Maybe you’ve struggled to shake a bad mood or wish you could bounce back a little faster from difficult and frustrating experiences. You’re not alone. The truth is that most of us struggle with dealing with whatever stresses life places on us. We teach math, science, and language. To a lesser degree, we even teach students about health and overall wellness. But rarely do we share knowledge about how to deal with emotions. It’s rather astonishing that we only offer anger management after someone has had an outburst requiring it. I suppose the idea is that we should learn how to deal with emotions as they arise.
Learning from experience, though, doesn’t really give us the best strategies for coping and accepting our emotions. We were never taught much about our emotions, either how they work or how to work with them. The result is that we live in a society where most of us feel bad for having emotions. The coping strategy most embrace is just to do whatever it takes to make them go away. This leads us away from the best opportunities for growth and to understand ourselves. It leads towards negative actions like violence and addiction. When we try to eliminate or escape from difficult emotions, we are training ourselves to react to emotions.
But instead of constantly trying to fix or eliminate difficult emotions, what if we accepted them as a part of life and learned to work with them? What would happen if we embraced our emotions as a tool instead of denying them? Could we build better lives and more meaningful relations if we were connected with our emotional side? Like anything else, it must all come in balance, but at 5D.Fitness, we believe that one of the keys to a healthy, fulfilling life is to embrace a better relationship with our emotions.
The proper balance in how we feel, the acceptance of those feelings, and the practice of right thinking is what we mean by Emotional Fitness.
Emotional Fitness: One of The Five Dimensions of Fitness
Just as our physical health depends on a foundation of good diet and exercise and our financial fitness depends upon putting proper practices in place, our emotional health depends on a foundation of positive habits and exercises. You may have heard the term “Emotional Intelligence”, but “Emotional Fitness” is something different. Emotional Intelligence implies that we can have a healthier emotional life if we become more knowledgeable about our emotions. But, emotional wellness is not primarily a matter of understanding. As anyone who’s ever joined a gym can tell you, understanding what to do isn’t the hard part.
Emotional Fitness is about something more. It’s actually using that knowledge and retraining your thought processes. The idea is to develop healthy habits, not just know about them. It’s a practice that requires action. Putting that knowledge into practice is the only effective way to develop and grow. Closely connected to your emotional well being is your mental well being. Though it the areas can seem to overlap, that is true of all five areas of fitness. Your mental state affects how you feel and how you feel plays a role in your mental health.
The idea that knowledge is power isn’t exactly true. Instead, knowledge lays the framework for effective fitness. The real power to live an emotionally fit life comes from putting that knowledge into practice. For example, you might understand intelligently that negative self-talk only makes you feel worse. Changing that inner dialog though is challenging work. You might intellectually understand that being assertive and speaking your mind allows your voice to be heard, but overcoming doubt, anxiety, and setting boundaries that you actively express is much harder. Maybe you know that fresh air, sunlight, exercise, and adequate sleep all work to combat depression, but getting up, getting out, staying active, and going to bed at a proper time won’t just happen because you know you should.
Emotional Fitness thus, also implies that it takes training, commitment to achieve meaningful and lasting changes in the way we feel. A bad interaction should tell us something, but it shouldn’t ruin the way we think about ourselves or the day as a whole. All of us face adversity, hardship, and challenges. But how we choose to respond to that makes all the difference in the world.
Better Communication and Relationships
If you’re anything like me, some of the most upsetting situations in life come from arguments with your spouse. And this is normal—because our spouse is the most important relationship in our life, that means there’s the most at stake when things get shaky.
Unfortunately, most fights, arguments, and blow-ups in our relationships come from not really understanding each other, what our real wants and needs are. We easily get accusatory and then defensive, and before we know it, we’re 12 hours into one of those long, painful stretches of days where we barely talk and everything feels awkward and uncomfortable.
Fundamentally, these communication and relationship problems are really emotion problems. Because we all have a hard time dealing with emotions like defensiveness, pride, hurt, and guilt, we tend to act in ways that we’re not proud of and regret later on.
Building better emotional fitness can help us tolerate and manage difficult emotions in our relationships and then find more productive ways to work through difficulties.
Freedom from Anxiety and Worry
Every form of anxiety, from panic attacks and phobias to chronic worry and OCD, boils down to habits. Specifically, how we habitually respond to an initial burst of fear or anxiety determines whether our anxiety mushrooms into an overwhelming explosion of negative emotion or gradually fades away. Even more specifically, the habits of worry and avoidance are the main drivers of chronic anxiety.
So why do we worry and avoid things even if it only makes us feel more anxious in the long-run?
Short answer: We’re not very good at emotional tolerance.
Slightly longer answer: Because we’re in the habit of instantly fighting or running away from our fear and anxiety, we teach our brains to be afraid of anxiety, which leads to vicious cycles of ever-increasing anxiety.
The solution is to train your mind to stop fearing its own emotional reactions. A key component of emotional fitness is learning to tolerate initial bursts of negative emotion and detach from our habits of worry and avoidance, we can truly free ourselves from the endless cycle of worry and anxiety.
Stick with Your Goals and Commitments
Have you ever set out to do some work only to end up procrastinating and getting distracted? Ever told yourself in the evening that tomorrow is the day you finally wake up and go for a run early only to end up snoozing and missing the run altogether? Ever committed to being more honest and straightforward with your spouse about what you really want only to end up caving and just “going with the flow”?
Of course you have. We all have.
In one area or another, we all struggle to stay committed to our goals and aspirations. But the reason this is so difficult isn’t that we don’t really want it. We do! And it’s not that we’re not trying. We are! It isn’t even that we don’t know enough. We’ve all read plenty of articles and books about sticking with our goals!
The real reason most of us fail to stick with our goals and commitments is that we’re not very good at managing our emotions. Specifically, we’re not very good at dealing with negative emotions like anxiety, shame, and regret that inevitably come up in some form or another when we push ourselves to try new things and grow.
But with a solid foundation of emotional fitness, we become much better at identifying these emotional pitfalls as soon as they arise, and then navigating them intelligently and confidently so that we can stay on track with our goals.
Increased Self-Awareness and Mindfulness
One of the most subtle but impactful benefits of boosting your emotional fitness is that it can dramatically increase your ability to be self-aware and mindful. When we start building a better relationship with our emotions it frees us up to really look at and observe our feelings rather than instinctively reacting to them.
This ability to slow down and be with our feelings—even the difficult ones—is a hallmark of truly self-aware people. And along with greater self-awareness comes a host of benefits ranging from improved decision making and communication to better leadership and more intimate relationships.
|Decrease in Stress||Most people make the mistake of only trying to reduce stress once it’s arrived. They aren’t very good at managing it. The more aware we are of the connection between our stress triggers and our own response, the more intelligent we can be about managing those triggers. For example, many people experience chronic stress and become overwhelmed because they’re not very assertive. At its core, this is more of an emotional issue than it is a communication one. Accepting that one’s feelings can be a gauge of what they can manage and tolerate is key to assertively manage hist or her emotional load.|
|Better Communication and Relationships||from $300.00 (contact us for detailed calculation);|
|Less Anxiety||from $399.00 (contact us for detailed calculation);|
|Increased Mindfullness||from $449.00 (contact us for detailed calculation);|
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