End Time Feeling
So things happen to us in our lives that effect the way we feel.
How about taking the power back and choosing how we want to feel first and living into that future instead?
We might be at work and feel uncomfortable and anxious when a colleague asks an unexpected question that we don’t know the answer to. We can feel overwhelmed and distracted when there are a lot of tasks to be done and we don’t know where to start. Maybe we have a whole weekend ahead of us, with no plans and our desire to ‘not waste time’ is strong. Neuro-research has shown that people make choices on the basis of two perceived outcomes and the feelings attached to those outcomes.
We take action to either move towards pleasure or to avoid pain. The desire to avoid pain, naturally is the stronger and the most insistent drive of the two. The survival instinct is much stronger than the instinct to achieve a pleasurable experience, as you may imagine, being alive is a stronger draw than whether or not you have a pleasurable cherry on top!
However, our anticipation that something will somehow have a negative effect, during the acquisition, can hold us back from really going for something. We may believe that we won’t be ‘safe’ if we truly aim for the pleasurable things in life. So the stronger survival drive kicks in and we keep ourselves ‘safe’. Even though, the action we have wanted to take isn’t actually life threatening it can feel very unsafe when we haven’t done it before, so the drive to keep ourselves safe shouts loudest and we then avoid really striving for the beautiful pleasurable life that we truly desire.
So, how can we dictate our feelings? How can we forecast the internal weather of our emotional experience of life?
Let’s choose a destination. How do you want to feel?
It’s a simple question and we forget to ask ourselves.
If you answer ‘happy’, then that might just be a little bit too general. Whilst we are practicing, it is much easier to dissect the process of intent towards a particular feeling when it is more specific.
To give you a clear example.
Some mornings, I will start my working day with lots of things I could do. I can feel motivated and yet I might very quickly go into distraction mode…check my emails, check Facebook, Google for the sale offers of my favourite companies websites… So instead I use a method called ‘END TIME FEELING’. I step away from my desk for a moment and put the list of possible tasks for the day out of my mind. I then imagine myself sat in front of my evening meal that day and focus my attention on how I want to feel at that point in the day. So, for me to feel like I have made the most of my time, and that I have had a positive day, I visualise the feeling I want to achieve.
Today I am going to choose the feelings ‘calm and satisfied’.
Now, I spend a little bit of time really making that visualisation clear. Imagining myself sat down about to eat my meal and sensing the calm and satisfied feelings in my body. It feels attainable.
I then go back to my desk with a clear destination for the day.
I then write a list of the tasks that I want to address that day, and in which order I want to approach them. All the tasks that I choose are somehow associated with attaining a sense of calm and satisfaction later, when I have achieved them.
It is then clear for me to see which activities I want to avoid, which I know from previous experience have not taken me to the calm and satisfied feelings, such as surfing aimlessly on the net, spending hours making the meal tonight, as an even more elaborate distraction from the work I know I want to achieve! So I make a plan and I bring some of the feelings that I visualised into the now. I choose to approach the work feeling calm.
End time feeling, can be used for any chosen time frame. It is self-coaching at its best.
How often have you come back from a holiday feeling like you didn’t get what you had hoped from your time away? Did you set out an intention of what you wanted to achieve in the first place? You might not be psychic, but you can approach situations with a desire to achieve something, instead of feeling like life just happens to you, and that you are simply making the best of what is thrown at you.
As a self-employed person I have learnt a lot about what I need to help me to get stuff done. I have also done more than my fair share of avoiding things and doing lots of ‘useful’, but ultimately fruitless tasks. When my husband and I started our organic veg box scheme we delivered to homes twice a week, so there was a lot of structure to my week. We collected and packed the veg on Mondays and Wednesdays, delivered on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the veg orders had to be collected in from the customers on Wednesdays and given to the farmers on Thursdays. We had weekends ‘off’. We had a routine and it worked so well for me. I had accountability and deadlines, the satisfaction of finishing one week and getting ready for the next. I had busy times and quiet times, it had a rhythm.
When we sold Dig in 2011 I had already been coaching part time for 2 & 1/2 years, fitting it around the routine of packing boxes etc. Now that the structure of the week had gone, I really struggled with motivating myself. I knew I wanted to be coaching, but being ‘out there’ as a coach, I felt like I had to grow a whole new skill set. At times I was really crippled with doubt and fear. I knew all the things that I could be doing to attract clients, but I spent a lot of time cooking and going on long walks with my dog. The money we had earned from selling Dig was quickly running out. I believed that I deserved a rest, after 4 years of building up and then selling our veg business, but I was using it to avoid presenting myself in my new role as ‘coach’. I knew that I needed to help myself by creating some structure in my life, that would help me overcome the stuck feeling.
My working day at home would come to an close, Alan would come back from work and I would’ve made dinner and done a couple of tasks, but I didn’t feel fulfilled. I felt as though I wasn’t fulfilling my potential and that I was avoiding doing stuff. Something had to give, and I decided to chose a new way of working. I wanted to acknowledge the work I was doing, rather than focussing on what I hadn’t, but I knew I wanted to feel good all the way through the process and understand myself better.
The next morning, I had a whole working day ahead of me, so I created a plan. I focussed on the particular time the previous evening of sitting down to dinner in the evening. Then I asked myself what the exact feeling was that I had experienced that I hadn’t enjoy. I really tuned in to thoughts behind the feelings too. Then I asked myself how I wanted to be feeling at dinner time that coming evening. I knew I wanted to feel a sense of fulfilment, so I imagined myself feeling fulfilled that evening at dinner time. I closed my eyes and visualised myself at the dinner table eating my meal and feeling fulfilled and pleased with what I had achieved that day. I then imagined what time that would be. I chose 6.30pm. It was now 9.30am. So I had 9 hours to create that for myself.
Photo credit: ‘Water Under The Bridge’ Shirley Bainbridge.