Home décor stores have made a fortune plastering pithy messages over pillows, plaques, and mugs to encourage us to seize the day, grow where we are planted, and recognize our #blessed status. But despite their efforts, we can still feel stuck in the sludge of day-to-day life. We don’t know how to “gratitude” our way out of our feelings.
We need a new pillow that reads: Stop Fighting Your Feelings
Here’s the reality about feelings: we can’t control them. We can’t decide to stop feeling helpless. We can’t decide to stop feeling depressed. We can’t decide to stop feeling lonely. So let’s stop fighting them. Let’s acknowledge them. Let’s own that they are there. Let’s call them by name. And then, instead of trying to change the feeling, let’s create a path to different feelings by changing what we can change.
Here’s a list of 3 things you can change that can impact how you feel.
1. Change your Influences
We are influenced by the voices we choose to listen to. Those voices impact how we interact with the world around us. They can even influence our own self-talk. But these can be changed. If we are more intentionally careful about those we spend time with, the media we consume and the sources we trust, we can make big strides in changing how we feel about ourselves. Consider some honest self-evaluation to help determine who is influencing you and whether a change needs to be made.
2. Change your Perspective
It typically takes very little effort to become engulfed in self-pity. I know I’m guilty of playing the “poor me” card. This often comes because our comparisons are flawed. We can get out of our own limited views by speaking to others. Talk to others who have had similar experiences to yours. Talk to others who are very different from you and have different beliefs and values. Read, watch, and listen to people from different walks of life to expand your perspective and change the starting point of your understanding.
3. Change your Routine
Changing our routine can impact our emotions. When we do something different, we get different results. It can be hard to know where to start, so evaluating our routines is a great way to understand our patterns. We can then isolate activities and try to mix them up. What aspects of our day-to-day take more than they give? How much self-care is put into our routine? How much human connection, vulnerability, and relational work makes it in? Spicing it up will alter your routine and possibly influence your emotions.
This is not a comprehensive list, but it’s a starting point for focusing on things we can control as opposed to targeting our inevitable emotions.
What about you? What would you add to the list? What has worked for you?