Well, my friend, the truth is, YOU CAN’T. And–even more importantly–you actually don’t want to.
I know when lots of us first start doing mindset work, we really think the goal is to be happy and positive all the time. I mean that sounds great, doesn’t it?
Imagine if you felt terrific all day, every day, forever. You know what that would actually feel like?
Contrast is actually the reason that things feel good. If you never felt bad, you wouldn’t know what good was. If you never felt sad, you wouldn’t know what happy was. If you didn’t feel fear, you wouldn’t understand safety.
All of our feelings are meaningful only because we know what their opposites feel like.
So, what you really, truly want is to make space for all of your feelings.
Here’s how feelings work
- Step One: something happens. Let’s say a bear walks out of the woods right in front of you.
- Step Two: you have a thought. Probably something like, “OMG, BEAR!” That thought is actually an electrical impulse inside your brain that sets off a chemical and hormonal reaction that affects various parts of your body, which is step three…
- Step Three: you feel the feeling of all those chemicals and hormones in your bloodstream. In the case of the bear, your heart would pound, your eyes would widen, your pupils would dilate, and your breathing rate would quicken, all because of the flood of hormones and chemicals that your body released. Through years of social conditioning and language building, you’ve probably learned to label this collection of body sensations as “fear.”
- Step Four: your feelings naturally dissipate on their own. This is the part that most people don’t pay attention to, but it’s the most important part. It’s where, chemically speaking, your body returns to homeostasis, which means balance, and is your body’s natural inclination.
This whole process of stimulus, thought, physical response and dissipation takes 90 seconds.
“Why do hot flashes make me miserable all day?”
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Pahla, this can’t possibly be true – I have definitely been miserable all day because of hot flashes!” Right?
Here’s why: because you keep thinking a thought that creates an emotion, and then not allowing the emotion to come up and dissipate on its own. And don’t worry, we all do this!
Does this sound familiar?
You start having a hot flash, and you think, “This sucks!” and you feel angry. But then you start having an internal dialogue with yourself:
“I don’t want to be angry about this, it’s just Mother Nature doing her thing.”
“But it sucks! It’s awful!”
“But being angry won’t help me feel better, so I should just let this go.”
“BUT THIS SUCKS!”
Back and forth, all day long, the feeling of anger comes up and you squash it back down, trying to feel better. And what happens instead is that you feel worse.
So, try this instead. It’s going to feel super weird, but it works. The next time you feel angry about having a hot flash… feel angry.
Like, sit down and just allow that anger to come welling up inside you. Don’t get me wrong here, it’s going to feel terrible! But it’s only going to feel terrible for 90 seconds, and then your body is going to do what it does best: it will flush those “anger” hormones and chemicals out of your bloodstream and return to homeostasis.
Which will leave you open and ready for the next emotion… you know, something happy and positive.