A FEW MONTHS AGO, a colleague came to me
with a complaint. He didnt like something Id done
and he was hot! He said all kinds of nasty things. I just listened.
When he left, I pulled out a little booklet I've made out of
the following information and leafed through it. I did a few
of the techniques and I felt better. Later, when I was talking
to him, I was calm and reasonable. Two days later, he apologized,
and commented on how well Id handled the situation.
Here in this article are a collection of
algorithms. An algorithm is a sequence of steps for accomplishing
something; its a rule of thumb, a strategy, a formula,
a recipe. How do you get the volume of a cube? Multiply the highth
times the width times the length. Thats an algorithm. You
dont need to know why an algorithm works for it
This is a collection of practical methods
for feeling good.
This is a working handbook of sorts. It
started out as a small booklet to carry around in my pocket,
so I could pull it out when I needed it because it doesnt
matter that I know the ideas or even the reasoning
behind them if I forget all about it the minute I feel bad (which
is what tends to happen because when you feel bad, your memory
and reasoning faculties dont work as well).
These principles are ways to feel the least
discomfort in your life, ways to feel the most pleasure and satisfaction
and happiness. You may think thats odd. Wouldnt it
be more pleasurable to indulge in sex, drugs and rock and roll?
The answer is no. Caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and other drugs
bypass the natural avenues evolution has designed and they give
you the pleasure without the work. They give you the high without
doing the life-enhancing things the pleasure centers of your
brain have evolved to reward you for.
With the life-enhancing methods you'll
find here, you will never reach the highs you can reach with
drugs. You arent supposed to. Your brain is full of chemicals
in balance. They work together. Drugs ruin this delicate balance.
Your brain has ways of preventing you from getting too high because
it isnt good for you. Drugs work by skirting around these
natural preventions but at a cost.
So this is about how to get as high as
you can with the fewest side-effects (including bad feelings).
This collection of principles or methods
of feeling good were distilled from a much larger list. There
are literally hundreds of ways to feel good; some of them are
bad for your health, so I dropped those. Some are too difficult
or complicated and only a bored person with too much time on
his hands would bother doing them, so out they went. Some dont
make very much difference, so they were scratched off the list.
What we have left are seven things you
can do that are easy and practical things that do,
in fact, make you feel good, or at least feel better. Thats
for the short term. In Section
Two are seven more things you can do that will make good
feelings more common in your life. Instead of specific tasks
like the first seven, they are more like approaches to
life. And they can make a profound difference over the
These principles work even when
the cause of your bad feelings come from circumstances
external to you and beyond your control. In other words, if you
feel bad because youre broke and in debt, these principles
will help you feel better now (and do better getting out of debt).
Thats what distinguishes these principles from, say, alcohol.
Having a few beers may make you feel better temporarily, but
it will set you back, physically, financially, and mood-wise
too. The principles in this book will set you forward.
They will help advance your cause, or at least wont do
any harm, and will make you feel better, which can be helpful
all by itself.
The most important thing to know about
your mood is this: Only concern yourself with what you can do.
There are circumstances that can make you feel bad.
If you can do something about those circumstances, then by all
means go to it. If theres nothing you can do about it,
however, then concern yourself with what you can do. As
the Mother Goose rhyme goes:
For every ailment under the sun,
There is a remedy, or there is none;
If there be one, try to find it;
If there be none, never mind it.
You cant do anything about the weather,
but you have a say about how much sugar you eat and how much
sleep you get and how you think, etc. Concerning yourself with
the parts of your experience you have control over will give
you more power to control your moods. Yes, you might feel better
if the sun was shining. But you can also feel better by exercising.
You have control over your body, and dont have any control
over the clouds.
Feeling good is not a trivial thing. Both
physical and psychological health require a suffient amount of
feeling good. When you feel bad, you dont think as well,
you dont get along with others as well, your health is
impaired, you dont have as much energy, you dont
get the job done as well, and besides, its no damn fun.
You tend to do things you regret when you feel bad much
more so than when you feel good. The actions you take when you
feel stressed or angry or down in the dumps are not good or effective
or something to be proud of. Feeling good is good for your health
and good for your life.
