How to Experience More Positive Emotions Everyday, Thanks to Jess Lively’s Podcast
posted on March 24, 2016 | by Amanda Holstein
As I mentioned last week, I’ve been on a total podcast kick, particularly Jess Lively’s The Lively Show. I seriously can’t get enough! I’m a huge believer in changing the way you think in order to create a better, happier life and her show continues to amaze me. It’s so applicable to everyday life and I love that the ultimate goal of just about every episode is to become a happier person. And since happiness is the most important thing to me, I just can’t get enough of her insight.
After listening to episode #127: How to Experience More Positive Emotions Everyday, I couldn’t help but share some of the learnings that I will definitely be implementing into my daily life. My overview will give you just a taste of her show, but I highly recommend listening to that episode yourself!
Feelings are a result of thoughts, not external circumstances.
It’s totally normal to think external actions & experiences directly affect your mood — we all do it. For example, maybe you assume that a bad date is what caused you to feel disappointed. Or that a long to-do list is causing you to feel overwhelmed. Technically, you could have a long to-do list without feeling overwhelmed, right? I mean, that’s physically possible. That’s because a long list (or a bad date) cannot control your emotions — it’s the thoughts behind these external things that trigger an emotion.
For example, if your belief is that you must complete your to-do list in order to feel productive, then you’re bound to feel stress as long as your to-do list exists (and let’s be honest, how many of us actually finish our to-do lists?). It’s this belief that’s causing you stress, not the to-do list itself.
If you change your thoughts, you can change your emotions.
What if, instead, you believed that you were being productive, even without finishing that to-do list? That you’d ideally like to complete that to-do list, but if you only get through some of it, you’ll know you’ve still accomplished a lot? Then, no matter how much you get done, you’ll feel productive, less stressed, and therefore, happier.
You have the ability to choose your thoughts.
Let’s take the bad date example. You can decide how you want to think about your date. You can tell yourself that the date must go perfectly in order to be a success; or you can have the mentality that no matter how the date goes, you still get something out of it and it’s still worth your time. If you choose the latter, then you won’t experience the feeling of disappointment if the date goes poorly.
Changing your thoughts, and thus your emotions, takes practice.
Jess Lively gave a great example of how she’s able to experience the feeling of gratitude every single day, because she literally practices gratitude by writing down 5 things she’s grateful for every morning. The more she’s repeated these thoughts, the easier it’s become for her to feel gratitude everyday.
Learning to experience more positive emotions is like strengthening a muscle — or if you studied psychology, you know that it’s about strengthening the neural connections in your brain. Right now, your brain is trained to think a certain way, so it’s going to take effort and practice to change that. How can you practice? Recognize when you experience a positive emotion and spend a few minutes focusing on that emotion. Be aware when you’re feeling a negative emotion as well, and ask yourself if you can change your thoughts in order to change that emotion.
I think the most important thing I took away from this episode is that I have total control over the way I feel. By simply adjusting my thought process and being more self-aware, I can experience more positive emotions everyday. I mean, how empowering is that?