Richard carlson on feelings

Listen to Your Feelings (They Are Trying to Tell You Something) 

You have at your disposal a foolproof guidance system to navigate you through life. This system, which consists solely of your own feelings, lets you know whether you are off track and headed toward unhappiness and conflict – or on track, headed toward peace of mind. Your feelings act as a barometer, letting you know what your internal weather is like.

When you’re not caught up in your thinking, taking things too seriously, your feelings will be generally positive. They will be affirming that you are using your thinking to your advantage. No mental adjustment needs to be made.

When your experience of life is other than pleasant – when you’re feeling angry, resentful, depressed, stressed out, frustrated, and so forth, your warning system of feelings kicks in like a red flag to remind you that you are off track, that it’s time to ease up on your thinking, you’ve lost perspective. Mental adjustment does need to be made. You can think of your negative feelings in the same way you think of the warning lights on the dashboard of your car. When flashing, they let you know that it’s time to ease up.

Contrary to popular belief, negative feelings don’t need to be studied and analyzed. When you analyze your negative feelings, you’ll usually end up with more of them to contend with.

The next time you’re feeling bad, rather than getting stuck in “analysis paralysis,” wondering why you feel the way you do, see if instead you can use your feelings to guide you back in the direction toward serenity. Don’t pretend that the negative feelings don’t exist, but try to recognize that the reason you’re feeling sad, angry, stressed, or whatever is that you are taking life too seriously – you are “sweating the small stuff.” Instead of rolling up your sleeves and fighting life, back off, take a few deep breaths, and relax. Remember, life isn’t an emergency unless you make it so