Less Stress, More Fun

4. All about...feelings!

November 04, 2021 Lisa Schwaller Episode 4
Less Stress, More Fun
4. All about...feelings!
Show Notes Transcript

Are you comfortable with feelings? Many of us are not. We spend so much time avoiding, resisting, or overreacting to our feelings instead of seeing what a gift they offer to our lives.

But feelings are a beautiful guidance system, and make life a rich experience!

In this episode, Lisa talks about:

  • The feelings associated with stress
  • How to allow feelings without overracting
  • How feelings are our weather guide
  • How feelings are a quick slice to detect thinking

Resources mentioned:

  • George Pranksy quote: “Feelings provide our moment-to-moment experience of life. They tell us the extent to which our perceptions are distorted by our moods and thought systems.”
  • Are Emotions Born or Made?” Greater Good Magazine
  • Feeling Our Emotions” Scientific American

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This is a 5 day online group experience where we unpack your dreams and get you set up for a fun, sexy, playful, less stress new year!

Visit lisaschwaller.com/hello2022 for details. 
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You are listening to episode 4 of the Less Stress, More Fun podcast with me, your host, Lisa Schwaller. Today, we'll be talking all about feelings.

You are listening to the Less Stress, More Fun podcast. I'm your host, certified coach Lisa Schwaller. I'm here to teach you how to rise above the stress of modern life so that you can focus your energy on what matters most. Listen, the goal is not a perfect shiny life, but I am interested in helping you create a life that's perfectly suited to you. All right, let's get started. 

Hello, hello! Thank you for joining me this week to talk about feelings… “Feelings, nothing more than feelings….” All right, please! Don't leave! Don't leave. I know that was that's, that's not cool, singing on the podcast. Do you know that song? I had to Google it. I love, I love the Google. What was life like before? Don't remember, don't want to, that was the dark time. 

Anyway, that song is from 1975. Let's take a look. Oh yes. Morris Albert. And I remember…so I was but a toddler when that song came out and remember hearing it on the radio and I apparently was a very sarcastic, cheeky child because I thought it was just the most sappy, maudlin thing. But still really fun to sing!

So welcome. I am very excited to bring you part 2 in my 3 episode series around the model and kind of the framework that I use in my coaching practice and in my own life. Last time we talked about the model. I introduced the model and we talked about thoughts. Just to recap, the model is it's a framework that organizes, um, basically the, the reality of life.

I believe it to be super true that we have circumstances happen on our life or what we would put on what’s called the “C” line. Then we have thoughts about it, which produces feelings and those feelings generate actions and the actions we take or avoid taking create the results that we experience in our life.

And I love the model because it's for one thing, it's a really great way to understand why we do what we do or don't do what we do. And it really is a way for us to decide on purpose, the people we want to be and I find it is the fastest way to really create the path between the results we want to create and where we are starting from.

Last time we talked about thoughts. So we can have a circumstance and that could be someone's words to us. It could be an event that happens. It's very factual and neutral. We have thoughts about it. And those thoughts create feelings. I want to talk about stress. Because obviously one of the reasons for this podcast is to help people really tame the stress that seems so ubiquitous in modern life, like being stressed out is sometimes a badge of honor. It's sometimes a cry for help. It's sometimes just a way of describing the choices that we're making the conditions that we're finding ourselves in. And I really believe that we can do so much more to live with our circumstances in a way that does not generate stress. So stress, what is it? Well, we talked a little bit about that before.

It's like this idea that the stress comes from when things are novel, we haven't done them before, when they're unpredictable, when there's a perceived threat to how we see ourselves or when we feel like there's a loss of control, when we sense that we haven't retained control over a situation. 

But is stress a thought, is it a feeling, is it an action? Is it a result? Where would we put stress in the model. I would say sometimes stress is a thought, like I am stressed out, but the feeling, the actual body sensation that you have, like, unless you're driving, close your eyes and think I am so stressed out. What feeling do you notice? Is it anxious? Is it frustrated, sad, angry? Is it amused? Probably not that last one, but you may have your own unique reaction. 

Feelings are very subjective. You can assume someone thinks the thought, “I am so stressed out”, but is stress a feeling? I would actually offer you could put stressed as a feeling, but I would offer that when you think I am so stressed out that you put that in an as a thought and you really connect to the feeling that comes up in your body.

