Why Changing Your Emotions Is 1000X More Important Than Changing Your Thoughts
Check out this guest post from published writer and former client of Millennial Success Coaching, Acela!
“Change your thoughts, Change your life!”
Almost everyone’s heard this tagline for ‘The Law of Attraction.’
And boy do we gobble it up.
Emboldened by visions of flashy cars and new houses—of a sparkling new life—we put all our hopes into this mystical universal force, and we adopt new mantras:
Always be positive! I can achieve anything!! I am successful and I am worth it!!!
But if getting everything you wanted in life were as simple as changing your thoughts (and watching ‘The Secret’), then why aren’t more people living their dream life?
Why is it still so frickin’ hard to change?
From my experience in self improvement, there’s more to attaining what you desire than just simply thinking. It really has more to do with how you feel and what you do.
Anyone can think: “I’m rich, I’m rich, I’m rich.”—it’s not that hard to do. You could repeat that phrase until you’re blue in the face.
But if you don’t have an ecstatic feeling behind those thoughts, an emotion that propels you to act in accordance with the dream of growing rich, then you certainly won’t act any different, and your life will not have changed except now you’re blue in the face.
This is why you can’t just change your thoughts…
You must also change your feelings!
Your thoughts have to be partnered with strong mental imagery and elevated emotion if you want them to drive positive action steps that move you toward your desired results; that’s life as an emotional being. And there’s one ‘elevated emotion’ that trumps them all—that can demolish negative thinking in an instant—that can make you unstoppable—and that can attract that brand new life.
Coming into gratitude after a lifetime of feeling down on myself was not easy. I used to always want to be someone else, because magically being someone else was much easier than taking responsibility for my thoughts and emotions. I didn’t know gratitude was an option yet.
So when I had the opportunity to be grateful for me and generate positive feelings that could change my life, or to be jealous of things other people had that I really wanted and feel sorry for myself, I always chose the latter. And that ungrateful attitude influenced all my decisions.
I can trace so many toxic relationships to not actively feeling grateful. (Why wouldn’t I be okay with a clearly abusive guy if I didn’t value my life?) I can attribute my addictions to not practicing gratitude, and can see so clearly now that every bad decision I ever made was rooted in a desire to escape myself, rather than embrace my life and appreciate the good things in it.
This all changed when I started coaching.
My coach flat out refused my ungrateful attitude. I had to confront myself each morning for at least five minutes, reflecting on the inspiring and amazing things in my life as soon as I woke up, and not starting the day before I had created an overwhelming sense of thankfulness. (This is actually possible, no matter how low you feel when you wake up—it just takes practice.)
Then throughout the day I had to stick to a daily plan that gave me plenty of things to feel grateful for—taking action on my writing dreams, loving myself, stuff like that. And part of the daily plan was checking off ten checkboxes for pausing to feel grateful for the awesome things that I was doing for myself, from mundane things to the dream-stuff.
In the Millennial Success coaching program, I simply didn’t have the option to be ungrateful. And the more I committed to my gratitude practice and my goals, the better I felt about myself and my life and the more energy and enthusiasm I had to better my life with. It was an amazing thing to experience.
In my transformation, I can’t really say that the change came from changing my thoughts—because I had done that before. But when I elevated my emotional state by choosing to feel grateful (no matter how awful I felt!), that’s when I finally overcome all the depression and despair that used to rule my life.
Now I thank God for my beautiful body and brilliant mind and my family (imperfect as they are), for my new publications, for following my path of inspiration, and for all the miracles and circumstances and blessings that led to me being right here. As long as I continue choosing gratitude in my habits and routines, the list will keep growing!
Some tips to help you perfect your own gratitude practice
1-Make gratitude your first thought on waking and the last thoughts before you go to bed.
But just like I mentioned earlier, go for more than the thought of gratitude—feel it! Feel the joy or awe or excitement or thankfulness or whatever emotion that you first experienced with the memory you’re focusing on.
Don’t know what to feel grateful for? Appreciate the most precious thing: life and the breath of life. Feel grateful for the opportunity to improve your life and make incredible changes today!
2-Gratitude for things to come can make you feel incredible!
I didn’t always feel this great. I didn’t always wake up feeling thankful. I struggled for decades with depression, anxiety, self-pity, complacency and loneliness.
But when I started feeling grateful for things that I didn’t have yet but wanted, I amplified my gratitude and developed a sense of certainty for the future. Meditate with feelings of gratefulness while envisioning the details of your desired future.
3-Constant gratitude can quickly and significantly change your life.
When you’re constantly grateful, there’s no room for anger and frustration, or lingering on letdowns. You feed what you focus on. So when you’re frustrated you’ll get more to be frustrated about. If you’re feeling angry, you’ll get more to be angry about.
However, when you choose to feel grateful, you’ll get more to be grateful for.
Can you be grateful one hundred percent of the time? Why not? At the very least, you can shoot for more gratitude than you felt yesterday. And that’s always a possibility!