your life, and with the exact, same life, be miserable. The only thing that determines the difference there is how you decide to think. How you think is going to determine how you feel because all of your thoughts cause feelings. I know for some of you, this is repetitive, right? You’re hearing me say this many, many times, but I’m doing that on purpose because it’s not something that’s well known, and for those of you who are new to me or this podcast, I want to make sure that it’s something that is really clear by the time I’m done speaking. If you want to know why you’re feeling anything you’re feeling, all you have to do is ask yourself, “What is the thought that I’m currently having that is causing this feeling?” If you’re feeling excited, it’s because you’re having a thought that’s exciting you. If you’re feeling sad, it’s because you’re having a thought that’s creating sad for you. Ask yourself right now, “What am I feeling?” Name that feeling that you’re feeling right now, and then ask yourself, “What are the thoughts that I’m having or the thought that I’m having right now that’s creating that feeling?” I hope that you really did that because that is one of the most powerful things you can know, knowing that you can have any feeling you want if you can find a thought you believe that will create it. Any feeling that you’re having that you don’t want to be having, the good news is is that you’re the one creating it. I know that may not sound like good news, but it totally is good news because if you’re the one creating your feeling, then you’re the one that can create a different feeling. Let’s kind of back up a little bit and go back to what we were talking about in terms of happiness and saying, “I just want to be happy,” and believing that that’s something that is created, those feelings are created by what’s happening on the outside of your life, by whether you’ve made it in the way that you want, whether you own the stuff you want to own, whether you’re in the job you want to be in, and remind yourself that has nothing to do with any of that, that everything that you feel is a choice. Let me just repeat that for a minute because this can blow your mind if you allow it. Everything you feel is a choice, and I’m not suggesting that you should feel happy all the time, and in fact, most of us don’t want to feel happy all the time. We might say, “Oh I just want to be happy all the time,” but the truth is, we don’t. When someone dies, we don’t want to feel happy. When one of our friends is in pain, we don’t really want to feel happy. We want to feel sad and we want to feel grief when someone dies and we want to feel neutral sometimes and sometimes we just want to feel chill, right? We don’t always want to be happy. We don’t always want to be excited, but we get to decide. That’s a choice we get to make. It’s something that nobody decides for you and it’s not something that anyone can take away from you, is your ability to choose how you want to feel about anything. Here’s where I want you to really think about your life and one of the exercises that we do is I want you to think about the 3 feelings that you have on a regular basis. What would you say are your top, most common feelings? I’m going to put the worksheet that we use with our clients and we give to our students in the show notes so you can play around with this, but we call it the top 3 feelings. What you do is you really think about the 3 feelings that you have most often during the day. Please don’t beat yourself up if you happen to have 3 very negative feelings. It doesn’t mean anything about you or your character or anything like that, okay, so just be honest about it. Just write your top 3 feelings, then what you can explore is what are the thoughts that you’re having that are creating these top 3 feelings? If you’re the one that creates your feelings, then what are the top thoughts that you’re having, regularly, that are creating these feelings? Then the next question that you ask yourself is, “What are the 3 feelings I want to be having more regularly? What are the feelings that, if I could choose ...?” I always create this imagery. You’re at a party. It’s black tie. There’s a guy in a tuxedo. He’s walking around with a big, silver tray, and on that tray are all the emotions that are available to you, you know, the guy that’s walking around, he’s like, “Hors d’oeuvre? Hors d’oeuvre? Hors d’oeuvre?” He comes up to you and says, “Feeling?” and you get to choose from this huge tray of all the feelings available to you, what one do you want to choose, and if you could choose 3 feelings to have on a regular basis, what are you favorites, what would you choose to feel? I think, personally, one of the best feelings is to feel proud of myself and I’m not talking about the kind of pride where you think you’re better than other people. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m not talking about that kind of boastful kind of thing. I’m talking about really having the ability to overcome something and then to have your own back and be proud of yourself for it. I think that feeling is the best feeling ever. I also love feeling joyous and I love feeling excited. Those are really the feelings that I like to create as often as I can. For example, one of the ways that I feel proud is by reminding myself of my accomplishments, reminding myself of what I’m doing for my family, what I’m doing for my business, what I’m doing for my clients, what I do for my students, what I do for myself, how I take care of myself, you know, stuff that I do every day, but when I take the time to think about it on purpose, then I get to experience that feeling of being proud of myself. That’s the same with excitement, you know, excitement can be pretty elusive if it’s not some big huge event coming up that I can think about and then be excited about. If I deliberately think about things that I’m excited about and I deliberately think thoughts that create excitement for me, then I feel excited a lot more often. It’s a feeling that I create for myself. I feel that way about my goals because I set goals for myself and then I feel very excited about them because I believe that they will come true, that I will create them, that I will do the work necessary to have that result that I want. When I think about those outcomes, those results that I want, I get very excited because I believe that they will happen, and they’re big, and they’re audacious and I’m so excited because I know, on some level, that I will have them. Also, the same with happiness, like really, for me, happiness comes from knowing that that is my natural state and that it’s all of our natural state and that, really, the purpose of our lives, I believe, is to find a way to endure happiness. I just recently read the book by Gay Hendricks called The Big Leap, but one of the things he talks about in there that makes so much sense to me, is that we are evolving as humans into a whole different world, right? It used to be that we’d have to worry all the time in order to survive. We had to be on edge. We had to be stressed out, literally, or we would die, like sleeping with one eye open, having insomnia was actually a good thing. It’s something that we were kind of created and it’s to do and it helped us survive. I think all of us worriers, all of us stressed-out people are the ones that made it, but now, here we are still using those same genetic predispositions in a world where it’s completely unnecessary. One of the things that Gay talks about is that we have to evolve into being able to endure happiness, to be able to practice and stay in happiness because it’s not something that we’ve had a lot of practice doing as a species. When I know that, when I know that happiness and feeling happy is about the thoughts that I’m thinking, and then that’s really a scale that I can practice and I can literally practice being happy, practice creating those thoughts that generate happiness for myself, then I can do that in a way that serves me. Please take that time and do that exercise for yourself because there’s so much to be learned from understanding what’s going on in your mind and what you’re creating in terms of your feelings in your life, and by writing down the 3 feelings that you have most often and the thoughts that are causing them, and then writing down the 3 thoughts you want to have and exploring what thoughts you would need to believe and think in order to feel that way, you’re much closer to finding a way to feel that way than you are if you don’t pay attention to what’s going on in your mind. It’s very difficult to be happy when your mind is filled with negative clutter. That’s the assignment that I have for you and I really hope that you won’t just listen to this podcast, that you won’t just use it as entertainment or to go, “Huh, that’s kind of interesting.” I really want to challenge you to do the work that I’m asking you and to apply what I’m teaching you because if you do, you will feel the effect. You won’t just hear it, you’ll feel it in your own life and you’ll see what a game changer it is. Please do that. Make some comments in the notes underneath the show notes. Let me know what your top 3 feelings are and what you would like them to be and share any thoughts that you have about this podcast and I will respond to you personally. I look forward to seeing you there. Have a good week everybody. Bye-bye.Thank you for listening to The Life Coach School podcast. It would be incredibly awesome if you would take a moment to write a quick review on iTunes. For any questions, comments or coaching issues you’d like to hear on the show, please visit us at

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