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I can’t help how I feel, can I?

Have you ever thought or said (or listened to the song) “I just can’t change my emotions”?

It’s a common belief, and yet not at all true! Think about it. The same trigger can cause quite different emotions depending on your context. If you are playing with a partner or a child and they tickle you, you’ll probably laugh. If someone you don’t like tickles you, though, you are likely to hit them (or at least feel like doing so).

While emotions do just happen, there are quite a lot of things you can do to influence when and how they happen.

For example, meditating/mindfulness is proven to reduce how automatically you might fall into a particular emotion, like anger or despair. By witnessing the way that your mind comes up with thoughts, you can start to see that you are not that idea or feeling. It happens, and you can also release it.

Another approach is to tap into your emotions, as you do with the Emotional Freedome Technique. This is proven to lower stress, allowing you to release emotions and the sensations associated with them. It also puts you into a more creative mindset so you can find alternate ways to respond.

A third approach is more hypnotic: to convince your subconscious that it can do things differently. This is rather like resetting your inner context. Letting your subconscious know that it can do things another way is like changing your base understanding of your situation from ‘I am in danger’ to ‘I am safe’. Doing so will completely shift how you respond to things that happen around and inside of you.

Another thing you may think is: what if I’ve never felt a particular emotion? How can I reinforce or create something I’ve never experienced?

While it is certainly easier to strengthen or reenliven a feeling you’ve already experienced, a lot of evidence suggests it isn’t impossible. In the same way that human emotions run the same gamut of facial expressions across the world, there is something innate to feelings. The capacity to feel any particular emotion is built into you DNA, and therefore can be accessed.

If you have an emotion that you would like to release from your repertoire, and something else you would like to feel more, or feel for the first time, why not try out this very brief meditation? It might make a delightful difference to your day 🙂

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