The Six Emotional Fitness Training™ Skills.
Anyone can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person at the right time, and for the right purpose and in the right way – that is not within everyone’s power and that is not easy.
Staying in control of emotions is no easy task. We can own our feelings or our feelings can own us. Anger is a feeling that tries to own us: “I was angry; I couldn’t help myself.” Sadness is another feeling that can own us. “I couldn’t do my work, I was so sad, I just sat there and cried.” Only when we own our feelings, we are in control. Key to control is stopping to think before acting. Even in an emergency situation, taking a few seconds to consider options is more likely to lead to a successful resolution than acting immediately.
No one is born emotionally fit. Learning to think first takes time Babies are controlled by their feelings. A contented newborn sleeps, a hungry or hurting newborn cries. Two year olds who don’t get their way have temper tantrums. Eight and nine year olds tend to feel and act without thinking. Teenagers never seem to think first, but even adults can be hi-jacked by a strong feeling and fail to think before acting. Understanding the following feeling facts will increase your ability to think before you act.
- Feelings are signals; like a flashing traffic light, feelings are tell us something.
- Feelings are first noticed when the body reacts to something; feelings are signals.
- Arousal is the word scientists use to describe how feelings both alert us to the fact that something is happening and motivate us to act.
- Arousals can be physically or emotionally based. Hunger is a physical arousal. It is the way our bodies tell us to eat. Hunger can be a source of stress. Anger is an emotional arousal. It is the way our bodies tell us something needs correcting.
- A feeling is not fully born until it is named.
- Neurobiologists say feelings end in less than a minute. Not true you say, “I can be angry for hours or sad for days.” “I’ve felt stressed most of my adult life.” The experts say feelings seem to go on and on because what triggered the feeling repeats. Someone made you angry yesterday. You keep reminding yourself what happened or figuring out how to get revenge for the hurt you felt—the feeling seems to go on and on. You feel stressed and the pressures creating the stress goes on and on as does the feeling of being stressed; however, what you are experiencing is not one feeling, but a feeling chain—one feeling following another.
- Feelings motivate. Feelings want us to do something: Afraid? Fear says take care. Guilty? Guilt says stop doing wrong.
- Feelings can grow so strong; we stop thinking and do things we regret.
- Arousals energize or shut us down. Fear starts our hearts beating faster and tenses our bodies. When that happens, fear is preparing us to flee. Anger also increases our heart beats and prepares us to fight. Sadness is a shut down feeling saying we need to conserve our energies in order to keep doing what we need to do. Shutting down conserves energy, protects us from pain, and keeps us alive in some situations.
- Learning to think before acting on a feeling keeps us in control; thinking before acting is how we stay emotionally fit.
The ability to think before acting requires mastery of the following six skills:
- Feeling awareness: knowing when a feeling starts and accurately naming the feelings of hte moment.
- Feeling measurement: knowing how to measure the growth of negative feelings.
- Self-soothing: calming the body and focusing the mind so you can decide how to act.
- Knowing what is important so you can act wisely.
- Acting wisely on what you can change.
- Accepting and letting go of what cannot be changed.
This blog seeks to provide you with support, tips and strategies designed to strenghten each of the six skills. We will also be published a number of E-books designed to expand on the knowledge offered on the blog.