FEBRUARY 6, 2014 BY 

For previous posts with our Live Simply Challenge, visit https://yvsc.org/calendar/upcoming-events/live-simply-challenge/ 
This post provided by Bruce Alston MA CH

During the holidays, Sarah heard Bruce talk about the “feelings” associated with excesses we experience around the holidays – too much shopping, eating, drinking, etc.  She asked him to write a blog for us.  Here is what he has to say about addressing those feelings to live more simply.


What are feelings for? Kind of a funny question.  Maybe a better way to put it would be, “What are your feelings trying to tell you?”  For the moment, I’m referring to what we sometimes refer to as “negative” feelings: anger, sadness, anxiety (stress), boredom, loneliness and fear.  What are they for?  What do they do for us?  Do they have a purpose – – – a reason to be?

Our feelings do have a purpose, they are our guidance system, like the warnings on your vehicle.  They’re telling us something might be wrong, like you’re running low on fuel or fluids, or overheating.  Strong emotional unrest warrants a time to take a closer look inside and step back on your path of discovery that we all hold in our youth.  If you do, you’ll see what’s there and then take appropriate , responsible action.  When we ignore, distract, or run away from our core feelings, our basic emotional needs remain unmet, and our physical “vehicles” can suffer.  Our lives can become filled with frustration, stress, illness, and depression as a result of not listening to the valuable guidance system.

All our emotions come from our perception of the world.  Historically, basic fear is an instinct coming from the perception of danger, whether the danger is real or not.  Modern fear has transformed, and is more about our anxiety and insecurities really giving us information: guiding us and directing us to take a look and take appropriate action – fill the tank, check the engine. You should challenge that feeling we describe as fear and you may find that maybe you really aren’t afraid.  Maybe you’re just excited, doubtful, or self conscious.  Ask yourself, what is the mature, responsible response or action to that “fearful” thought or situation?

Do not run away from your feelings. We are all accomplished at distracting from emotions, but that will never alter or solve the problem.  We don’t like to feel afraid, anxious, sad, lonely, bored, or angry, so we drink, eat watch TV, play video games, spend countless hours on our smart phone or internet, shop and even exercise to avoid the feelings.  But none of that will solve our anger, sadness, anxiety or fear like facing it will.

What we need is more maturity, awareness, quiet, contemplation, direction and purpose in life.  (Myself included, I am not immune to our distracting culture.)  If your goal in life is to take control of your life – – – to not be a victim of situation, circumstance, or relationships: then my simple suggestion is to feel your feelings.  Don’t retreat, avoid, fill the space, or run away.  Respond as the creative, courageous, confident and loving person you want to be.  Spend time in the company of the positive feelings you most want to feel.  You know what it feels like to be confident.  Spend some time with that feeling.  Take action where and when appropriate.  Find the courage: it’s in there.  Control only what you can control – – – let the rest go – – – and know the difference, and feel the simplicity of it.


Bruce Alston MA CH, Health and Performance Counseling, Steamboat Hypnosis, 970-819-1159

Bruce holds a masters degree in both Psychology and Education, from the University of Washington and Regis University, respectively. In addition, he has extensive training in Hypnosis and is certified as a hypnotherapist and hypnosis instructor.  Bruce has lived and worked in Steamboat Springs since 1976.  His area of expertise include PTSD, fear and abandonment issues, and sports performance.