Lets start right off the bat with the definition of emotion:

An affective state of consciousness in which joy, sorrow, fear, hate, or the like, is experienced, as distinguished fromcognitive and volitional states of consciousness.


There’s an order to physiological processes, and when it comes to emotions, they are predominantly generated by a thought.  We have cognitive processes whether we are consciously aware of them or not, including during sleep. Our cognitive minds still function while we are sleeping, but in a slightly different way than during our waking hours.

The wise and insight Eckhart Tolle says, “An emotion is the body’s reaction to your mind”. Right on.

Or here’s my take on it “An emotion is a representation of a thought”.

Reflect on a time when you were hurt, angry, treated unfairly or lost a loved one. Notice the emotion that’s there – that’s the representation of your thought; it’s your body’s reaction to your mind.

Now think of a person you love, adore, admire or are lusting after – feel the change in your body now, actively facilitated by a different thought process. That’s how powerful your thoughts are.

Emotions are powerful too, and much easier to bring awareness to because of their sensory nature. Their birthplace though isn’t quite the same walk in the park. We think, something to the effect of 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day. That’s nearly 3000 thoughts per hour! So let me ask you this. How many of those thoughts do you think you are consciously aware of? Even when I sit in meditation for half of that time, I’m hard pushed to catch even 150 thoughts.


As a whole, our presence and mindfulness is dwindling because of sheer busyness, which at any point in your life is a choice. You decide how you spend your same 24 hours in a day that we are all gifted. It is wildly difficult to be mindful when you’re moving a thousand miles an hour, multi tasking and rushing from one place to the next barely keeping afloat. There’s a reason monks live in quiet monasteries and take silent retreats.  It’s one thing to bring yourself into a state of full presence and awareness on occasion, in a meditation or yoga class, and an entirely different level to live all your moments completely present.

The present moment is right here, where we can stop, feel and listen. Notice how the word thinking didn’t get a seat? That’s because it’s too busy chattering and distracting, keeping you in the past or the future. If you want to be in this moment, feel it; your breath, your feet on the ground, the gentle breeze through your hair, the warmth of the sunshine on your back. All of those things are right here. You can’t experience those while you’re in your past or gallivanting off in to the unknown future, but you can be assured that if you come in to the experience of those now, then they will ground you right here.

Lets practice. Imagine 3 boxes, each with their own label, Past, Present and Future. That middle one is where we want to be as often as possible. In fact, imagine you’re standing inside it, at least knee deep. Physically, the only place your body can actually be is in the middle box labeled “present”. Presence requires us to be in that box with our whole body and mind – not part of us, all of us. In reality though, we are usually standing in the middle box, but our mind is in one of the others.


No arguing the fact that you can multi task either. It’s true we can multi task, but with reduced or diluted attention. Presence is 100%. If you’re in the middle box but worrying about next week, then you’ve essentially taken a percentage of your mind (between 1-100% depending on your level of mindfulness) and placed it in the future box.  So now only part of you is in the present while the rest of you is in the future. This is how we disconnect from full presence.

Tony Robbins knows more than most about human behaviour. He reminds us “where focus goes, energy flows”. So wherever you direct your attention, energy is created there. Or how bout this one from Tony; “whatever you hold in your mind on a consistent basis is exactly what you will experience in your life”.


If you’re asking yourself unanswered questions constantly, or are worrying about your circumstances and never resolving them, you’ll experience those worries as your life.

Worrisome thoughts will generate the relevant feeling; stress, anxiety, worry, anger, resentment. If you want to feel something other than those, something more beneficial, you gotta get in the drivers seat and start thinking better quality thoughts. It can be done. Is it easy? Nope. It’s a work in progress that requires commitment. You’ve been thinking the same way for most of your life, so give yourself time to change those conditioned patterns. Go easy on yourself. It won’t take long before you experience the correlation between thinking better and feeling better, and then guess what? It gets it’s own momentum because it feels SO DAMN GOOD.

You can do it. You deserve it. I believe in you.

About the author

Michelle White offers 8 years of clinical experience in gut focused therapy and gut directed hypnotherapy through Happy Inside; the program, iPhone app and podcast.