Feelings Are Not Facts


I love this quote! It reminds me of something that I always tell my athletes, “feelings are not facts!” Feelings and moods are transient. They come and go. Sometimes negative ones hang around longer than we desire, especially on race day or taper week, and positive ones do not last long enough. All-in-all I assure you that no matter the emotion/mood/feeling it does not last forever (it might feel like that but the truth is that it will not). How many times have you allowed your feelings to keep you from training, working out, eating healthy, repeating affirmations, writing down goals, calling that training buddy, or reaching out to your coach. I know it is hard to break from a long standing patterns however the diagram below allows us to see that we have many options for incorporating change and staying consistent with goals that we have committed to.

This chart illustrates that our patterns/habits/behaviors are sometimes a complex interaction. This is why change is sometimes difficult, despite us “knowing better.” However, the good news is that this pattern can also have a ripple effect, every good feeling, thought, or action vibrates into the other areas increasing the chance for more positive change.

Real and lasting change comes from the accumulation of making small shifts in our lives and more specifically, in the way we think, act, and feel. For example:

  • Have a new thought by monitoring self-talk and challenge negative ones, practice repeating race affirmations 3x per day,  read inspirational quotes, and write out race scripts.
  • Shift our mood by watching a motivating video on You Tube, calling a friend or trusted coach for a pep talk, listen to a great jam (song) that will get you dancing and pumped, visualize a great training or race performance.
  • Have a different physical reaction by exercising, dancing, doing yoga, meditate/mindfulness practices, deep breathing, or HIIT workouts.
  • Have a different behavior by packing meals for the week, bringing gym clothes to work, taking 3 deep breaths before reacting/responding, wake up in the morning 30 minutes earlier, turn off social media and Facebook 1hr before going to bed, post quotes around your home, create a dream/visualization board.

The options are endless but the idea to start somewhere on this chart and to realized that how you feel is not a fact, it is a pattern. So don’t let a temporary feeling keep you from making lasting positive change. One way to change that pattern is to identify one small area for change, specifically outline desired goal/outcome, make a plan to incorporate change, stay consistent and committed despite feelings, and then allow life’s ripple effect to take place. You can not change what you are not aware of so, be mindful, then be skillful in making a small change.


Published by

Dr. Gloria Petruzzelli

Dr. Petruzzelli is a clinical sport psychologist, triathlete, and certified mindfulness meditation teacher located in Sacramento, California. She works with elite athletes and sports teams across the country. She is a competitive athlete and enjoys practicing yoga, spending time with her family, and traveling.

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