When you feel good, youre a more
benevolent person. If youll allow me to be a crusader for
a moment, its good for the planet that you feel
good. Youre a more of a biophiliac (lover of life) when
you feel good.
Of course, you cant feel good all
the time; there are biological restraints against it. But you
can feel good more often and that will be good
for you. Trying to feel good all the time will make you feel
bad more often because youll be comparing the way you feel
with the way you expect to feel and coming up short too often.
Go for a little improvement and youll get a lot farther.
Lets get to it.
How to Feel Good
When You Feel Bad
The most manifest sign of wisdom,
wrote the eminent French essayist, Michel Montaigne, is
a continual cheerfulness.
1. Steady your mind by calming your
This is one of the fastest and easiest
and most immediate ways to change the way you feel. The way you
breathe changes your feelings. If you want some proof of that,
right now, take a slow, deep breath while youre reading
and youll immediately feel more better. Most relaxation
techniques, meditation techniques, and hypnosis techniques use
deep breaths to get started.
You can change your breathing any time.
You dont have to stop doing what youre doing. It
may not change your feelings dramatically, but even a little
improvement is worth something. A small difference can sometimes
make a big difference.
Change your breathing and you change your
state of mind.
If you can pay attention next time you
feel upset or angry or worried, youll notice your breathing
changes. It becomes more shallow and faster. Your state of mind
and the way you breath are intimately linked, and when you change
one, the other changes too. They go together.
Have you ever seen powerlifters in the
Olympics? Almost all of them, right before they lift, blow their
breath hard out. Shakespeare, that great observer of human nature,
knew this. In Henry
V, before an attack on Harfleur (a city in France), he gets
his soldiers pumped up: He tells them to lend the eye a
terrible aspect...set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide;
Hold hard the breath...
Shakespeare demonstrated what he knew:
That you can put yourself into a certain kind of mindset by the
look on your face and the way you breathe. Here we're only concerning
ourselves with the breath. When you breath slow and deep, you
become relaxed. When you blow your breath out hard, you feel
stronger and more courageous.
This one is the simplest techniques to
explain and the easiest one to do. When youre stressed
out and want to feel better, make your breathing deeper and slower.
When you breathe in, avoid filling only your upper chest. You
absorb more oxygen from the lower parts of your lungs, and breathing
down into the bottom of your lungs is more relaxing.
You can add something to the deep breaths
without too much extra effort: When youre about to breath
out, try to discover some tension in your muscles somewhere in
your body, and as you breath out, relax those muscles as best
you can. Musclular tension and your state of mind are linked
as well, and when you relax your muscles, you relax your mind
Or try this one: breathe in through your
nose, lock your throat and relax (holding your breath) for a
couple seconds, and then breathe out slowly and steadily through
your mouth. Repeat that three times, and you will feel calmer.
The variations are endless. You can explore them on your own.
Just breathe in ways that make you feel good.
So heres a technique you can do anytime,
anywhere, and under almost any circumstances and it will change
how you feel. Its especially good to do when you feel stressed
or under pressure.
2. Get back on purpose.
One of the most important fundamentals
for feeling good is a sense of purposefulness. People without
a purpose are bored or feel bad, or cause trouble for others.
Doing something that serves a purpose a purpose you agree
with (or better yet, thought up yourself) can make you
happy indeed. This principle is the most important one in this
article. It is the most practical, the most necessary, and the
There is such a thing as having too many
purposes or conflicting purposes, so its important to think
through what you really want or value and let the rest of them
go. When youve narrowed down your purposes to the few important
ones, then a quick way to feel good is to get to work on one
The world is constantly taking you off
purpose. Advertising is constantly putting new purposes in front
of your nose, tantillizing you, trying to make you go down whatever
path they're selling. Its as if youre on a certain
path, headed in a certain direction. And as long as you keep
going down that path the one youve chosen and that
fits with what you value youre happy. But there
are paths that go off to the side all the way along, and there
are people standing on the corners, trying to get you to go off
on thier side-path. Thats just a metaphor, though. In reality,
many of the people and things that entice you to go off your
path have no interest in you and arent trying to derail
you its just a side-effect of what theyre
You will take some of these side-paths.
