Category Archives: Emotions

Life Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect To Feel Better


My sweet girl, Kona

When you are feeling difficult emotions, whether it be stress, anxiety, sadness or overwhelm, here is a little trick.  Get distracted.

Even though I have studied personal development for many years, and have focused particularly on the subject of emotional wisdom, I have to admit that I am throwing a little pity party for myself this afternoon.  You see, I got some sad news yesterday.  I wasn’t surprised.  I’ve seen something like this coming for a while now.

I took my 14-year-old Chocolate Lab to the veterinarian yesterday.  She has a boo-boo on her foot which has been giving her some problems, so I took her in to see if Doc could give her something to make her foot feel better.  Which he did.  But, dang it, he didn’t stop there.

He saw some telltale signs of a much more serious problem.  I had noticed some changes, but didn’t have the education and experience to know exactly what that meant.  I thought she was just slowing down a little bit.  He thought her kidneys were slowing down a lot.  This diagnosis brought her mortality to the forefront of my mind.

As a coach and teacher, I help people understand that they feel the way they feel because of the thoughts they are choosing to think.  This situation is a perfect object lesson to help me remember my own soap box speech.  I am feeling sad because of what I am thinking about.  The diagnosis has brought my attention to the fact that in the near future I am going to have to say goodbye to my friend.  When I think that particular thought, the corresponding emotion is there immediately.  I have Kleenex nearby as I write this.

In the midst of all of this sadness, a funny thing happened.  Not funny ha ha, funny interesting.  My cell phone rang and it was an unwanted call from a solicitor.  I was thoroughly annoyed.  Downright indignant.  I jumped on Google and queried why in the heck solicitors are calling my cell phone.  I saw tons of irate comments from other victims, so it did not take long to realize that I clearly am not the first one to be ticked off by this development.  It actually sounds like I’m lucky it hasn’t happened sooner and more often.

Then I noticed something.  I noticed that just a minute ago I was feeling very sad about my dog and now I am feeling very cranky about unsolicited calls from solicitors.  My attention was diverted, my focus shifted, and now I am thinking about something different.  The emotions followed my thoughts just as they always do.  It is a perfect system.  If you pay attention, your emotions are a clear indicator as to what you are presently thinking about and how you are thinking about it.

With that knowledge, you have the power to feel differently at will by choosing to shift your attention and focus and therefore your thoughts.  Distraction or any other means possible is all fair game.

It is a choice, and it is okay if you don’t shift your attention.  For a few minutes, I chose to stay with the thoughts and feel sad about my sweet dog, Kona.  The thought of losing her hurts and I allowed that thought and feeling to just be there for a little while.  I love it that I get to choose, because for the vast majority of the time I have remaining with her I want to just enjoy her and make it easy for her to enjoy me.  She is sensitive to how I am feeling and she would probably prefer that I don’t drag both of us down in the dumps for the duration.

So, yeah, life is not perfect and happy things happen and sad things happen.  This is why I am so appreciative that I get to choose how I feel by managing my own focus and attention.

Affirmations and Magical Phrases


Magical phrase:  “Wouldn’t it be great if _____________”


I learned this magical phrase from my very first life coach.  I was really having a struggle with life, pretty much all aspects of my life at the time.  This is an elegantly simple process that she offered to me to help me shift my attention, and therefore my energy, to a better-feeling place.  This always creates better-feeling results.  It has worked incredibly well for me and I have used it many times to easily shift my energy to a more positive, pleasurable, productive place.


It is incredibly mind-blowing to experience the power and speed of this process.  It’s just a matter of remembering to do it.  And doing it, of course.  The reason it works so well is because it shifts your attention to what you do want and away from what you do not want, but it does it in a soft, gentle way that does not cause resistance.


This might remind you of another popular process:  affirmations.  Some people swear by them and adamantly insist that affirmations are the best thing since sliced bread.  It is true that affirmations work great for some people, but it’s just as true that they don’t work worth a flip for other people.  My theory for the apparent disparity in results is that there is a flawed premise.  Many, if not most, people believe that the power of affirmations is in the words themselves.  But the real power is the resulting feelings, because that is the indicator that your current thoughts are in alignment with your true self, you larger self, your inner being.


Affirmations are only helpful if they inspire you to a better-feeling emotional state.  Many people grit their teeth and keep saying them, purposely disregarding the fact that the affirmations are actually making them feel worse.  The worse feeling typically comes because the particular affirmation is not believable, it is out of reach for where a person is emotionally in this moment.  It would be better to completely toss affirmations out the window if they do not make you feel better, because using them is causing your energy to shift in a negative direction.  Affirmations are highly effective if you design them so that they help shift your energy in a positive direction, as evidenced by better feelings:  even if only a little better.


The phrase, “wouldn’t it be nice if ________” is so powerful because it facilitates getting your attention on what you really want without it being too much of a stretch to believe.  Therefore, it is a wonderful tool to help fine tune skill in shifting focus, but without the negative side effects of trying to convince yourself of something that you just really can’t believe.