FIRST THINGS FIRST
Are you reading this because mad, bad, or sad feelings are sending you down the road to regret more than you like? Happens to the best of us. Emotional Fitness Training (EFT) programs, exercises, and tips keep you on the path to the good life.
How stressed are you right now? Use this feeling barometer to check out your stress levels. First, measure how your week has been going; then measure how stressed you feel at the moment.
Want more? Try our four of our Easy Emotional Fitness exercises for some quick relief.
Did the exercises calm you immediately? Sometimes, they work that fast; but often just as with physical fitness, a bit more effort is needed.
ABOUT EMOTIONAL FITNESS
Emotional fitness is about controlling feelings. Life is often difficult and most relationships complicated; stress is common and negative feelings abound. A fortunate few manage better than others to stay emotionally fit. These have been gifted with a talent the experts call emotional intelligence. The rest of us are more or less emotionally fit; we control some feelings easily; others with more difficulty, and a few control us.
Moreover, today’s media has made staying emotionally fit more difficult, even for those who come by it naturally. How? By continuously insisting you need to buff your body, shed those pounds, run that marathon, become a star, win the gold, and all the while staying on the sunny side of life.
Why does the media do this? Because, pushing images of perfect bodies or constant happiness creates doubt about self-worth and that doubt creates customers.
Customers perhaps, but not always motivated users. Think of the un-walked treadmill; the not lifted weights; the broken diets; the hours not spent at the gym; the half-hearted obedience given to the high priced instruction of motivational gurus, coaches, and trainers; and finally, to the unhappy faces seen more often than smiling ones.
Reality check: Even the more perfect visions thrown at us by the media, the celebrities at the top of their field are far from perfect beings. Think Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, Lindsey Lohan, Oprah’s battle with her weight, and Michael Jackson’s carving up his face -stars in the eyes of the media and fans, but at some level being controlled by feelings. Discouraging? Perhaps, but only when you let the media’s expectations rule your feelings about yourself.
Feelings are signals designed to alert you to what is happening. Feeling signals serve us well when on target; all too often, a feeling sends the wrong signal. Why? Feelings don’t think about the difference between a broken fingernail and a broken arm. Every strong feeling announces a 911 type emergency.
Moreover, while alerting you to what is happening; strong feelings are tied to the part of the brain that creates the energy to act as the feeling thinks necessary.
What does all this mean? All feelings, good and bad want to control you; to make you act as they command. Not always a problem, but when it is, you do things you regret. Happy feelings lead to drinking too much? Happiness ruled. Sad feelings lead to eating too much? Sadness ruled. Fear kept you from speaking up at a meeting? Fear ruled. Despair had you quitting early in the game? Despair ruled.
What to do? “Think before you act.” Advice drummed into our ears as children. Wise advice, for emotional fitness is about stopping to think before you act. In fact most of us do just that; but, not always and not in every situation. Stress, unfulfilled needs, difficult relationships, pain, hunger, fatigue, and life’s harder times erode our ability to act wisely.
In order to think before you act, you need six skills:
- Feeling awareness
- Feeling measurement
- Thinking about what to do
- Acting wisely on what you can change
- Letting go of what you cannot change
Every Emotional Fitness Training® Inc (EFTI) program is designed to strengthen these skills. Founded in 1986 by Katherine Gordy Levine, emotional fitness was first promoted in her book Parents Are People Too, An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents. Katherine drew her inspiration from Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence, but took his theories and created a daily emotional fitness exercise program. Her programs were the first to offer practical ways for everyone to get and stay emotionally fit.
Praise for Katherine Gordy Levine …
“I find such wisdom, practical advice, and solid research from Katherine. One of her gifts is how she writes. It’s as if she’s having a kind caring conversation with you.”
Jean Tracy – Author/Speaker, www.kidsdiscuss.com
“You’re an amazing person and one of those people I wish I had had the opportunity to meet in my lifetime. Between the two of us we’ve got nearly 140 years under our belts. Lots of time to make mistakes and learn from them, and get the hang of some of this stuff. Now if we can just pass on all we know before we run out of time, we might just leave the world a better place than we found it.”
Ray Mathis – Motivational/Education Speaker, www.itsjustanevent.com
“As a clinical social worker and author, I can really appreciate Ms. Levine’s perspective on parenting. While I was supervising teens in residential treatment she was inviting foster children into her home. Talk about paying your dues. Her extensive experience is the voice in her wonderful new eBook, When Good Kids Do Bad Things: A Survivor Guide for Parents.”
Ray Erickson – Author, Consultant, Speaker, Trainer, www.rayerickson.com
“She is the new Spock.”
“As a psychotherapist I am always looking for accessible, accurate and helpful material on emotional regulation to share with my clients. “Tame the Test Anxiety Monster” meets these criteria and goes one better – it employs a gentle humor that can reduce the reader’s anxiety immediately. I know it did mine.”
Geraldine Wallman – ACSW, DSW
“I am a former student of yours from Columbia and you were one of my favorite professors! I learned so much from you about child resiliency, anger management, and of course finding humor in my very own personal ADD mishaps. I have a smile on my face as I remember your funny stories and the laughter from class like it was yesterday! The truth is that I graduated from CUSSW in 1997 so yes you definitely made an impact as an amazing Professor and Mentor and I thank you for that!”
Lori Linn Pele – Psychotherapist (Private Practice)
Finally, a warning. The daily output on the blog is not edited beyond what word processing programs offer. As Katherine struggles with dysgraphia with the result that often her writing has more than the usual spelling and punctuation errors. Aging has made this a bit worse particularly with small words – for example not becomes now or now becomes not. Please spare yourself any added stress, if this bothers you. Life is too short and you can find good health elsewhere.