How to Change Your Thoughts Right Now

Yesterday, I was listening to Jess Lively’s podcast about the law of attraction, and it got me thinking about thoughts. Sound like a brain twister? Stick with me here.

On the show, Jess and her guest, Brooke Castillo, were discussing thoughts and emotions, and whether our minds influence our feelings, or vice versa. Brooke suggested that our thoughts come first and influence our emotions, while Jess said she believes it’s the other way around: our feelings dictate the quality of the thoughts we think, similar to a radio tuned to a certain frequency. They both agreed, however, that it doesn’t really matter which comes first, only that we are consciously aware of them and discover our own unique methods for lifting ourselves up the emotional scale.

Personally, I think our thoughts and emotions are the result of a complex blend of environmental factors, past programming, and the kinds of thoughts and feelings we’re generally accustomed to experiencing. I think thoughts and emotions influence each other in an endless feedback loop from the time we’re first born, so there’s no point trying to decipher which factor is more powerful than the other in the scheme of things. They’re inextricably tied to one another like two ends of a stick (or a selenite wand, if you prefer).

But the question remains: how the heck can we get ourselves out of a funk once we’ve slid into one?

In my own personal life, I’m trying to pay close attention to my thoughts and feelings, almost as an experiment. I’m getting curious about what I believe, what I think about myself, and more importantly, how these ideas make me feel. The deeper I go into this journey of self-discovery, the more I realize that nothing is more important than my peace of mind and happiness. If you aren’t at peace, then nothing you do, nothing you achieve, nowhere you go, will change the way you feel for very long.

Peace is my first priority at this point in my life, so if you’re vibin’ with me here, check out five methods I’ve learned to help myself rise up the emotional scale in the shortest amount of time possible:

1. Stop what you’re doing, close your eyes, breathe deeply into your belly, release the tension in your face and shoulders. Seriously, do it now! I’ll wait. Did you do it? Don’t you feel better? This technique helps to create a little bit of space in my mind, my emotional field, my spirit, and the world as I perceive it. It reminds me that everything will be okay in the end, and as long as I’m breathing, I’m alive and I’m doing alright.

2. Really get conscious of your thoughts without judging them. The more conscious you are of what you’re thinking, the less power these thoughts will hold over you. Once you realize that your thoughts are just thoughts and nothing more, they lose the tight hold they’ve been keeping on your emotions, and you’re better equipped to release them. Often, I’ll become conscious of a negative thought or emotion, and it still won’t go away. That’s fine! The important thing is that you simply recognize it without judgment and let it float away naturally. Eckhart Tolle calls this “rising above” your thoughts instead of below them (which we do when we drink alcohol or watch TV), and it reminds us that our inner being is in control, not our thoughts.

3. Take action. Sometimes, I’ll feel a sense of dread about a project or task I’ve been putting off, and the longer I procrastinate, the worse the dread becomes. In this case, I somehow convince myself that I don’t want to work or get stuff done, but really, I do. It can feel like such a drag to get started on something you’ve been putting off, but the anticipation of it is always worse than the actual action itself. If you feel like this is you, stop reading this blog post and go start that project, put on your gym shoes, or make that call. You’ll probably feel better once you make the first step! Once you’re done, though, come back to read the rest. 🙂

4. Perform small rituals. Whether it’s a 10-minute meditation, a bounce on my trampoline, or taking a bath, I keep quite a few small-but-mighty rituals in my arsenal for when I feel like I need a shift in my energy. Something as simple as moving your body can create a powerful energetic shift in your mind and emotions. There are so many actions and offerings you can make to the universe every single day that may seem small, but have a huge effect on your overall energy. Burn sage, light a candle, journal it all out for a page, or drink a glass of water. You never know what ripple effects these rituals will have on your consciousness.

5. Pray. I’m currently reading Marianne Williamson’s book A Return to Love, and she really emphasizes the power of prayer and surrendering everything to God. I think total surrender to a higher power is something that’s so undervalued in a culture that’s all about action and aggression. It doesn’t really matter if you believe in God or not: you can pray to your spirit, the universe, or whatever feels natural to you. I think the most powerful way to pray is to thank the universe for all the blessings in your life, even the ones that haven’t arrived yet. When you can feel grateful for the things you don’t have yet in life, that’s when you will begin to welcome them into your experience.

The only time we have is the present. Happiness isn’t reserved for the future, it’s for right now. What do you think about this? How do you uplift yourself in the moment?

For more inspiration, check out this post on five reasons to be happy right now.