How to Have Positive Feelings in Difficult Times

You may have habits and daily patterns

that are so much a part of daily life that you may not recognize them as choices. ~ Author Unknown

I have a friend who rides an emotional roller coaster: up, down and all around. Life’s smallest frustration is dire. Unfortunately, she never learned to take control of the ‘feelings’ before they control her. The result of all this drama is a see-saw of excess emotion: anger, frustration, fear, worry and stress. All those negative feelings trigger physical disease so that she is often ill, as well.

Emotions, ‘feelings’ as we call them, are unreliable. They change with every whim. Feelings float on waves of ‘what someone said’. They commiserate with every current topic in the news. Difficult times feed negative thoughts. Soon, we have internalized those thoughts into negative emotions.

  • I feel like you don’t love me anymore.
  • I feel like we’ll never get ahead.
  • I just feel like crying.
  • I feel so angry and depressed – but I can’t figure out why.
  • I just feel sick about that.

Isn’t it amazing that most of our ‘feelings’ statements are negative. We talk continually about how ‘bad’ things are, how ‘bad’ we feel. Far less often, do we say:

  • I feel so great. I just know today is going to be awesome
  • I feel so full of energy! I think I’ll take a walk. 
  • I feel so loved and appreciated. It’s wonderful!
  • I feel so happy I could just jump for joy!
  • I feel like my life is right on track and going my way.

We think that our thoughts follow our feelings, but actually it’s the other way around. If you ‘feel’ unloved, it’s because you have been thinking ‘unloved’ thoughts over and over until the feeling arrived. But because you’re more in tune with your feelings,  you didn’t recognize the connection.

When you find yourself in an emotional mess, stop!

What were you thinking? Yep. I thought so.

The truth is that you can change your feelings whenever you want – by governing your thoughts. Here are three quick tips to help you take control.

1.       Take responsibility for your feelings.

They are yours. Do not give other people – no matter who they are – the power to control your emotions. Abdicating control of your feelings to someone else is a sure path to depression and defeat. Difficult times call for drastic solutions. Taking control of your thoughts and emotions is the first step.

2.       Take control of your words.

Grumbling and complaining are counter-productive. Train yourself to say only positive things. God calls it: “calling those things that be not as though they were.” (Rom. 4:17) As you monitor your speech, you will be amazed at how often negative words come out of your mouth. Only you can change that.

 3.       Create a diversion!

Remember all those rides at the amusement park? You hardly knew which one to choose first. Well, if your mind is on the emotion-coaster, get off! Find something else to ride. Pick gratitude, fun, distraction or positive action. When your mind is occupied with something you enjoy, it won’t find time to be negative.

Yes, I know. Just thinking happy thoughts is not enough to transform your situation. But I guarantee that if you will make the effort to change your outlook – your thoughts and words, your feelings will improve … and ultimately, so will those difficult times.

One last thought – it helps to remind yourself that no matter what your situation, it is temporary. Nothing in human experience lasts ‘forever’. It may seem to be taking a long time to change, but eventually it will. Your attitude in the middle of your mess will create your message of hope for someone else.

Talk to yourself. Stay positive. Decide what matters most – a pity party or power over your emotions. It’s your quickest route out of difficult times.

 

 

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