And youll be going along and then realize youre not
on your purpose. When you notice you're no longer on your path
(pursuing your chosen purpose), your next task is to get back
to your purpose, get back on your path.
TV is a major side-path for most people.
Most people spend too much time watching TV and movies. If youre
not one of them, good for you. But if you are, think about this:
If you were to list your top three values the three things
most important to you Ill bet TV isnt one
of them. And yet, when you look at how much time you spend doing
it, youll find it is out of proportion to how important
it is to you.
Youre being pulled off purpose, off
your path, and in this case, someone is doing it deliberately.
Those TV producers are trying to pull you in. They want
very much for you to stop doing whatever useful, healthy, productive
thing you would otherwise be doing and watch their program. And
they go out of their way to titillate you and make you curious
enough, angry enough, or alarmed enough to drop what youre
doing and sit down to watch. They create mystery, they arouse
your curiosity, they intice your powerful instincts they
do everything they can to make you want to watch.
Less intentional forms of taking you off
purpose are things like a parent or spouse who has a drinking
problem and creates trouble that you feel you have to
deal with. The trouble that youre dealing with is really
not a freely chosen goal of yours; you didnt sit down and
decide one of your top three values is to take responsibility
for someone who is not taking responsibility for himself.
Its off your purpose.
Wherever you find a source of life and
energy in nature, youll find parasites trying to use that
life and energy. There are intestinal worms, bacteria that grow
on skin, lamprey fish. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi writes in his
book The Evolving Self: A Psychology for the Third
Millennium, A friend who is a biologist and who spent
many years in Africa studying the native fauna tells how sad
it is to do an autopsy on a freshly killed lion. Most of us hold
an idealized picture of the king of the jungle strong,
majestic, and free. But if one looks closely, the powerful lion
turns out to be a living shelter for hundreds of different parasites,
mites, ticks, and worms making themselves at home in his mane,
his eyelids, his tail, his nose, and his throat, down to his
gullet and intestines.
The lion is a source of life, and so there
are other organisms that try to use that life for their own ends.
In the same way, you are a source of life, and there are
plenty of things and people trying to use that life for their
own ends. Advertisers, salesmen, religious leaders, political
leaders, even your friends and family. Thats not to say
they dont care about you. They may care very much. But
it will be rare for you to find even one person who cares as
much about your purposes as you do. And wherever
your purposes do not align with anothers there will be
a tendency to get pulled off purpose.
And you will be. Many times. The way to
handle it once you notice it is to simply get back on purpose.
One of the most common causes of a bad
mood is whats called rumination which means
thinking about something, chewing it, continuing to turn it over
in your mind. They call animals that chew cud ruminants,
and that's where the word comes from. Getting back on purpose
stops rumination, and thats one of the reasons it makes
you feel better.
In the book Alone: The Classic Polar Adventure, the story
of a five-month ordeal by Admiral Byrd in the Antarctic, he tells
how he was nearly poisoned to death by carbon monoxide fumes.
For more than a month he could hardly move around, and spent
most of his time in bed with no radio, no sound of any kind,
and he couldnt read because his eyes hurt so badly. He
tried to minimize the amount of fumes, so he didnt even
burn the lamp very often. Can you imagine spending over a month
lying in bed, feeling terribly sick and in pain, in the dark,
completely alone and in complete silence? He said he almost lost
His comrades at the base camp finally deduced
there was something wrong, and they were sending out a rescue
party a dangerous undertaking in those winter conditions.
There are deep ice crevasses, hundreds of feet deep and covered
over with snow drift so you cant see them. During that
time of the year it is also very dark. The sun doesnt come
up over the horizon at all. Admiral Byrds ordeal took place
in the early 1900s, so they didnt have much technology
to help them.
But his comrades were coming to get him.
