Emotions are incredibly powerful. In fact, they color everything in life. But an emotion cannot exist without a thought to drive it and give it life. What’s more, emotions can’t be changed simply because you decide they ought to.

Even if you pride yourself on being highly rational, you probably suspect that your emotions are the strongest force in your existence. You may have trouble figuring out how to change the way you feel, even when you don’t like where it takes you.

Put simply, energy flows where attention goes. And it is in the mind that the battle plays out, because your thoughts and your focus of attention direct the flow of energy – and it is in the mind that they can be changed.

As you change your thoughts, you will notice that your mood, feelings and emotions will follow. In due course, your actions and behaviors will fall into line with your thoughts as well.

Understanding this principle is essential if you want to change your attitude.

Your thoughts don’t travel in one direction only. We take in thoughts; yet we also send them out and project them onto the world outside ourselves. Put differently, whatever we enact in the outside world has its origins in the inside world of our minds – and it is not always lovely!

Once we recognize this, we come close to a real understanding of what self-responsibility is. You and I are collectively responsible for the world outside ourselves. Everything in this world – the good, the bad, and everything in between – begins with thought.

The spiritual description of this process takes it a step further, reminding us that we are actually creating the world outside ourselves through the power of our thinking. War, violence and injustice, as well as goodness, kindness and mercy, are all states of mind originated and sustained by our thoughts. No wonder the Course in Miracles calls the original thought of separation the “tiny, mad idea!”

It is through our thinking and the actions that flow from there that we add to our collective well-being – or not.

The Brahma Kumaris teachers of Peace Of Mind meditation teach the same concept with their statement that “Peace is just a thought away.”

Just imagine how exquisite our world and our lives would be if we consistently let ourselves believe and experience that. We would be able to create peace, have peace and offer peace to one another!

This meaningful change starts with taking charge of our thoughts and harnessing what is known in Buddhism as the monkey mind. Here are five simple steps to change the way you feel:

1.    Change your thinking – and you will also change the way you feel.
2.    Challenge beliefs that hold you back or harm you – and you will change the way you feel.
3.    Notice when you fall into dreary or pessimistic thinking and take positive action instead – and you will change the way you feel.
4.    Limit the attention you give to what is going wrong or what is disappointing or hurtful in your life – and you will change the way you feel.
5.    Increase the attention you give to what is positive, uplifting, hopeful and supportive – and you will radically change the way you feel.

This all seems so obvious! It begs the question of why we don’t automatically weed out the thoughts that hurt us and cultivate supportive thoughts instead. Why don’t we act decisively, knowing that our feelings will change as we do so?

I believe that we most often allow the monkey mind to run wild simply because we don’t realize that our thoughts drive our behaviors. Nor do we realize that we can do something about those thoughts; that we can direct them instead of being overwhelmed by them.

You and I know better now! We can change our thoughts at any time by using these five simple skills to challenge, change, notice, and limit negative thoughts so we can increase our focus on what is positive. In so doing, our emotional well-being will thrive.

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.