It’s very difficult to believe that we have built such strong ideas around the notionCycles.jpg that how we are feeling “just happens” to us. It’s hard to believe that what we feel is a result of choices we have made over time that have become habits and patterns of feelings.

Feelings are very changeable. You just have to want to change them. Recently something happened to me which seemed very negative and unexpected. It was very hard to believe that even the negative looking thing could become something positive -that it could be transformed to work for the good. It was very hard to start feeling gratitude even at a “1” when “10” is a lot and “l” is a little.

In fact, I just started saying “gratitude, gratitude, gratitude,” and it didn’t feel like anything happened. It felt like it was all just in my head. I kept thinking of things for which I felt grateful, and picturing them, but I couldn’t feel gratitude. I could only think it. Maze.jpg

I realized that I was thinking gratitude but I was really feeling fear. Fear and worry, worry and fear-it was like an obsessive cycle that did not want to let go of my mind.

I journaled and said “gratitude, gratitude” and felt oh so little of it.

I prayed and obsessed over fear and worry. God was not to be found.

And then I followed some of my own advice. I put on the new CD for the Emotional Gym and I just kept moving to music, remembering the moves, and moving from one to another. When I finished, I noticed that I did feel a little better. The edge was off, but I was still dulled and not really with it in the same way that I usually am. The feelings were anything but lifted, except perhaps just a little.

And then something happened that totally took my mind off of everything. It was the silliest thing – the recycling man was driving by my house and forgot to pick up my bin of recycled trash… I took ofRecycle_Bins.jpgf down the street after him and caught him He backed up and he took the trash away. I stood there feeling relieved that the trash was gone! And guess what? The fear and the anxiety largelyTin_Can.jpg went away with the trash. Just like that!

I had a few more minor bouts with it the rest of the day, but the cycle was largely broken and gone.

It was my choice. I could remember the day when I would have been depressed and down for a week, isolating and complaining only to the people who were close enough that they had no choice but to listen.

Choice. It’s a choice.

About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute