Can we divide emotions into good and bad? The app Moodscope uses this approach. I used to think this way myself…
But now that idea seems unhelpful.
I used to think my day was bad if I experienced a lot of sadness, or despair during those 24 hours.
Here’s what I now think instead…
Emotions are just emotions. They’re neither good nor bad. They’re just a natural part of life.
Same thing with thoughts. Neither good nor bad. Neither true nor untrue… unless I decide they are.
Nowadays, the quality of my day isn’t dictated by the emotions I’ve experienced.
My day isn’t even bad just because bad events have happened.
My day is good if I have acted in ways which make me feel proud of myself.
But even if I made mistakes, did I learn from them? Did I make amends for the things I did wrong? If so, then it’s not a bad day.
Maybe this change in perspective is partly why I seem to have had a pretty solid 7 weeks of good days according to the Pixels app.
There were certainly days where I felt intensely angry, others where I felt deeply sad. And yet, I still classed them as good days.
As a result, I seem to be enjoying life more. I’m not running away from “bad” feelings. I’m not obsessing over depressing thoughts.
Emotions no longer have such power to ruin (or make) my day.
I’m facing life on life’s terms. I’m not wanting to escape as much (via drugs, videogames, TV or Facebook).
Even just the thought of me committing suicide seems preposterous. But it wasn’t long ago when I fantasised about dying almost every day.
I now have so much to live for.
Partly this is thanks to changing the way I relate to my thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness has been a big help here.
Another big help has been living in alignment with my core values. So don’t underestimate them, they’re not some kind of luxury. They’re at the core of our everyday experience.
And if you have no idea what your values are, check out my mate Tim Brownson’s book, The Clarity Method.