What Does It Mean To Act How You Want to Feel?
Human beings are creatures of thought AND emotion. Thoughts and emotions are how we process experience – they help us navigate through the world. There is a hierarchy of processing that occurs in the brain, in this hierarchy, thoughts usually take precedence over feelings, feelings are generated in an older part of the brain than thoughts. This means that emotions and the feelings they generate can have the ability to overpower rationality. When this happens, how you feel is then translated outward into the world as actions.
As long as you’re feeling positive, there isn’t a problem with emotions preceding thought in brain processing, however, positive feelings, in most people, aren’t dominant. This is a direct result of evolution – negative emotions, like fear and anger, motivated us to take actions that led to continued survival. In the ancient world, what we see as negative reactions were actually beneficial, this means that we are biologically programmed to generate “negative” emotions when faced with stress. As a result how we feel is how we act.
Negative emotions produce negative actions and positive emotions produce positive actions. You can have a powerful influence on this phenomenon by reversing the processing priority that guides how you interact with the world. When you rationally put action first, it has the same power to influence feeling that irrational feeling has to influence action.
This means that how we act is how we feel.
The Benefits of Acting How You Want To Feel
The first benefit of acting how you want to feel. If you have negative habitual behaviors, these behaviors are caused by the way you are feeling. You react to situations in a way that generates negative feelings. These negative feelings, in turn, cause negative behaviors that reflect those feelings. Forcing a behavior that is the opposite of the usual action the feeling causes allows for an exploration of the situation. This exploration allows for a discovery of the benefits inherent in the situation. These benefits reinforce the positivity of the forced behavior which, in turn, actually changes the initial feeling.
The second benefit of acting how you want to feel. If you break the cycle of negative thinking, you end up with a more positive outlook. This positive outlook results in positive actions which, in turn, reinforce the positive outlook. Instead of negative feelings generating negative behaviors that generate more negative feelings, you begin to experience a positive, upward cycle. Positive actions generate positive feelings which cause more positive actions.
Specific Examples of Acting How You Want to Feel
If you’d like to be more successful, act more successful. Carry yourself with more confidence, and exude the class that someone who has nary a worry would act.
If you’d like to be healthier, act healthier. Make better choices in what you eat and the level of activity you get each day. Small changes equal big results, and they add up over time.
If you’d like to feel sexier, act sexier. Carry yourself with more poise, and expect that people will find you attractive.
If you’d like to be rich, act rich. Consider what being wealthy means to you, personally. Study those who have the lifestyle you’d like to lead, have the material things you want to have, and have achieved the level of success that you desire and mimic those actions.
If you want to be happier, act happier. Really think about what it is that truly makes you happy and practice being happy.
If you want to be less stressed, act more calm. We all deal with unbelievable amounts of stress these days – and much of that stress comes from worrying about things we have no control over. If you can’t change it, then stop worrying about it!
If you want to be more social and outgoing, do more social activities. Being shy and/or introverted can often stop people from enjoying themselves because they may feel isolated or socially inadequate.
If you want to be thinner, act thinner. Correct your posture by standing up straight with your shoulders back. This can take 10 pounds off how you appear!
If you’d like to be less envious of others, act less envious. Think about what makes you happy, and aim for more of that in your life don’t worry that one person or another has more than you. There are those that will have more of you and those who have less than you.
If you’d like to be more giving, act less selfishly. Make it a point to give to and do for others without expecting anything in return.