Who wouldn’t want to feel good most of the time?
By this, I mean feeling good in a deeply beneficial way, not in the surface ways, such as the pleasures gained by overeating, illicit drugs, indiscriminate sex, extremely dangerous thrill seeking, etc. Pleasures that involve self-harm or harm to others is not what I mean by Feel Good Now.
Feel Good Now is a motto that’s helped me shift attention away from negative thoughts/emotions and toward feeling just a little better. It’s a shift from an inner state of tension/anxiety to one that is calm and more joyful. Feeling good means relaxed rather than tense, and at peace rather than filled with anxiety.
I first heard about Feel Good Now in Kevin Trudeau’s Your Wish Is Your Command audio series. As I started applying it, I was surprised by how often I felt bad. It had become such a normal way of being that I hadn’t noticed it until I started watching for it.
There was so much constant tension from blaming, resisting, and thinking I was superior. I felt so much fear, lack, loss, worry, and doubt. All this was accompanied by tension in my face, and I also noticed the strain during times I was labeling people as enemies. I began calling this enemy mode once I realized how frequently I fell into it.
I discovered these negatives fed on each other and multiplied into networks of badness. The scope of any one of them would expand to include an endless chain of interconnected word-tools: my wife divorced me because I have so many flaws, and that’s also why I didn’t get the promotion, and why people reject my social invitations; and that reminds me of being the last one chosen for a team in school, and of when my parents blamed me for something my brother did; etc.
To notice this rather than leave it operating underground gave me an exhilarating sense of a different kind of life.
It was great to feel tension in my face relax as I excused the driver who cut me off. I simply shifted my attention by reframing the situation. “This driver is, at the core, a human being just like me,” I told myself. I realized that I too occasionally made other drivers uncomfortable when I changed lanes.
Using Feel Good Now was a huge awareness builder for me. I not only realized how tense I had been, I also felt more able to create better feelings, just by shifting attention from negative to positive.
It was as if I were turning on a mental/emotional monitor. I gradually saw that I could step back from being totally immersed in negative, judgmental thinking. The negativity I had thought was so real wasn’t who I was anymore or what the world was – now I could disengage from it and shift to a better feeling place.
So the driver “who cut me off” could become the driver “who made me slow down”. And it could also become the driver who was rushing to help his children, or who had a terrible fight with his spouse that morning, or whose best friend or mother had just had a heart attack.
If I then started worrying about getting to work on time and felt anxious as I imagined myself arriving late (because I had left my house at the last minute), I realized that it’s okay for me to be late, and that I probably wouldn’t be late anyway. I reminded myself again that the other driver is a person with needs and feelings like mine. I shifted my attention to look at a nearby tree, and my mind quieted just a bit and the tension lessened.
I practiced shifting attention a lot while driving to work. I’d be behind someone going half the speed limit and, just after my initial reaction of mentally calling him an idiot, I would make up a story that defended him. I’d excuse him by saying maybe he had a cake on the front seat, or maybe he was feeling bad about losing his job that morning, or maybe he was a new driver learning how to move this huge metal object down the road without crashing.
One of my favorite examples came out of working with other employees at the office. In my job I frequently met with different managers. There was a manager I’ll call Jim who I needed to meet with. He was easily viewed as a “bad manager”. He’d sent notice of a new procedure to thousands of customers without telling his service staff about the change. Jim’s service staff had been surprised when they began receiving numerous calls and questions about something they knew nothing about. It’s understandable that people labeled him as a “bad manager”. And in my thoughts, I joined them by adopting this judgment along with them. At that time, flaw finding dominated my inner life.
As I prepared to meet with Jim, my boss suggested that I try choosing a different viewpoint. I realized that if I went to the meeting viewing Jim as a “bad manager”, I would feel edgy, judgmental, closed, grumpy, etc. and I’d probably communicate some form of negativity toward him, even if only indirectly.
I wondered how I could change my view and asked myself what good things he’d done. By introducing the possibility, just by opening-up to the question, two positive experiences popped into my mind: (1) I had seen him lead meetings with his employees in which he covered all the points and requested and welcomed input from each individual; and (2) generally his positive, upbeat attitude had always contributed to generating feelings of comradery in me and in people throughout the company.
I held these positives in the foreground of my thoughts as I went to meet with Jim, and it felt good. The meeting went smoothly, we accomplished what we aimed for, and I enjoyed it! I had taken a tense and judgmental mind-set and shifted to a feel-good moment.
This surprising experience became a frequent reminder of the power of the Feel Good Now motto. It reminded me that I could shift focus away from a negative judgment toward an expanded view that brought the whole being of a person to the foreground.
It isn’t that I pretended the flaws didn’t exist; it’s that I chose not to put my primary attention on them. Instead, I practiced placing positives in the foreground before I interacted with people. As a result, being around people felt better and was more productive. I saw that I behaved differently, and in a natural way, when I held positive thoughts in the foreground rather than negatives.
In his audio series, Kevin Trudeau warned about bringing to mind something from the past that felt good but was no longer available. “When I had” a romantic partner, or a better house, or a better job it felt so good. But now I don’t have those, and thinking about them quickly slides me into feeling bad. So this was a warning for me about using Feel Good Now. If the positive I choose to shift attention to is a favorite from the past, and if I am not at peace about not having that same situation now, it backfires and makes me feel less good. If I bounce off of something good by sliding into lack or loss, I don’t feel good.
So I remind myself that there are many feel-good options. Sometimes I shift attention to tonight’s dinner with a friend. It feels good to look forward to it. Then it feels even better when I realize that if the dinner doesn’t happen, I’ll feel good watching a movie while I eat some of my favorite foods at home.
But Feel Good Now works best when I find something in this moment to enjoy or to just Be with, without a lot of thinking. I aim for positives about what I have now: the sight of those flowers, the warmth of the sun, the freshness in the air, or the eyes of the person I’m sitting across the desk from.
Feel Good Now was an introduction for me. It was a first recognition of the amount of judgment and nearly unnoticeable tension I’d been creating. And after being able to sense its results over and over again, I feel less like a victim of my surroundings and more in a Feel Good Now place. My ability to affect my inner world began to take form, while the feeling of being controlled by an unpleasant outer world gradually dissolved.