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Mood Follows Action

By: Michael Blankenship |

“It’s impossible to control your thoughts, let alone your feelings. But what you can control is your actions. If you’re in a rut—be it a loss of motivation or something rougher—don’t think, just do.”

– Brad Stulberg

“I don’t feel like it.”

You’re not the only one who’s said that as an excuse for not doing something you should have done. 

It’s a common refrain among the unmotivated. 

And yet, motivation is overrated. 

In fact, that’s the title of an article on Outside, which reports on an interview it did with ultra-endurance athlete Rich Roll…

“If I’m down or in a rut, I force myself to move my body, even if only a little bit,” says Roll. “This helps shift my perspective and reset my operating system—and more often than not, the sun starts shining again.”

Rich Roll recommends just doing when you feel unmotivated instead of engaging in a mental battle over whether you should or shouldn’t. 

Further research has found that trying to repress your negative thoughts only strengthens them… 

Longstanding research, first published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in the 1980s, has found that the more you try to suppress a certain thought (for example, “I really don’t want to exercise today”), the stronger that thought becomes. Another study, published in the journal Cognition and Emotion in 2010, found that the same thing holds true for emotions: The more you try to change the way you feel, the more stuck in your current mood you’re liable to be.

So don’t think. Do.

When it comes to doing things that are important or meaningful to us, the ebb and flow of our feelings should be irrelevant.

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