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27 Apr
2015
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How to Feel Good When You Want to Feel Bad

It’s funny isn’t it? I mean how we can drift off into our memories and relive events as if they were real. A scent, a sight, a question – can all send us off on an unintentional journey into a place of pleasure or pain. We can be bumbling along in our own little world, quite ok with everything, and then Bam! Our thoughts take us to a place of heaven or hell and we begin to relive a memory.

That memory brings with it either pleasurable or painful emotions – sensations that we experience in our bodies. Sensations that tell us we are happy or sad.

Sad

Do it now. Go back into the past and find a sad memory – perhaps the breakup of what you once dreamed was the perfect relationship; the death of someone close; even a moment of total embarrassment as you made a complete idiot of yourself in the eyes of people who were important in your life. Pull back the pictures in your mind, relive it, and remember the scents, the sounds, the feelings. Spend a few moments reliving it before continuing to read.

How do you feel?

Has your mood changed?

Do a quick body scan and notice any areas of discomfort.

Allow all thoughts of that memory to drift away back into the past where they belong.

Happy

Now repeat the exercise, but this time with the best memory you can find. Perhaps it was that first kiss; getting your dream job; a wonderful holiday; holding your son or daughter in your arms for the first time and looking into their beautiful scrunched up face; maybe even a moment when you were overflowing with love for something or someone. Pull back the pictures in your mind, relive it, remember the scents, the sounds, the feelings. Spend a few moments reliving it before continuing to read.

How do you feel?

Has your mood changed?

Do a quick body scan and notice any areas of discomfort.

Allow all thoughts of that memory to drift away back into the past where they belong.

Which exercise did you like the best?

Did either of them bring tears to your eyes?

Is it Really Real?

Now I want you to think carefully about this next sentence.

None of it was real.

They were memories.

Memories aren’t real. They are just sensations that we interpret as pictures, sensations, sounds, and thoughts in our minds. We behave as if they are real. We behave as if they make us who we are. We behave as if they are important.

But they are just illusions.

I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t have them. I like my memories – especially the happy ones. But that doesn’t make them real. That doesn’t mean we should base what we do right now on something that is nothing more than an illusion.

Here’s a little thought experiment for you to do right now. Just imagine, for a moment or two, what would be different if you, and the planet, and everything on it, were created one second ago, and all  those memories that you think are real were already programmed into your brain cells?

They Control You – If You Let Them

Yet you let them control your life.

As I mentioned at the beginning – something happens, a sight, sounds, sensation, scent – and it triggers a memory. That memory shifts your mood. Your mood affects your decision making process and consequently how you experience your life. Let’s say, when you were a baby, a doctor with a big beard stuck a needle in you and handled you roughly. Let’s say, because you were a baby, he didn’t treat you as a person, more as a thing.

So back to today, and you find yourself always a little suspicious and wary of men with beards. You call it intuition and you know that wariness is keeping you safe – you’ve just never realised it’s about beards and never noticed that your intuition never flags up clean-shaven men.

Subliminal Programmes

What happens at a subliminal level is that your natural, programmed, survival instincts – operating outside of your awareness – get triggered whenever a beard is in sight. Those same emotional chemicals, the ones that were released when you did the unpleasant memory exercise earlier, are set free. You notice emotional discomfort and feel a little uncomfortable. It’s just the echo of a memory, but because you can feel it, because you can feel the uncomfortable changes in your mood state, you think it is real.

It Must Be True

If it’s real, it must be true and so you act out a fantasy created by an ancient survival system that works on the basis of if it hurt once, avoid it forever because it might kill you next time.

What you feel, that slide into a negative mood state, is nothing more than chemicals floating around in your blood stream. Chemicals triggered by your primitive survival instincts that were not designed for 21st Century living on a planet with billions of people that you can never avoid.

The exercise you did earlier shifted you first into a negative mood and then into a positive mood in a matter of moments. You can always do this. You can consciously choose what to think about. So next time you feel low, find as good a memory as you can get hold of and use it to lift your mood a little – unless, of course, you enjoy the misery. Use your ability to make conscious choices to focus on thoughts that make you feel good, rather than thoughts that make you feel bad.

And whenever you feel bad, remind yourself, it’s just sensations.

More Help

If you’d like more help on how to shift your thoughts into the positive. My book Change Your Life with Self Hypnosis is a training course that helps you to take control of your mind, your thoughts, and how you feel so that you can consciously shift into a permanently more positive mind set where setbacks are nothing more than temporary glitches in the smooth running of your life.

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