How to Feel Better
Most people come to me because they want to feel better. They say things like:
- “I didn’t have a good day.”
- “I didn’t have a happy childhood.”
- “I just don’t have a satisfying life.”
If you’ve ever thought or said something like this, before you keep reading, click below to download the How to Feel Better Guide Sheet—a document containing the steps you need to take to get started feeling better.
These statements imply that happiness is outside of us instead of within our control.
The truth is that feeling better has nothing to do with your circumstances.
It doesn’t matter who you’re married to, how many kids you have, where you live, what anyone did to you in the past, or any other circumstances, or facts, in your life.
You can feel better now without changing anything in your life.
Happiness is not outside of you. You can feel anything you want to feel just by changing your thinking.
All of our emotions are created in our minds.
Modern culture tells us otherwise. Watch any commercial and you will see messages imploring you to chase something external to change how you feel. For example: if you buy this car or pursue this weight loss program, you’ll feel better.
That’s not actually the way the world works.
The truth is that your thoughts create your feelings. Your feelings drive your actions, and your actions create your results. The circumstances or facts of your life are what they are. They’re neutral—neither good nor bad.
I call this the Self Coaching Model (the Model). It’s the tool I teach and use to coach my clients in Self Coaching Scholars, my monthly coaching program. I use it to solve any problem, including feeling better.
By using the Model, you’ll see the way to change how you feel is to change how you think. To feel better, try doing the following:
1. Ask yourself what you’re feeling.
2. Identify the thought you’re having that’s causing you to feel that way.
3. Decide how you want to feel.
4. Create a new thought that will create that feeling (i.e. ask yourself what you would be thinking if you were feeling the emotion you want to feel).
5. Bridge the gap between what you’re thinking and what you want to think by practicing the new thought.
This process works if you just try it. But it takes time and practice on your part.
Let’s say you’re feeling self pity (sorry for yourself) for no apparent reason. You might be thinking, “I don’t have what I want in my life right now.” Then, instead, you decide that you want to feel joy. The thought you need to think to produce joy will vary depending on what actually makes you feel joy, but let’s just say that it is: “I am responsible for my own feelings, and today, I choose joy.”
When you decide to believe in a thought that produces the emotion of joy in your mind, and you practice thinking it over and over, you will experience joy. This is within your control, and doesn’t require you to change anything external in your life.
If you’re like many of my students in Self Coaching Scholars, you might get stuck in creating the new thought to generate the feeling you want.
Clients will come to me and say, “I don’t know what thought makes me happy.” If you’re in this situation, keep digging deeper for the answer. Ask yourself, “If I did know that happy thought, what would it be?” Think about the last time you were feeling happiness and what it was you were thinking that generated that feeling.
If you believe a thought, it will create an emotion.
I like to use the example of someone winning the lottery. When someone wins the lottery, the money doesn’t actually do anything. It just sits there. But the person is likely feeling all kinds of different emotions. Why? Because of the many thoughts going through their mind. They are likely having thoughts of never needing to worry about money again and all the financial freedom they will have in the future. Their feelings are caused by these thoughts.
The reason this is so important is that it means you can identify thoughts and choose to believe them right now. This is how you can feel better; by thinking believable thoughts, you will create the emotion you want to feel.
The key is you need to actually believe your new thoughts.
It’s not enough to think thoughts (like affirmations) if you don’t believe them. It’s the thoughts you believe that cause your feelings to change. If you practice thoughts you don’t believe, you’ll reinforce whatever you actually believe instead of what you want to believe.
For example, if you want to believe you can make $300k next year, but really, you think you can only make $50k, practicing the thought of making $300k won’t work—you won’t believe it. This is where you need to bridge your thoughts from the negative thought to the positive thought until this mental habit becomes the new belief. Then, just continue to move closer to the positive thought.
In this example, you might think, “I know it’s possible for me to make $300k in one year at some point in my life.” This is moving you toward your new thought, while not being a thought that you don’t believe. If you practice the thought you don’t believe, you’ll reinforce the real underlying thought, telling yourself that you’re not capable of making more than $50k. Your brain is smart enough to know what you really believe. Make sure you practice thoughts you actually think are true.
So, I’m here to tell you that the secret to feeling better is to purposely choose and practice new thoughts you can believe. Remember, every emotion you ever experience is due to a thought you’re thinking.
Another example I like to use, if you’re married, is your spouse. How you feel about your spouse is determined by what you think about them. Your spouse doesn’t determine how you feel about him. Your thoughts about him do.
This is often hard for people to wrap their minds around when I first introduce the concept to them. But, believe me, it’s the life changing magic of the Universe. It will improve your life if you practice it.
Despite what happens to you, what you’ve been through in the past, what anyone says to you, or what you’re going through—whatever you decide to think will determine how you will feel.
This is why people of different means or socioeconomic statuses can be equally as happy. Your happiness actually has nothing to do with your circumstances. What determines your happiness is what you think. This is great news.
How you think determines how you feel. Always. You can start today by practicing changing your thoughts and feeling better using the How to Feel Better Guide Sheet.
To learn more about Self Coaching Scholars, visit TheLifeCoachSchool.com/Join/.