So You Think Feeling Good is a Given?
Kathleen Zachary, Psy.D. Ext. 325

Feeling good is not a given, but that does not mean feeling bad has to be. Often times when we are feeling bad, we look for ways to decrease and get rid of the feeling; in doing so, we focus on the bad. Sometimes we do not know why we are feeling bad and thus, try to figure out the source; in the search, we focus on the bad. It seems to be human nature to put more energy into figuring out, talking about, thinking about and feeling the bad. If you think about it, we rarely contemplate our reasons for feeling good and we cetainly do not or complain or vent about feeling happy! We simply focus less on the good and more on the bad.


Feeling good and feeling bad lay on a continuum and have an inverse relationship: as one increases, the other decreases. As you move toward feeling good, you move away from feeling bad and vice-versa. It is not suggested one ignore or deny concerns and issues, but rather it is suggested focusing on some good could do one good!


Feeling good is an intentional, active process one must attend to on a regular basis. As with learning to do anything new or different, it takes effort, practice and commitment. There are many avenues to feeling good. We can do good things for ourselves physically, socially, mentally and emotionally as well as spiritually. Make a list of possible “feel goods” for you. Keep it simple to increase the likelihood of following through and choose two to do daily. When you do the “feel good”, acknowledge your positive intention and take a moment to notice how it made you feel afterwards.


Some suggested “feel goods” include: drink two bottles of water, eat something that grows, write down a few things you feel grateful for, choose the tone of your day when you awaken (a positive one is recommended such as ‘I can handle whatever comes my way today’), catch up with a friend, get a massage, complete a task you have been putting off, move your body, watch a favorite movie or television show, pet your dog, take the stairs instead of the elevator, say a prayer, forgive yourself for any mistakes you make, take a deep breath, play with your child, enjoy a favorite food, cancel a negative thought, or give someone a compliment.


Feeling good can be fun and simple! Doing good things leaves less time, room and energy for focusing on the bad. As you practice “feel goods”, they become more automatic and feeling bad becomes less so. We get to choose each moment what we focus on, so why not choose something positive?