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.


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.


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.


What To Do When The Past Gets In The Way Of Peace And Happiness

Something happens, it doesn’t really matter what it is – it could be an argument, betrayal, disappointment, rejection, something you did that you shouldn’t, something you didn’t do that you should… but it generated negative emotion within you and continues to play on your mind.

The problem lies, not in the happening, but in the continual mental replay, and the constant analysis. This is where you attempt to figure out what you should have done differently. In other words, you want the past to be different from the way it was and if you could only figure out how to make that happen, then you’d be okay. If you can’t figure out how to make that happen then your life is effectively over. Yes, I know I’m exaggerating a little, but that is frequently how it feels while the intensity of the ThoughtStorm is still being played out in your mind.

So you are looking for a solution to make everything ok. What you really want (change the past) is impossible – so would you accept a solution that simply makes the past irrelevant?

You see what most people really want is peace and/or happiness. But they always want these things from a place where they have neither and so have a tendency to place conditions upon them. When you actually arrive at an experience of peace or happiness what you realise is that nothing matters. Nothing matters because you realise that peace and happiness arise from within. They are a state of mind, not a state of circumstances.

The first step you need to take is one of looking at what is actually going on. What is going on is that your mind is filled with an unpleasant memory and that memory is surrounded by, and fuels, a barrage of thoughts… and analyses… and what ifs… and should’ves… and shouldn’ts… and maybes.

A memory is itself just thoughts about something that happened and when you access those thoughts you have associated pictures, feelings and sounds. The thoughts themselves are sounds. Just as if someone was taking to you. So the Hell you are experiencing is just pictures, feelings and sounds. All of which are going on in your present.

If you could find a way to stop these feelings, pictures, and sounds then you wouldn’t have a problem. It wouldn’t matter what had happened, you just wouldn’t have a problem.

A clock ticking is just a sound in your mind.

How much importance do you give to that sound?

A bird singing is just a sound in your mind.

Do you let a bird run your life?

Your mind is filled with sounds from your external world, yet very little of it is remembered or even noticed.

When you get caught in a ThoughtStorm remind yourself that it is just sounds and sensations.

Become aware of the activities that engage you fully: a hobby, or a book, or a videogame, or craftwork, a puzzle…

Then use your favourite activity to distract you. In time you will train yourself to shift your attention away from that memory.

The problem of course is when you are convinced that what happened shouldn’t have happened, or that life has been really unfair to you – but that’s another story.