“Is that a feeling or a fact?” My life coach asked me this a while back during our session (yes, life coaches get life coaching…because it works!). That one question was so powerful and helpful as I was working through some things. It helped me gain almost immediate perspective. By acknowledging that the thing I was wrestling with was only a feeling—not a fact, I was able to lay it down, be done with it, and move forward.

Throughout the course of any given day, we have around 60K thoughts. Thoughts lead to emotions, and those emotions can rule us. That’s why it’s essential to stay present and really check in on what we’re thinking and feeling throughout our days. Something I find ironic is that we often default to negative thoughts that bring up negative emotions. That default to negativity is really just our more primal brains working to protect us from potentially dangerous, painful, or inefficient situations. We have to be much more intentional to have positive thoughts and feelings by engaging our executive thinking to override the negativity.

The question “is that a feeling or a fact?” is an excellent tool for engaging our executive brain and jarring us into the moment to intelligently take stock of what’s really going on.

Since I am aware that my thoughts create my feelings, I consistently practice generating alternative, positive thoughts when negative ones arise. This is a game changer. When my attention falls on something that creates negativity or dissonance about an event, myself, or someone else, I ask “is it a feeling or a fact?.”.

For me, that simple question is so powerful!

Try this out for yourself. As thoughts arise that bring up emotions that are not helpful in moving you forward, stay awake to what’s happening and ask, “is this a feeling or a fact?” and see how your perspective changes. When we get honest and see things as they actually are, we are empowered to remove the blocks to our confidence and creativity.