SOMETIMES WHEN YOU WANT TO behave
differently, you dont feel like it when the time
comes. And sometimes when you want to feel differently,
you dont really know how to get there from where you are.
Maybe you want to feel confident talking with strangers or feel
cheerful at work, but you dont know how to feel
confident or cheerful. Well, there is a way.
The principle is simple: Assume the posture
you would have if you felt the way you want to feel, breathe
the way you would breathe, talk the way you would talk, think
the things you would think, act the way you would act
do the things you would do if you felt the way you want to feel.
Are you depressed and want to feel happy?
Move your body like you move it when youre happy. If you
cant remember what its like to be happy, move your
body the same way youve seen others move when they looked
happy. Put the same expression on your face. Imagine or remember
the way you talk to yourself and the kind of perspective you
might have about your situation when youre happy, and then
say those things to yourself and take that perspective.
In other words, act as though you
If you are angry and want to be calm, act
as though you were calm. Do you feel weak and want to be
strong? Act as though you were strong.
What youre doing is changing everything
that can be changed, and this changes your feelings, which
cant be changed directly.
Remember Pavlovs dogs? Pavlov rang
a bell every time he fed the dogs, and the dogs associated the
sound of the bell with the taste of food. So when the bell rang,
the dogs salivated, even when there was no food.
For your whole life youve been relating
certain body postures, facial expressions, breathing patterns,
etc., to certain feelings like happiness or calmness or strength.
The postures and facial expressions and feelings belong together.
So when you act as though youre relaxed, you begin to feel
relaxed. When you act as though you feel good, you begin to feel
good. And after awhile, you arent acting. Its like
siphoning gas you suck on the hose at first, and then
it comes out by itself.
Acting as though also changes
reality, which tends to reinforce the feelings. For example,
people who feel depressed typically arent very friendly.
If they acted like a person who felt good, they would act friendlier,
which would cause people to act friendly in return, which would
make the person feel less depressed. It creates an upward spiral.
Change how you act and what you do and your feelings will change.
You will get a better response from the world, which will reinforce
your good feelings.
Act as though you already feel
the way you want to feel.