3 Steps For Better Feelings

“How’s it going, Aly?”

With a tender, loving smile, and a glint in his eyes he said, “It’s a tough climb – but damn good footin’.”

Aly was a stocky, elderly cowboy, about five feet tall.  Gold, wire-rimmed glasses perched on his short, broad nose.  His face was tanned and weathered.  On his round, bald head was a sweat-stained, bent, and wrinkled Stetson.  I wished it could tell stories.  The man and his cowboy hat appeared to have endured many sunny and stormy days and nights on the ranch.  Near the tattered raven feather in the headband of his hat were fresh green marks.  Aly had just delivered some cows to the Auction Market. 

for better feelings

Any bets on what those green marks were?   Oooh, there is a relationship tip as a bonus for you. “When the sh____ is flying, keep your mouth closed.”

Now, let’s get back to Aly, his approach to life, and the point of this article. 

A tough climb – but damn good footin’

We all know that life isn’t always a smooth trail to ride, is it?  Work can be extremely demanding – long hours, extra duties, changes, uncertainty about the future.  Your personal life can be challenging too – hectic schedules, lack of time for self, and financial burdens.  It can create stress in your intimate relationship at home, which affects how you feel, doesn’t it?  You may feel a wide range of emotions from: ticked-off, frustrated, and lonely; to happiness, joy, and love.  There is a huge range of feelings in between.

Feelings – the Key Performance Indicators of life

Every life experience is internalized as feelings.  You and I subject ourselves to situations and think, speak, and act in certain ways (usually based upon habit).  The result is feelings.  It seems to happen on its own, to the point where we may believe that others, or the situation, are responsible for our feelings.

I invite you to reflect for a moment.  Do you allow this to happen to you, where you feel victimized by others or the situation – as if you have no control?  If you’re still breathing, this likely happens.

A tough climb – but damn good footin’

You and I have feelings – they are in-the-moment, real, valid, and they are not right or wrong.  It is OK to feel whatever you feel.

It is NOT OK to react to them in ways that are hurtful, disrespectful, and abusive of yourself or others.

Awareness is the secret.  When you are aware of your feelings, you are in total control to choose your thoughts, words, and actions which will result in a better, worse, or similar feeling.

The challenge for you is to notice your feelings, and choose your response to move you toward the feelings you want.

For simplicity, there are only 3 things to do:  1) notice what you are feeling2) decide how you want to feel; 3) consciously choose your thoughts, words, and action to give you that.

A tough climb – but damn good footin’

1) It takes attention to notice how you are feeling right now.  I invite you to take a deep breath and notice any sensations in your body – calm in your mind, relaxed body, positive thoughts; or tense shoulders or arms, tightness in your tummy, clenched jaw, and scattered thoughts.

Anything is OK, so evaluate if what you are feeling is what you want.  Give the feeling a name.  Naming it is like setting it on the table where you can evaluate. 

2) If you like the feeling, keep thinking, speaking, and acting toward yourself and others in a similar way. If you don’t like what you are experiencing, consciously make some new choices in your thoughts, words, and actions. 

How?

3) When you wake in the morning, take 5 or 10 minutes to choose how you want to feel and “play it out” in your mind.

Anger, resentment, or depression are OK feelings but not recommended as a choice.

Let’s pretend you choose calmness.  Get a clear picture in your mind about what calmness is for you – your thoughts, how you speak to yourself and others, your actions, and focus on what you will feel in your body (sensations, temperature, sounds, colour).  Imagine this as clearly as you can, and choose an “anchor” for that desired feeling (i.e. a picture in your mind or on your phone, a word, a pen, rock, or piece of jewelry to touch).

Then imagine and pretend you are going through segments of your day, feeling calmness.  Imagine calmly meeting people you know you’ll meet, calmly dealing with issues you know you’ll face, and calmly handling things that could happen.  In each situation, imagine using your anchor to remind you of your desired feeling so you think, speak and act in ways that will give you that.

This is segment intending – intending how you will feel in segments of your day.  It works because your brain doesn’t know the difference between imagining and reality.

As you go through your day, be super conscious of any twinges, twists, or tumblings that indicate you are feeling less than your desired feeling.  Before reacting from habit, stop and take a deep breath or two.  Use your anchor to put your mind back into your desired calm feeling.  Then choose your thoughts, words, and actions according to what you intend.

This is intentional application.  It works because you’ve already practiced it.

A tough climb – but damn good footin’

Tough?  Sure. Yet I guarantee you’ll experience the feelings you want more regularly.  Can you handle that?

When I meet you and ask, “How’s it going?” will you respond with:

A tough climb – but damn good footin’

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