He had to get up and prepare for it. He needed to light flares
every so often, so the rescue party could see him. The hut he
lived in was buried flush with the surface of the snow, which
meant the rescue party couldnt see him unless he had flares
going. They could have passed within fifty yards of him and never
seen his post. So he had to keep the flares lit. He had to go
up the ladder and set up the magnesium and gasoline flares. It
was arduous for him because he was so weak. Yet,
he wrote later, these simple preparations, by taking me
out of myself for a while, did me good.
Having a purpose, having something important
to do, stopped his ruminations and made him feel better. People
are built for challenge. Our best comes forth when there is a
strong purpose compelling us. Weve tamed our environment,
though, and if youre going to gain the value of a compelling
purpose, youll have to create one yourself. Your
environment is not likely to create one for you, as it did for
Creating a good purpose requires thinking.
So let me give you a tip. It is better to think on paper
than it is to think in your head. Think by writing. Write
out questions and then write out answers. Make lists. Put them
in the order of their importance. When you want to do some good,
clear thinking, write.
Once youve figured out your purpose,
your main challenge will be to stick with it. Youll be
constantly taken off your purpose. Those who really accomplish
things have developed attitudes that allow them to get back to
their purpose or even prevent themselves from being side-tracked
in the first place. When Arnold Swarzzeeneger was in high school
he decided he was going to be the best built man in the world,
and then he was going to go into films like his hero, Steve Reeves.
His parents were completely against it. They actually considered
taking him to a psychiatrist. In Austria, it is probably a classifyable
mental illness to want to go to Hollywood.
Young Arnold worked out two hours before
school and two hours after school every day. He was serious.
His dreams were no mere idle wish. He was determined to carry
them out. One morning he was drinking his coffee (I guess they
start the coffee habit early in Austria) when he spilled it.
His mother came over and looked at him. Whats wrong,
Arnold? she asked, What is it?
Im just sore, he said, My
muscles are stiff.
She yelled out to Arnolds father,
Look at this boy! Look what hes doing to himself!
In his biography, Arnold says something
that could be considered cold by many people. He reveals his
attitude, and its this attitude that allowed him to reach
his goal. He said, I couldnt be bothered with what
my mother felt.
He was so intent upon his purpose, he couldnt
be bothered with side-tracks. And at least as far as his goal
was concerned, his mothers worries were a side-track. He
didnt waste time or energy trying to fight it. He just
went back to his purpose. And thats what you must do if
you want to accomplish those secret dreams you harbor in your
If you concern yourself too much with what
other people think or feel, you wont be able to accomplish
When you feel lost, adrift when you feel a kind of mix
between anxiety and depression thats the haunting
call of a lost purpose. The thing to do at times like that is
think. Think it through. Think by writing. And
then get back to your purpose.
The damnable truth of it is: Being there
isnt worth much. Getting there is all the fun. But
part of our genetic heritage is an internal sense that when we
get there, thats when well really feel good.
Its a biological illusion. Ask anyone who is old and who
has experienced the disillusionment enough times to get it through
When Josephine Marcus Earp, the woman who
was married to Wyatt Earp for 47 years, reached old age, she
wrote her story. The husband-wife team had an adventurous life,
going to the gold rush in Nome, Alaska, prospecting in Nevada
they were always after something: Trying to strike it
rich or build a saloon or stake a claim. She wrote, Our
greatest pleasure, though we didnt realize it just then,
was in the anticipation and the seeking. In being able to cut
loose from the everyday grind, we had already struck it rich.
Find an old person and ask them. Dont
ask someone related to you because their genetic interest will
want to tell you to aquire and succeed. Ask someone with no genetic
stake in you. Ask them: What part of life really means something?
Theyve had enough time to experience the good and the bad
many times. If someone would know, they would. Theyll tell
you we place too much emphasis on arriving and we dont
realize the fun part is the struggle to get there.
And it is a stuggle. Working on
a purpose, surmounting barriers, handling problems its
a stuggle. Trying to keep to your purpose while the world seems
dead-set on taking you off your purpose is a struggle. And keeping
your motivation when you have a lot of setbacks is a struggle
too. But there is joy in it. And there is very little joy in
living without a purpose.
When you find yourself off purpose, you
will immediately feel better when you get back on purpose, and
is something you can do today.