In fact, one of the things that I definitely want to share is a lot of times we use, “I feel…” as a way to present a thought. It's not really the feeling or the emotion or the bodily sensation. You'll see this a lot. Actually what's really interesting is sometimes certain people like in email they’ll use “I feel…” as a way to kind of soften or more gently present their thought or opinion or observation. So notice if that is the case for you. 

This was definitely the case for me. I would use, “I feel…” as a way to maybe soften the presentation of a thought. I feel frustrated when I am invited to a meeting when my calendar is already blocked, that is definitely a pet peeve of mine is that it's like, “All right. So we're both in the same organization. You can see my calendar and you just throw a meeting on my calendar, even though like 90% of the people can attend, like dude.” 

So that's a source of frustration. So if I'm like, I feel frustrated when a calendar item is booked over something else. I'm not feeling frustrated.

What I am might actually be feeling is (let's close our eyes). I am frustrated when an invite is sent without checking availability. And I feel, I don't know, maybe a little self-righteous, um, maybe a little bit confused. Like there's a lot of different ways. So one thing to really think about with feelings is that a lot of times you can almost play with, like, when you say, “I feel…” put that in as your thought and then really connect to the feeling.

When you're actually using feelings as a way to be kind of a barometer of your thinking, it's good to have just one feeling, just pick one, one feeling and, and really get in touch with that in your body. And this is the part where some of you might be leaving the podcast. Please. No, stay, stay, stay. This is the part where I was like, “Oh, the model! Okay. Circumstances happen. We have thoughts about them, which create feelings, actions, results. Great. I'll get some new thoughts I'll be in and out of here in like a week, easy peasy!” 

But the feeling line…whooo…that's the magic, like this is the best part. Feelings are something that we, as a culture (and I mean that like globally), I see this with people I work with around the world, that feelings, what happens in our mammal bodies are not supposed to be these unpredictable uncontrollable things.

And yet they are, and we're also taught in a lot of very subtle ways that not being able to control our feelings is, like, that feelings are kind of dangerous that if we let our feelings out there, like these dragons, we let out of the dungeon and then “aaargh”, these feeling dragons are going to go and slay everything and burn down the village.

But feelings are quite literally feelings, emotions, however you would describe them, they are literally just reactions in our body. The science believes they are these biochemical reactions that happen in our body and they are temporary. In fact, there is some information that an emotion in the body only lasts a minute or two. And then if it seems like it's persisting, it's usually because there's a thought loop that keeps pressing on the feeling button. 

I'll give an example. I imagine that you were in a work discussion and someone said something that you felt was just untrue. They were like, “Well, you were late with that report!”

And you're thinking, “What? No, no, no, I was not late with the report!” And maybe you feel angry because you're thinking, when they said you were late with a report, maybe you're thinking “Liar, liar, I was not late with the report!” and you're feeling angry. And, and then you're feeling angry at dinner.

You're telling your partner about it. You're telling your coworkers about it. After the meeting, anger, anger, anger. It's this persistent anger. But it's really just cause you keep thinking, “That guy…totally lying about me being late.” Like you're, you're kind of ruminating on it. Right. And you're activating the feeling you keep hitting the anger button, bringing up, you're hitting the anger button and, whoo!

Sometimes those feelings can seem like they last and last and last. Sometimes we think the anger comes from what the other person said. We're like, “Well, the reason I'm angry is because that dude totally lied in the meeting in front of all these people.” No, you're angry because you're thinking thoughts about that.

Another brain, seriously, to just offer an alternative, another person could hear that. “Lisa turned that report in…” and maybe another version of the Lisa brain is like, “That guy! He just, he can't read his calendar. That's hilarious!” and is genuinely amused and doesn't take it personally at all. And doesn't feel like their reputation is affected at all.

So feelings just come from our thoughts and feelings are fine. They really are. People are like, I don't, I don't think so. I don't think so. Lisa, I think feelings are, you got to tamp it down. You got to, and at work, we've gotta be professional, which is just a way of saying, could you please be emotional as robots unless you have emotions of being like confident and hyper successful, but we aren't, we won't do angry or frustrated or shame at work.

No, no, no, no, no. “Professional” is code for robot. So we're given all these messages that the best way to handle strong emotions is to avoid them, resist them, sometimes it's to react to them. But good gravy, no, please, please. Don't just ask me to just sit and feel the feeling and, and when you learn how to feel your feelings, like really just let them be in their body, let them be in your body without judgement: “I am really angry right now. Ooh, deep breath. Yep. This is the feeling of anger. Yep. I am thinking that that guy is a liar and man, there's a lot of anger coming with that.” Notice how, when you kind of just step back kind of label it. I dunno. Hang out with the feeling sometimes like a small child.

