Most of us think that negative emotions are the only ones people want to avoid, but the evidence suggests something different.
Research has suggested that depression, for example, is not merely the presence of negative emotional states. There is another, often overlooked factor.
A negative mind frame is the avoidance of the positive emotions that want to surface naturally.
In other words, each of us have positive emotions that want to emerge every single day. The problem is that you may immediately suppress them!
Here's what that looks like
You've cooked some organic eggs that turn out beautifully. You feel a spontaneous desire to celebrate this tiny success by feeling as good as those eggs look. As that feeling of happiness begins to surface, you hear a negative voice in your head that says:
Go ahead, make a fool out yourself -- you're pathetic.Say goodbye to the possibility of feeling good.
Don't be an idiot. They're just eggs.
Yeah, but something crappy is going to happen real soon!
Hey! Grow up, would ya?
Careful now, if you start to feel great, you might lose control of yourself.
Life is far from perfect, yet there are still so many things to feel great about. Why don't we go there more of the time? Why do some of us avoid our positive emotions as if they were some sort of disease?
Negative psychological attachments are the best explanation I've ever heard of. Yet, let's skip over why and get right to the ways you can bring back the feel-good into your life.
1. Identify opportunities to feel great
If you have a hard time feeling good, then look for an opportunity and consciously take it. Don't just pretend that you have a reason. Find one in the real world -- and make it super easy on yourself.
For example, if you have to do the dishes, then make a deal with yourself. Say, "Self, after you do the dishes, you are going to take a deep, relaxing breath and be very pleased."
If you have to go to work, make a similar deal. Agree with yourself that, when you arrive, get things done and leave work, you'll take a moment to congratulate yourself for being so responsible.
After all, doing what we need to do every day takes energy and commitment. It fulfills valuable needs. Why don't we give ourselves credit?
2. Become more conscious and deliberate
Get off autopilot and realize that you are probably just talking yourself out of feeling good. Become aware of the negative voices in your head -- don't fight them -- just thank them for whatever they are concerned about and quietly invite that good feeling to return.
It may take some practice, but it can work for you. When you understand that you are pushing positive emotions away, it is easier to simply stop pushing.
If the negative voices are insistent, then you've got an obstacle to deal with, that's all. Learn to handle them.
3. Find your FULL ON
Most of us have at least one thing that we can do to feel good, without any internal backlash. Often, it's an activity that requires such focus that we don't have the internal room to complain about ourselves. I call this a FULL ON activity.
If you don't have one, find one! Discover an activity that you enjoy that requires all of your attention to do. For me, it's cycling. When I'm on my bike, all of my attention must be focused externally in order to be safe.
What's your FULL ON activity?
4. Immerse yourself
There are two ways to experience anything. 1) We can be fully immersed, seeing, hearing and feeling with full presence. Or 2) We can take an observer perspective -- more detached as if watching our experience on a movie screen "over there."
Both ways have their benefits and drawbacks. When it comes to positive experiences, you'll want to immerse yourself in them in order to enjoy them. Observing yourself having a good time leaves you feeling disconnected.
A lot of people learn early on to disconnect and watch their life go by. This can serve to avoid feeling the pain of life, but it also means that you are avoiding the pleasure.
So, mentally and emotionally step into -- immerse yourself -- into positive experiences, both in the here and now and in your memory.
5. Learn to fully accept compliments
There are two ways to reject a compliment -- on the outside or on the inside. Of course, you can do both.
So, someone tells you that you did a great job at something...
If you do an outside rejection, then you respond by saying something like, "Oh, thanks but not really. I barely got by."
If you do an inside rejection, you might graciously accept the compliment, but berate yourself internally. You might say something like, "Boy were they fooled. If they only knew how incompetent I am."
Practice giving people credit for having a high opinion of you. Tell yourself, "I just got a compliment that seems sincere. Let it in....."
By the way, studies show that happiness extends your life. Researchers at the University College of London followed more than 10,000 people ages 50 and over for more than 10 years. They reported in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) that happiness-avoidant people are three times more likely to die before their happier counterparts.
So, find a way to feel good!
You can do it, because happiness is an inside-out thing and you absolutely CAN learn to control what goes on inside your mind and body.
To learn more about how self-sabotage keeps us stuck in unhappiness and what to do about it, watch this free and enlightening video.
To reclaim your feel-good sense, participate in the email coaching program that will personally guide you toward the positive emotions that have been dormant inside you.
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About the author:
Watch the free video The AHA! Process: An End to Self-Sabotage and discover the lost keys to personal transformation and emotional well-being that have been suppressed by mainstream mental health for decades.
The information in this video has been called the missing link in mental health and personal development. In a world full of shallow, quick-fix techniques, second rate psychology and pharmaceutical takeovers, real solutions have become nearly impossible to find. Click here to watch the presentation that will turn your world upside down.
Mike Bundrant is co-founder of the iNLP Center and host of Mental Health Exposed, a Natural News Radio program.
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