Every memory has a feeling attached to it

I want you to try an exercise with me right now.

Close your eyes. Take five to ten deep breaths.

Think of a memory that brings a smile to your face. Something that instantly makes you happy.

Hold that image in your mind. Try to make it as vivid as possible.

Then pause. Try to feel what your body feels like.

Are you smiling? How does the smile make you feel?

Do you feel relaxed? Warm and fuzzy? Tingly? Chills passing through you? Safe? Secure?

Whatever it is, feel it. Try to notice the feeling that memory evokes.

Sit with that feeling for a while. Observe it. See how it changes. Does it slowly drift away? Get more intense the more you focus on it?

What is your breathing like? Is it deep? Shallow? Quick? Slow?

Notice your breathing for a bit. Sit with it. Observe it while you hold the memory in your mind.

Now think of an unpleasant memory. Maybe a person that made you upset or something you’ve been struggling with recently.

Try to do the same thing as before. Picture it. Make it as vivid as possible.

Then pause. Try to feel what your body feels like.

Are you tense in certain areas? Clenching? Shoulders tight? Warm? Cold? Hot with anger?

Whatever it is, feel it. Try to notice the feeling that memory evokes.

Sit with that feeling for a while. Observe it.

What is your breathing like? Is it deep? Shallow? Quick? Slow? Perhaps holding your breath or clenching?

Notice your breathing for a bit. Sit with it. Observe it while you hold the memory in your mind.

Now focus on yourself. Imagine that same feeling from before. Think about your gratitude for that memory.

Imagine yourself as the happiest version of yourself that you can be. FEEL that happiness.

Then think about your friends and family, wish them to be happy. Wish them to be the best happiest versions of themselves they can be.

Then think about the people who you work with. Wish them to be the best happiest versions of themselves they can be. Try to picture them all smiling and laughing and having fun.

Then think about all the random people everywhere! Wish them to be the best happiest versions of themselves they can be! Imagine the world dancing and singing together in happiness!

Feel like you’re going to explode with happiness!!!!!

And then return back to earth. Sit with your breath again for a few moments. Re-center yourself.

That’s it!

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Why do I practice this?

It teaches me that every memory has a feeling associated with it.

When we react to memories, we’re actually reacting to the feelings associated with that memory, rather than the memory itself. It’s the feeling that is important, not the memory.

By sitting with the memory, and noticing the feelings associated, we can learn a lot about our emotions and reactions to similar situations in life. 

Chances are, if you feel this way about a certain positive memory, you will have similar feelings for other pleasant memories, and vice versa for negative ones. These feelings can become an internal compass of sorts, helping us to notice patterns of how we feel based on certain people and situations.

We can use the feelings of happy experiences as an anchor to gratitude and appreciation. An arsenal of things that snap you out of a bad mood.

Or we can approach unpleasant experiences with a gentle curiosity. A genuine desire to understand what is going on underneath the hood of this body we know so little about. Use the negative feelings to learn about our fears and anxieties.

Over time, by sitting with and observing these negative feelings, they can lose their intensity. We can give ourselves some distance. We can look at the feeling objectively instead of being overwhelmed by it.  

The pain might still be there, but your reaction to it and your feelings about it, might have now evolved.

It also teaches me that we can manifest these feelings on command

If I can feel the happiness associated with that memory – why can’t I do that all day? Why can’t I live in a perpetual state of gratitude and happiness?

The real answer, is that YOU CAN! You can tap into these feelings whenever you want, you just have to be mindful enough to do it.

You don’t want that new car, or new job, or chasing your goals, you want the feeling associated with getting those things. You want the feeling of achievement.

You can have that feeling right now! You don’t need to chase after it. All you need to do is get yourself into a state where you FEEL gratitude and appreciation, where you FEEL happy and accomplished, and this state of mind will help you to replicate success for the future OR simply live in a positive state of being while you chase your goals so you’re not living in fear and anxiety instead.

Focus on the feeling first. Focus on living in a state of mind where you feel optimal all day, and an optimal life is what you will receive in return.


Also published on Medium.

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