It's not dangerous. The anger’s not dangerous. The anger isn't going to make you do anything. So in the model, yes, circumstance, you know, activates thoughts, which generates feelings and then we take action and then we create results. Not all the time, sometimes just at the feeling line, we just sit and we're like, all right, I'm feeling this feeling.

And I don't have to feel the anger and then send a strongly worded email out to 15 of my closest corporate allies. I don't have to then take my anger and complain about it to a coworker. I don't have to then act on the anger. I just allow it to be there. And when it's good and ready, it will just, it will get bored with me, just living with the feeling and not acting on it and it might just leave. It'll just leave. 

Feelings are our weather guide. Feelings are a quick slice to detect things. If you're not sure what you're thinking, ask yourself, “What's going on in my body. What am I feeling? Hmm. I wonder what thoughts are creating that feeling?” 

One of my favorite quotes comes from George Pransky and he, um, he's part of this group of thinkers that who do the three principle thinking very, very similar to the, the model as taught by The Life Coach School.

He has a beautiful quote. He has a book on relationships. It's absolutely one of my favorites. And one of the quotes that he shares is this: “Feelings provide our moment to moment, experience of life. They tell us the extent to which our perceptions are distorted by our moods and thought systems.” 

I love that! Feelings provide our moment-to-moment experience of life. Feelings are indicators of how we're reacting, what we're believing, what we think should be happening or should not be happening. 

Feelings are, they're just our weather guide. They're just the little, like the thermostat to our life. If thoughts are like weather and feelings are like the thermostat of that weather…awesome! 

If all they are is just kind of this moment-to-moment indicator, I don't need to be scared of that. In fact, let's go, come on feelings! I will tell you that learning how to feel feelings without judgment, without avoidance…it's I feel like a super conductor for, like, emotions. Like they come in, they come out, it's sometimes very intense.

It feels like I'm able to feel them in my body in a way that's mega powerful. And I am not afraid of feelings after spending, oh, I don't know, like most of my life feeling afraid of my feelings, feeling like my bad feelings were a signal that I needed to make actual big changes in my life. I have blown up relationships. I have moved states. I have quit jobs. I have done so many counterproductive things because I thought my feelings were telling me something was wrong that I needed to correct. 

Not true. My feelings are just telling me what's going on in my mind. And then if I can see what's going on in my mind, then I can step back and say, “All right, all right, this is happening. Now what? This is happening. Now what? How will I show up?” 

Feelings are the best thing that's ever happened to me. I feel them all. I love them. Bring them on, bring them on. I am feeling like this was fun to talk about. I am hoping for this week to give you Coach Lisa’s homework. 

I want you to notice feelings this week.

How many times are you uncomfortable? When are you most comfortable? I love sorting feelings into comfortable, uncomfortable. Notice if you have feelings that you label negative and feelings that you label positive. Feelings are just body sensations. They are no different than inhaling, um, or swallowing food or any other body process that you appreciate every day.

Feelings are just a bodily process. They are not positive or negative until you label them so. Shame? Oh, and we will be talking about shame. Shame was the feeling that I avoided the most. Shame and I like…to quote Brene Brown, like, we had to rumble together. Shame…now is when I feel it…oh, I know I'm somewhere beautiful. Shame has become kind of a friend. 

Feelings are neutral. Feel them observe them, notice what you think and how you react to your feelings this week. And if you feel compelled to share, please, please let me know, come to the Facebook group and post what you're noticing as you are hanging out with your friends.

In the show notes this week, um, I've linked to a couple of articles about feelings. It's so fun to research for you guys and drop them in the show notes. So hope you enjoy that as well. All right. I feel satisfied and I feel playful and I feel like I can't wait until we talk again. 

Do you set and then break new year's resolutions? Why don't we do something different and we'll really set you up for success for next year. Join me this December for a fun 5 day group experience called “Get ready for a fun, sexy 2022!” I'll help you dream up your wildest dreams and then we'll create a plan that works with your preferences and your busy schedule.

Visit lisaschwaller.com/hello2022. For more details, the link is in the show notes. See you then.

Thanks for listening to the podcast. If you're enjoying what you're learning here, I'd love to have you as a member of my Less Stress, More Fun podcast community on Facebook. Join me there to continue the conversation from the show. Plus get access to things I share only with community members. It's been so much fun spending time with you today, and I'll talk to you next week.