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Formula for Feeling Better

"Change the way you think to change the way you feel."

Everyone and their grandma listens to the Armchair Expert podcast now, right? Dax Shepard is the opposite of who we thought he was, based on the jackassy characters he's played over the years. He's curious, self-aware, respectful, articulate, vulnerable and smart. My favorite episodes are not the celebrity interviews (although those are surprisingly insightful), but the "Experts on Expert" series where Dax and Monica interview academics, scientists, writers and the like.

A few weeks ago, Dax interviews Ethan Kross, an experimental psychologist and writer who specializes in emotional regulation, about his new book, "Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why it Matters, and How to Harness It". The conversation turned to how much control we have over the way we feel. Can other people "make" us unhappy, jealous, hurt, etc.? Or is the way we react to emotional stimulus within our control?

Ethan responded, "Step one is simply being aware of the fact that you can change the way you think to change the way you feel. I think that's a game-changing idea for a lot of people."

This is such a powerful concept, especially as a message for kids to teach them the power of reframing. My daughter was sobbing in the car earlier today because she was banned from partaking in "Special Treat Day" as punishment for a minor infraction. I chirped, "Remember, change the way you think to change the way you feel! Instead of thinking about how you can't get anything at the candy store, think about how lucky you were the only one who got Dairy Queen with Daddy last night! Or think about how this will give you a chance to scope out all the new candy and plan what you'll buy this weekend with your own money!"

Judging from the glaring and muttering that followed, I really think my pep talk worked (ha). Change how you think to change how you feel. It's catchy and life-changing.

Here are three more:

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