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Doing What Doesn't Come Naturally

By Linda Sapadin, Ph.D

Often feel sad? Down in the dumps? Tough for you to get out of bed?

Often feel angry? Churning inside? Ready to blow a gasket? Have a hissy fit?

Often feel worried? Anguish about the future? Second-guess your decisions? Unable to let things be?

Well, if these are your honest emotions, you need to experience them—not deny, distort, or suppress them.

Indeed, sadness may be the only sincere response to losing someone or something you truly care about. And wrongs can be righted if you express your anger about what’s not just or fair. And worry may avert disaster - if you truly can do something about what worries you.

That said, there are times when people hold onto these negative feelings too long. They don’t just feel them--they embrace and exaggerate them---until the feeling states transform into an identity.

When that happens, they don’t just feel sad, angry, or worried; they become ‘those people’ with despair in their heart, a chip on their shoulder, fear in their soul. Yes, there’s a huge difference between feeling sad and being a sad person; feeling angry and being an angry person; feeling worried and being an anxious person.

If you believe it’s time for you to let go of emotions that have been robbing you of a good life, here’s how to move from a web of destructive feelings to constructive actions.

Do what DOESN’T come naturally!

ACT, not how you are feeling right now, but in a contrary way to how you are feeling!

Yes, I know it’s hard but give it a try.

If you're down in the dumps, it’s okay to feel this way ---for a period of time. But, if you are in danger of becoming a pessimistic, joyless soul, take action. Even if your heart is not in it, push yourself to go, to do, to work, to play, to be with others, to smile, to laugh, anything that will get you out of your doldrums and into experiencing, once again, whatever is good in life.

If something has gotten you ticked off, you’re entitled to be mad---for a period of time. But, there’s also a time to let go, to take care of you.Rather than using up your energy on the one who has wronged you, take that precious energy and do something nice for yourself or for someone else you love.

If you're feeling fearful about the future, it’s okay to feel worried---for a period of time. However, if your worries are creating undue distress for you, it’s time to act differently from the way you feel. Yes, you will be on pins and needles about trying a new activity, speaking up, taking a risk, but do it anyway.

Courage is not the absence of fear. It is feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

Acting contrary to the way you feel may seem counter-intuitive to you. Yet, that may be exactly the thing you need to do to bolster your own mental, emotional and physical health.

"It's easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting." ~ Jerry Sternin

Copyright © 2016: Linda Sapadin, Ph.D
Linda Sapadin is a psychologist and personal coach in private practice who specializes in helping people enrich their lives, enhance their relationships and overcome self-defeating patterns of behavior. For more information about her work, contact her by email or visit her website at PsychWisdom.
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