Three Steps to Shifting Your Feelings

Three Steps to Shifting Your Feelings


We we are feeling annoyed, lonely, nervous or, for that matter, any feeling that we don’t feel so comfortable with, it’s easy to wish the feeling wasn’t there or that we were feeling something more pleasant instead. If you have ever tried to ignore the unwanted feeling or to force yourself to « be happy », you will know that it doesn’t work like that. So how can we shift our feelings if we are stuck in the land of unpleasant emotions?

Do you want to the good news or the bad news first?

Good news: just because we are feeling disappointed, hurt, guilty or jealous now, doesn’t mean we will feel this way forever. Our emotions are linked to specific things that are going on in our lives and so when the circumstances in our lives or how we see these situations change, so do our feelings. Feeling a specific emotion does not mean we are doomed to feeling this way forever.

Bad news: we can’t command our feelings to change nor tell them when they should come and go. Even though the emotion may be unpleasant, it has a good reason to be there. It’s unpleasant so that we can’t ignore it and so it can catch our attention and get us to change something (either to take action or to shift our thoughts). The feeling will stick around until we get the message and make the changes we need to make.


Here are the three steps to shift your feelings:

1. Recognize that the feelings are there for a reason.

    Clarify for yourself exactly what you are feeling (use a list or Feeling Magnets to help you). There can be many different feelings at once and that is totally normal. Make note of all the emotions you are experiencing in the moment and let yourself feel them all. Feel the feelings and accept that they are there for a reason.

    2. Understand why the feelings are there

    Emotions are always linked to something specific, so what is the thought, belief, situation or view of this situation that is connected to each feeling? Observe the tape that is playing in your mind. What are you telling yourself? How are you seeing what is going on right now? It may help to understand more about why specific feelings show up – why we have them, what they bring us and how we can navigate though them (here is more on sadness, fear, anger…).

    3. Shift your thoughts or take action to change the situation

    Once we know why these feelings have come up for us, we can take them as clues and hints to know how to act next. Sometimes it’s simply about shifting our thoughts. How else can I look at this situation? What other perspective or alternative view is there? And sometimes it may mean we need to speak to someone, write a letter or make a decision about something. What action will help you to feel the way you want to feel? 


    So yes, we can shift our emotions but not without first accepting and acknowledging what we are feeling. Once we have taken to heart the message from the emotion and taken action, our emotions naturally shift. Remember: feelings want to be felt and they are there for a reason.


    To learn more about emotions and how we can stop them from getting in our way and how to make the most of them, sign up for the free Emotion Course here (33 short lessons straight in your inbox):

    Leave a comment

    Comments will be approved before showing up.