Live powerfully into your future
How about taking the power back and choosing how we want to feel first and living into that chosen future? Things happen to us in our lives that affect the way we feel, but if we begin with an intention of 'how we wish to be' set out, it is so much easier to maintain our perspective and own our emotions, without being buffeted around by the people and situations that we encounter.
We might be at work and feel uncomfortable and anxious when a colleague asks an unexpected question that we don’t know the answer to. We can feel overwhelmed and distracted when there are a lot of tasks to be done and we don’t know where to start. Maybe we have a whole weekend ahead of us, with no plans and our desire to ‘not waste time’ is strong. Neuro-research has shown that people make choices on the basis of two perceived outcomes and the feelings attached to those outcomes.
We take action to either move towards pleasure or to avoid pain. The desire to avoid pain, naturally is the stronger and the most insistent drive of the two. The survival instinct is much stronger than the instinct to achieve a pleasurable experience, as you may imagine, being alive is a stronger draw than whether or not you have a pleasurable cherry on top!
However, our anticipation that something will damage us somehow during the acquisition can hold us back from really going for something. We may believe that we won’t be ‘safe’ if we truly aim for the pleasurable things in life. So the stronger survival drive kicks in and we keep ourselves ‘safe’. Even though, the action we have wanted to take isn’t actually life threatening it can feel very unsafe when we haven’t done it before, so the drive to keep ourselves safe shouts loudest and we then avoid really striving for the beautiful pleasurable life that we truly desire.
So, how can we dictate our feelings?
How can we forecast the internal weather of our emotional experience of life?
Let’s choose a destination. How do you want to feel?
It’s a simple question and we forget to ask ourselves.
If you answer ‘happy’, then that might just be a little bit too general. Whilst we are practicing, it is much easier to dissect the process of intent towards a particular feeling when it is more specific.
To give you a clear example:
Some mornings, I will start my working day with lots of things I could do. I can feel motivated and yet I might very quickly go into distraction mode... check my emails, check Facebook, Google for the sale offers of my favourite companies websites… So instead I use a method called ‘end day thinking’. I step away from my desk for a moment and put the list of possible tasks for the day out of my mind. I then imagine myself sat in front of my evening meal that day and focus my attention on how I want to feel at that point in the day. So, for me to feel like I have made the most of my time, and that I have had a ‘good’ day, I visualise the feeling I want to achieve.
Today I am going to choose the feelings ‘calm and satisfied’.
Now, I spend a little bit of time really making that visualisation clear. Imagining myself sat down about to eat my meal and sensing the calm and satisfied feelings in my body. It feels attainable.
I then go back to my desk with a clear destination for the day.
I then write a list of the tasks that I want to address that day, and in which order I want to approach them. All the tasks that I choose are somehow associated with attaining a sense of calm and satisfaction later, when I have achieved them.
It is then clear for me to see which activities I want to avoid, which I know from previous experience have not taken me to the calm and satisfied feelings, such as surfing aimlessly on the net, spending hours making the meal tonight, as an even more elaborate distraction from the work I know I want to achieve! So I make a plan and I bring some of the feelings that I visualised into the now. I choose to approach the work feeling calm.
End day thinking, can be used for any chosen time frame. It is self-coaching at its best.
How often have you come back from a holiday feeling like you didn’t get what you had hoped from your time away? Did you set out an intention of what you wanted to achieve in the first place? You might not be psychic, but you can approach situations with a desire to achieve something, instead of feeling like life just happens to you, and that you are simply making the best of what is thrown at you. You can choose, it only takes a couple of minutes to tune in to what you truly want and then go for it.
You are powerful beyond measure, have fun with it!
About the author
Based in the north of England, Beth works with clients from all over Europe, mostly on Skype. Beth is passionate about food and the wild too, her weekend retreats are a sensory immersion and are truly life changing.
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Karen Hayns MSc - Future PerfectSeptember 11th, 2017