Have you ever received a text message that irritated you?
You talk about it with your partner for validation but he disagrees with the way you have interpreted it. You then look at the message again and realise there can be different meanings. You’ve interpreted the message the wrong way because you were already in a bad mood.
Our emotions constantly regulates what we experience as reality. We all interpret meanings based on our thoughts and moods.
Here are 7 tips on how to use your willpower to change your mind.
1. Practice physical exercise.
The best and quickest way to change your mood is by getting active. As you do something physical, your body will release endorphines. Endorphines affect emotions and reduce the sensation of pain.
That’s why many runners will say that they feel happy after a long-distance run. This state can be called a runner’s high.
But don’t worry if running doesn’t appeal to you, there are many ways to get active. I personally prefer to go for a brisk walk or clean the house while listening to upbeat music. You will also feel better after using your willpower to get active when you see the result of the task you’ve completed. Don’t you feel so much more comfortable and satisfied when your desk is clean and tidy or your clothes that were all over the floor are folded neatly in the cupboard?
2. Change your attitude.
Every emotion has an attitude.
If you are feeling upset, angry or pissed off, pull your shoulders back, look up, breath deeply and smile. This will make it harder to continue feeling that way.
3. Repeat a Mantra to yourself.
Since I’ve read The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma (click here to see the review), I repeat this sentence to myself everyday, “I am healthy, dynamic and fully alive”.
You can repeat it to yourself as many times as you like. In the book, it is advised to repeat it 30 times a day. While you’re walking, cooking, shopping… But you can also repeat this sentence when you are lacking energy or have a headache.
I also use this sentence with other people. When I drive my boyfriend to work in the morning and he doesn’t have the right energy, I repeat it to him. Now he knows it and smiles and finishes saying the mantra with me.
4. Change the meaning you attribute to things.
When you talk about an unwanted emotion, you give it power, spread it and make it stronger. This is a paradox that people usually fall into. When you don’t want to feel a certain way, don’t talk about it and forget about it.
I was very angry with one of my housemates (X). It upset me and even made me sick. Another housemate laughed at me and told me I was being ridiculous. Even if she agreed with my point of view, she told me to stop worrying too much about people.
Then she said something that made me understand, “Imagine your life is a cake. For me, X isn’t even part of it. But for you, X represents almost a quarter of your life”. I realised she was right and I had to review the importance I gave to that person.
That day I wrote down my emotions about X and burnt them.
This is the only way you can definitely get rid of a negative feeling. If you hide it, it will always be there, even if you don’t recognise it. If you reject it, it will come back to you even stronger. If you forgive, you will feel at peace and won’t pay attention to it anymore, it won’t have any reason to keep bothering you.
6. Listen to some music and move like a child.
Music is known to be a good medium to change our mood. Choose your music wisely to target the mood you want to be in. Then, dance like a child, as if nobody was watching. Imagine you have wings and let go.
When I was 14 I attended some theatre courses. Before acting we would do some exercises, such as, what my teacher called “The village idiot”. We just had to relax all of our muscles and act as a perfect idiot jumping all around the room making weird noises. It sounds crazy but believe me it was fun! This excercise allowed us to really let go.
7. Motivate yourself
What you know is that you want to achieve your goals and succeed in whatever you choose. Try observing your emotions and using your willpower to redirect unwanted emotions. You have the power to be what you want to be and every tool you need is inside you. You can motivate yourself to change the feelings that you don’t want to experience into positive feelings that will serve you and help you achieve your goals.
“Seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world”. A Course In Miracles.
Move your body to change your emotions and be the master of your thoughts.
To be more aware of the way you feel at the moment, write down your emotions every hour. Try to be specific. At the end of the day you can ask yourself, “How did I feel today?”. This will help you know if you’re in the state you want to be in and if it is helping you get to your goals. If not, change your emotions using one of the techniques presented above. You can do the same exercise for a longer period.
How did you feel last week? How did you feel last month?