What are you feeling now?
How long did it take you to answer that question?
Did you instantly know if you were happy, sad or mad, or a variant of one of those? We have 100s of feelings and emotions to choose from (note that consider feelings and emotions to be the same thing), but some of us are very unaware of our feelings. We don’t consider how they help or hinder us in getting the results that we want in our lives, even though everything we do, or don’t do, is because of how we want to feel. We want to lose weight because of how we think we will feel when we are slim, we want to eat the cookie because of how we imagine we will feel when we get a dopamine hit and sugar rush.
Feelings work is a major component of my weight loss program. I teach that there are four options when it comes to feeling a feeling.
The first thing we can do, and what most of us do if it is a negative feeling is resist that feeling. Many of us spend a lot of time resisting our emotions because we are afraid of what that experience of them will be because we associate the experience of an emotion to what it’s like to experience it after we’ve resisted it because it explodes. Using will power to try and avoid eating foods that you like is an example of resisting feelings. Resting feels is tiring and when we get worn down, we often over react, for example we may binge eat after a period of feeling deprived whilst trying to diet, because we have been resisting the feeling.
The experience of being alive and being a human being is the experience of feeling emotion. Emotion isn’t one of those things that you can go through your life and not experience or acknowledge as something that’s important because everything we do or don’t do is because of a feeling we want or don’t want. Our feelings run all our motivation and our feelings run all our lack of motivation.
Reacting to feelings
The second thing we can do with an emotion is react to it. A lot of people believe that feeling an emotion means you need to react to it. For example, they believe that if they’re going to feel anger that they must act angry by yelling at someone or throwing something or punching a pillow to really react to it and act it out.
Now, a lot of us have ways to reacting to anger that don’t allow us to feel it at all. If we’re feeling angry and then we’re screaming and yelling at someone and then they’re reacting to our reaction, then we haven’t experienced what it’s like to be angry. We’ve only reacted to it. I really want to make sure that those two things are differentiated because just because you’re feeling an emotion doesn’t mean you’re doing anything. I could sit here and feel very angry and you would never know. I could feel very sad and you would never know. Just because I’m angry doesn’t mean I’m going to have an expression of it. A lot of times the expression of an emotion, the reaction of an emotion on my face or through my body is part of the reaction to it that doesn’t allow it to be fully experienced. I really want to make sure that you separate those two out. Just because I’m screaming, and yelling doesn’t mean that I’m experiencing the emotion. It means I’m reacting to it.
Distraction from feeling
The third option we have when it comes to our emotions is to distract ourselves from it. This is what I did with regards to over eating. I always thought I was a very calm, non emotional person and the reason is because I ate whenever I was feeling bored, or stressed or in need of comfort,
There are other ways of distracting ourselves from emotion that may seem more positive like over-exercising or overworking or over-socialising or being overly busy. Just because it looks like a productive way to not feel because you’re distracting yourself … I mean, even taking a walk or taking a bath or getting a massage or getting a pedicure can be a way of not feeling, of a way of distracting yourself from an emotion, by not focusing on it, not thinking about it.
Those are three options. You can resist an emotion, react to an emotion, distract yourself from an emotion. The last option is to feel it and that is what I am going to describe in detail in tomorrow’s blog post.