We, as humans, have the capacity to feel and experience different feelings. Feelings are generally described as good (e.g. love, happiness, joy, contentment, fulfillment) or bad (e.g. disappointment, upset, frustration, anger, embarrassed). Have you ever stopped to think about what exactly is a feeling? A feeling (or an emotion) starts in the brain with our thoughts and is a vibration (or energy) we experience in the body. This is different from a sensation which starts in the body and travels to the brain. Sensations are involuntary. Think about the sensation of being cold. Being cold arises from the body to signal the brain to seek heat.
Why Do Our Feelings Matter?
All feelings are caused by our thoughts. We have the thought, “I love my spouse” and then we feel love. Contrary to popular belief, it is not our circumstances that cause our feelings. For instance, a new car doesn’t directly make us happy. It’s the thoughts about having the new car that makes us happy. Thoughts such as “I have a clean, shiny new car with the new car smell,” “I love this car”, “I am successful” or any other number of thoughts can cause the feelings of happiness and joy. Some people may buy a new car and are not as elated as others. Why? It is because of what they are thinking. Thoughts create our feelings. Great. Why is that important? Because it is our feelings that drive all of our actions (or lack of action).
We want to be deliberate about how we feel because our feelings will determine the actions we take.
Feelings are the Reason We Do Things
It is important to understand that feelings are a consequence of our thoughts and our thoughts are generated in the brain. So, if we don’t like a certain feeling we are having, we know that we can change the thought in our brain to feel differently. We want to be deliberate about how we feel because our feelings will determine the actions we take.
Think about your thoughts and feelings about drinking. As someone who is not an alcoholic but enjoys drinking, you may be thinking, “I like how relaxed I feel when I have my first drink.” This thinking, and hence this feeling, may lead you to drink another and possibly more than you really wanted. The thoughts you had about drinking led to more drinking.
If we begin to change our thoughts about drinking, it will change our actions. All actions come from our feelings. This gets to the root of the problem – our thinking. It was like magic when I figured this out. And it was the secret for me in cutting way back on drinking.