Episode 7 Thoughts create feelings
Intro with music
Hello and welcome to episode 7. In this episode you’ll learn why you feel the way you feel, why you experience a roller coaster of emotions on any given day, and what you can do about it.
Thoughts are sentences that our brains offer us. As I shared in the previous episode, thoughts are not the same as facts, they are not always true, and sometimes our thoughts don’t serve us.
Now, let’s consider feelings. We think that our circumstances (the facts of our lives) cause our feelings: She made me feel guilty. That presentation made me so anxious. I have so much guilt because of his death.
But the truth is that our circumstances never directly cause our feelings. Our thoughts about the circumstances create our feelings, and this is very good news because as we learned in episode 6, thoughts are always optional.
Let’s revisit those statements and notice how it is actually our thoughts about the facts that create our feelings.
She made me feel guilty.
She said words (fact) that made me think thoughts that caused me to feel guilty.
That presentation made me so anxious.
The presentation on my schedule (fact) caused me to think that I wasn’t prepared enough (thought), so I felt anxious (feeling).
I have so much guilt because of his death.
He passed away (fact), and I should have been there (thought), so I feel guilty (feeling).
Thoughts create feelings and that’s very good news because once we know this, we are no longer victims of our circumstances. No one has the power to make us feel terrible. The past has no power over us because the circumstances are now in the past; only our thoughts about them today can cause us pain in the present moment.
Now, I’m not suggesting that we should feel nothing but good feelings at all times. Life in general is not a walk in the park, much less life after loss. Life, in fact, is a 50/50 mix of comfortable and uncomfortable emotions.
Sometimes our most authentic thoughts do create difficult, uncomfortable emotions. We want to feel sad when someone we love dies. Difficult feelings are not a problem; they are what make us human.
The most authentic human experience is to feel the wide variety of emotions: positive and negative, joyful and sad, thrilled and bored, brave and afraid, wonderful and weak.
And often in life after loss, that wide variety of emotions unfolds by the minute. It’s the roller coaster of grief. When you feel like you’re riding the roller coaster, ask yourself, what am I feeling right now? And why?
The reason we experience a wide variety of feelings in a day is because our brains are offering a wide variety of thoughts that are causing those feelings. The more we can observe our thoughts and notice the feelings that each create, and the more we edit our own thoughts (as I shared in episode 3), then the more control we have over our feelings.
Remember, a roller coaster of feelings is caused not by circumstances but by your thoughts about the circumstances. Therein lies your power.
So today, download your thoughts and notice how each makes you feel. Or conversely, notice how you are feeling and ask yourself what thoughts you are thinking. Be sure to tease out the facts from the thoughts. Circumstances prompt thoughts, which cause feelings.
Notice that chain of events in your brain and body. This alone with help you. And there’s so much more to come in this podcast, so if you haven’t already, please subscribe. And know that I believe in you, and I’m here for you. Take care.