Cranky. Cheerful. Moody. Optimistic. If you had to identify how you generally felt, what one word would you use?
Now, imagine a ladder, where each rung represents a group of similarly-classed emotions and feelings. As you climb up the ladder, you move from hatred to apathy, rage and so on up, up, up, to love, compassion and joy.
When you are anchored to the bottom rungs of the ladder, the climb up seems impossible. Those heavy boots of stress may keep you weighted to the spot - you neither have the energy, nor the know-how to move up to the next rung and the one after that. If you do manage to grab hold, it may seem that you are not able to maintain that position for long. That's the stress habit at work - you may have moments of feeling good, but it's not sustainable.
When you learn to balance your nervous system, you change your chemistry, which affects your physiology. Your heart rate variability brings about changes, almost without you realizing it, until one day you notice that your emotional health is healthier. The more you practice, the higher you climb up that ladder. You have changed how you feel. You begin to describe your life using different adjectives. Positive ones.
When are you feeling most joyful? What are you doing? Who are you with? What is the quality of those experiences?