3. Get out of a feedback loop.
When you and another person get angry at
each other to the point where both of you become unreasonable,
get away for awhile. Youve entered a feedback loop where
the other persons physical arousal (from anger), conveyed
through her tone of voice, posture, look on her face and what
she says, arouses your own system (sympathetic nervous system
the adrenaline-based fight-or-flight mechanism). Now youre
upset and the look on your face (and the tone of your
voice, etc.) only serves to make the other even more aroused,
which you can see and hear and that makes you even more aroused.
Youre in a feedback loop. Like a
microphone and PA system that begin to produce feedback, your
emotional arousal keeps feeding back upon itself, getting worse
Get out of this loop. Go for a walk. Go
into the other room and relax. Its like moving the microphone
away from the speaker. Go somewhere where you cant see
or hear the other person for awhile. When you both cool off,
try to work it out.
When youre cooling off, it doesnt
do any good to go over in your mind what you said and what the
other said and think about how right you are and how wrong she
is. When you do that, youre still in the feedback loop.
Youre carrying it on in your head, and it will keep you
angry. Either write to yourself and try to be reasonable, or
distract your mind completely for awhile.
When you feel calm, go back and try to
work it out with the other person. The only thing you will accomplish
by working it out while in a feedback loop is hurting each other
unnecessarily and saying things you will regret later.
Trust your relationship. Trust that you
can go away from it and it will be there when you come back.
Your trust in it will help make it so.
4. Ask yourself How instead of
When something goes wrong, get in the habit
of changing the usual question (Why did it go wrong?) to a better
question (How can I make it better?). Dont worry about
why it is the way it is. Concern yourself with improving the
Ask yourself: How can I make the
situation even a little bit better? And keep asking it
until you get a good answer. Then get to work on your answer.
In the classes we teach, we always get
a lot of flak about this one. There are whole therapies that
spend years trying to find out why the patient has a phobia of
flying. There are other therapies that have asked, How
can this person fly without freaking out? And they do it.
They go about getting the patient used to the concept of flying
and eventually the person can board the plane and get on with
his life. And they may never find out why the person was
afraid in the first place.
Back in the other the other kind of therapy,
the therapist is still probing to find repressed memories that
may have caused the phobia. And the odd thing about this is that
often even when the person finds out what caused the phobia,
it doesn't make the phobia go away.
Of course, there is some value in uncovering
repressed memories. And sometimes theres value in finding
out why. But for the most part, if you dont want to make
a long and protracted and possibly futile search, you can skip
You can ask why you overeat and you wont
have any problem at all coming up with answers. But all youve
got are theories. Whats the real answer? Is
it because you werent loved enough as a child? Is it a
genetic weakness in your family? Is it an evolutionary holdover
precaution against famine? Are you simply bored?
The only way to know whether the answer
you come up with is the "real" answer is to put
it into action. If it keeps you from overeating, that is
about the best you can do to know you have the real answer. But
you could have accomplished that with a HOW question in the first
place. If you asked HOW, you would have to come up with theories
and then test them. But with a HOW question, you go straight
for it. You dont get side-tracked into what can become
an endless search for understanding a search
at which you may never know for sure youve been successful.
When it comes to things like unconscious motives,
theres no way to validate whether what youve found
is a true unconscious wish or a figment of your (or Sigmund Freuds)
There is one thing you can say in favor
of asking why and delving into the mysterious unconscious processes
or whatever: It is entertaining. Its intriguing. Its
like a mystery and mysteries hold attention like nothing else.
But if what you want is to handle the situation
or solve the problem and then get on with the business of living,
ask HOW not WHY. Its more efficient. Itll help you
find solutions. Itll make you feel better.
5. Try on a different meaning.
When something happens, you decide what
it means. You may have made the same decision so many times that
now its so automatic you dont even know youre
deciding anything. But you make meanings. You do it all
Some of those meanings make you feel bad,
but it doesnt have to be that way.
For example, a researcher named Stanley
Schacter set up the following experiment. Subjects (people who
dont know whats going on) were given one of two things:
Either a placebo (sugar pill) or a shot of adrenaline. Then the
subjects mingled with Schacters assistants. The subjects
were led to believe that the assistants were given the same kind
of drug as the subjects were given.
