Our Changeable Feelings
by Linda Anderson Krech


If Apple watch could capture each of our emotions throughout the course of a day, we might be shocked to see the wide range of feeling states, intensity levels and sheer number of feelings that rise and fall over the course of any one day, or hour, or even five minutes.

Morita Therapy helps us to recognize and accept the changing nature of our feelings.  They come and go, rise and fall, and do their endless dance, as we go about our lives.  One one level we all know how changeable feelings are.  It’s our living reality.  But when caught in the throes of a strong feeling, such as a craving, we may act on that feeling, rather than finding our way to the other side of it.

Dr. Takehisa Kora, a student of Dr. Morita, has this to say:

“The most important characteristic of emotions is that strong feelings subside with the passage of time if they are left to run their course. Our lives would be destroyed by suffering, were it not for this phenomenon. For example, if the pain of a hard blow, such as the death of one’s child, remained as strong as in the beginning, then no one could survive the endless pain. In fact, however, the waves of emotions rise and fall, gradually tapering off, whether we like it or not.  Some people either ignore or do not know this principle of emotions, and they become desperate when they encounter trouble, as if it would last forever. They cannot trust the passage of time. An expert in living knows that however terrible his experience may be, his unpleasant feelings will fade with time, and so he can live with optimism.” 

Not only does this awareness help us to tolerate the painful or uncomfortable feelings that visit from time to time, knowing they are temporary, but it also opens the door to another truth about feelings – our attention and behavior can influence the way we feel.  Understanding how this works is so helpful.  Let’ face it — we all want to be skillful and none of us want to suffer needlessly.

If we focus on our feelings and stimulate them by talking about them, thinking about them, and nurturing them with our energy and attention, they are likely to last longer.  That dynamic holds true for feelings we like, such as love, as well as feelings we don’t like, such as anger.   So if you want your feeling(s) to change, don’t keep them on center stage.  Shift your attention to other aspects of life.  Notice what else is true, beyond your disturbing feeing state.   Tune into the world and let your feeling begin to settle down.

And get busy doing something.  You don’t need to wait for your feelings to subside first.  You can use your actions to HELP your feelings subside.  Do something simple and straightforward, if you are very upset — fold laundry, sweep the deck,  prepare some food, do something useful and bring all of your senses into the task.  Such guidance can sound oversimplified, but it’s grounded in wisdom and based on true dynamics we can experience for ourselves.


Linda Anderson Krech is a licensed social worker, with an extensive background in Japanese Psychology.  Linda is the Program Director of the ToDo Institute and author of Little Dreams Come True: A Practical Guide to Spiritual Parenting.


Please send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Choose what you're looking for easier.

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?