Every feeling comes with a story. The story is the reason behind the feeling. That reason could be big or small. You may feel bad, because you haven’t achieved what you hoped for in life, or you may feel angry because somebody criticized your work. In both cases you are feeling bad. The reason that you feel bad is the story.
When you focus on the story, you can go on and on in your mind with whys and hows and what ifs. There is no end to stories. To focus on the feeling, breathe deeply, feel where the feeling is in your body. Feel whether it’s in your chest or stomach or head. Explore the feeling with a sense of curiosity, as though you don’t know anything about it. Continue to breathe consciously with your attention focused on the feeling and you may notice the feeling is tolerable and manageable, even though it is uncomfortable.
Focusing your attention on the feelings as they happen, gives you a sense of control. You can’t make the feelings go away, but you can observe the source of your discomfort. As you observe the feelings, the feelings change. Observing feelings is the closest you can come to controlling them. Like children behave differently if they know an adult is watching them, your thoughts and feelings respond to your attention.
To transform negative feelings, fill your attention with compassion. Be kind to yourself in your thoughts as you explore your feelings. It’s too bad that you are feeling these difficult emotions. You deserve understanding and peace.