There were two different scenarios. In
one group, the assistants acted as if they were experiencing
anxiety. The subjects mingling with this group reported that
the drug made them feel anxious.
The other group of assistants acted as
if they were really excited and happy. In this group, the subjects
felt on top of the world.
They made an interpretation of their own
internal biological state, as we all do, and the interpretation
made the experience either pleasant or unpleasant.
Im going to assume right here that
some event has happened and it made you feel bad.
Now, think about what you believe the event means. Does it mean
you are doomed to failure? Does it mean he or she doesnt
love you? What are the implications for this event? What does
it mean? Find the meaning that makes you feel bad. Now
set that one aside for a moment and open your mind.
What else could it mean? Im
not saying you have to stick with what you come up with, but
consider some other possibilities. Try to think of three different
meanings for the same event and think of real possibilities
rather than obviously ridiculous meanings.
The exercise itself will show you that
the meaning you first decided on isnt the only possible
one, and that, all by itself, will make you feel better.
For example, let's say my wife seems a
little distant and I feel bad because I think her distance is
because I havent been as attentive a husband as I think
I should be. I start berating myself for my laziness and inconsideration
only to find out that shes worrying about her mother and
its got nothing to do with me.
But sometimes you can never find out what
it really meant. Lets say I couldnt or didnt
find out. Then my next course of action is to think up other
possible meanings for her distance.
Maybe she didnt sleep well. Maybe
she has a mysterious pain in her leg, and shes worried
about it. Maybe she drank too much coffee.
The point to the exercise is not to find
out the real meaning to the event thats bringing
you down. If you can find out the real meaning, find out. If
you cant, at least you can think up other (equally likely)
meanings besides the conclusion you jumped to meanings
that wont bring you down.
If you really dont know, then its
rather foolish to come to a conclusion that makes you feel bad.
And when you come up with other ideas, the point is not to decide
which one is the right one. If you dont know, you dont
know. The value of the exercise is to keep you from being too
committed to the one that brings you down. Realizing that it
could mean any of four different meanings lessens the impact
of any one of them.
All of the above is a negative use of this
algorithm. Its how to feel better when you feel bad. But
you can also make possible meanings in a way that makes you feel
better when you already feel fine.
You understand your life in a certain way.
You have a story
you live within. You know where you were born, what your
parents were like, what your personality is like, and you even
have some theories about why your personality developed that
But those meanings you already have are
not fixed in stone. They can be changed. You can think of your
life in different ways. You can make analogies for yourself and
live inside analogies that are inspiring. For example, John and
Kathy are starting a new business together. Its tough.
They sometimes feel like giving up, but they wont. They
think of themselves like the heroes of the Alamo: If they were
going to be defeated, they by Jove, they were going to be defeated
trying; theyd make their stand; they wouldnt
give up. And, say Kathy and John, Neither will we.
The point of this principle is to try out
different perspectives, and just don't settle for the meanings
that automatically pop into your mind. Always assume you can
do better than that, you can think up better possible meanings,
and when you do, you'll feel better. The meanings you make will
be more likely to help you be more effective with your actions
6. Inspire yourself.
Life is full of difficulties and it will
never be otherwise. Since you cant rid your life of difficulties,
the best way to be happy in spite of the them is to have a good
attitude toward those difficulties.
When you play a game and your opponent
is as good as you, it is a challenge and very fun. When you have
a difficulty in life, it is basically the same thing. Youre
being challenged by life. Sometimes its not as fun because
the stakes are high or you are completely outmatched. But you
can adopt an attitude about the difficulties that will make your
life more enjoyable overall. Where can you find attitudes to
adopt? Movies, books, tapes, other people...or you can invent
When you watch the movie Lorenzo's Oil, for example, you see a couple
greatly challenged by circumstances. They had the same choice
we all have: succumb to the challenges in life and be depressed
by them, or rise to the challenge. They rose to the challenge.
