By reflecting on our feelings, we can begin to explore what we want to feel more of or less of in the coming year. It’s perfectly OK to experience a wide range of emotions, even those that are uncomfortable. However, it’s important that we understand how to move through them and choose how we want to feel, and so experience less stress, anxiety and depression and more calmness, happiness, joy etc.
Neuroscience is now proving what many have believed for centuries…that the feelings we have are the result of unconscious thoughts that we keep repeating until they have become beliefs.
As young children, we learn to make sense of ourselves, others and the world around us by ‘programming’ and storing information as beliefs. Most of these have been ‘programmed’ by the time we are seven, many of them are unhelpful and limiting and most are not true.
These beliefs get triggered in certain situations, causing us to have feelings, which can sometimes lead to unhelpful behaviour and responses. Some common limiting beliefs are: ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘the world’s a bad place’, ‘No-one like’s me’, ‘I’m always sick’
With practice, we can change long-held limiting beliefs in order to experience the feelings we want more of by firstly, becoming aware of what they are.
Here are some ways to change limiting beliefs:
1. Become aware of how you are feeling. E.g. feeling anxious.
2. Find the beliefs that are causing this, you can use meditation or practice ‘stepping outside of yourself’ and noticing the thoughts and beliefs you’re having. Don’t judge them, just notice. E.g. ‘I’m not good enough’
3. Ask yourself what feelings you would like instead. E.g. confidence
4. What beliefs would give you the feelings you want? E.g. ‘I am really good at this’
5. Find a way to practice this belief that fits easily into your daily routine, e.g. saying it out loud in the shower or in the car, writing it six times a day in a journal, saying it to yourself using a mirror.
6. To help you, notice the language patterns you use, e.g. when someone asks you, ‘how are you?’, how do you respond? ‘I’m not bad?’ ‘OK’, ‘I’m good thanks’, ‘I’ve been better’. The amount of negative or positive language we use regularly reflects what we believe, and therefore feel.
7. Become aware of your posture. Being tense, slumped, stooped etc. stops the release of ‘feel-good’ chemicals. Instead, relax, stretch, walk, run, dance, whatever, but change your physical state to inform your brain of how you want to feel.
8. Practice gratitude every day. Focusing on what’s right with your life instead of what’s wrong with it really works.
9. Pay attention to the emotional affect others have on you – spend more time with those that make you feel better.
10. Make small changes to your environment, e.g. place a photo of a good memory on your work desk.
These things are small and simple, yet they can have powerful effects over time. Be patient, keep doing them, add to them and reward yourself regularly.
Alison Harris, Wellness Coach.
E. firstname.lastname@example.org M.0754494571 Facebook/Instagram @alisonharriswellbeing