Seeing an inspiring movie can give you a metaphor for your own
life. You can think, Yes, I have these difficulties, like
the couple in the movie trying to help their son. They didn't
give up, and neither will I.
In the movie A League of Their Own, one of the players
says, Its hard. The coach says, Its
supposed to be hard. That has stuck with me and
come into my mind many times, and inspired me.
Louis LAmour once said that adventure
is just a romantic name for trouble. For an adventure story to
be interesting, the characters must have trouble. And its
the same with your life. The challenging parts make it interesting.
Thats just a point of view, and certainly not the only
one possible, but when you adopt it, youll feel better
and you'll deal with the troubles better. That point of view
may not last very long if you're not already in the habit of
thinking that way, so youll have to deliberately adopt
that point of view over and over again. After awhile, itll
You can help yourself gain that perspective
by doing any of the following:
a) coach other people to have that attitude
(teaching other people is a good way for you to learn it)
b) watch movies and read stories that inspire
c) listen to tapes in your car that inspire
d) coach yourself
That last one is important. Coach yourself. Talk to yourself like youre
a good friend and your thoughts (when you feel bad) are just
the immature thoughts a kid might have. Give yourself a broader
perspective and a better way of thinking about things. Reading,
listening and watching inspiring stories, especially true stories,
will give you lots of ideas for ways to coach yourself.
When you find a book or DVD or CD that inspires you, read
it, watch it or listen to it again and again. When youre
down, think about those things and change your frame of mind.
Inspire yourself in any way you can think of.
"It doesn't last," say the people
who don't want to listen to a motivational lecture or go out
of their way to inspire themselves. And they are right. They
may feel very motivated right after the lecture, but two weeks
later, it may have fizzeled out. Does that mean they shouldn't
do it? I don't know, but if they exercised once, would it last?
If they bathed once, would it last? No, they'd have to do it
regularly. Does that mean they shouldn't do it? Does it make
exercise not worth it because you have to keep doing it? No.
And the same goes with inspiring yourself. When you feel inspired,
you feel better.
7. Give your body a tune up.
If you havent done any exercise in
the last two days, do some and you will feel better. Do too much
and youll feel worse.
If youve eaten sugar, white flour,
white rice, or drank alcohol or caffeine in the last two days,
dont eat any more in the next couple of days and you will
To feel your best, eat enough protein and
If you feel bad because youre tired,
youll feel better after a nap. Sleep is not trivial, it
is important to your health, and to feeling good.
Your body moves in what are called ultradian
cycles. An ultradian cycle or ultradian rhythm is a cycle that
repeats itself more than once a day (as opposed to a circadian
rhythm that repeats itself once a day). Your heartbeat is an
ultradian rhythm it repeats itself hundreds of times a
day. Same with your breathing. You may have heard that when you
sleep you follow a rhythm. It is an ultradian rhythm: At first
you sink into deep sleep, then you come up into REM sleep (thats
when you dream), and then you go deeply asleep again, then you
come up and dream for a little while, etc.
You carry on a similar cycle while youre
awake. During the day you become very alert, and then every 90
to 120 minutes or so you go into a drowsy state for about twenty
minutes. Have you ever noticed this rhythm? Of course its
harder to notice if you are taking stimulants like caffiene,
but even then you will find your level of alertness changing
throughout the day in regular cycles. If you are going to nap,
do it when you feel drowsy: Dont waste your alert time
trying to sleep.
To relax is one of the most immediate things
you can do to give your body a tune up. One way to relax is to
pick one word or phrase and repeat it to yourself over and over
for twenty minutes with your eyes closed. When you notice your
mind has wandered off, gently start repeating the word or phrase
again. This practice has an immediately relaxing effect that
can last the whole day. Do it regularly and research shows it will benefit your health
and well-being in the long run.
Anything relaxing will make you feel better:
Listen to a relaxation tape, get a massage, take a hot shower,
slowly stretch some muscles, do a deep breathing exercise, etc.
Relaxation is incompatible with anger,
anxiety, and most other bad feelings. So when you relax, you
replace your bad feelings with good ones.
Give your body a tune up. This means do
something that improves your physical health. One of the
best ways to feel good more often is to improve your physical