Tag Archives: Katherine Gordy Levine


Self-soothing skills remain the most popular part of this course. Testifies to how stressed we are. Most of us have healthy and unhealthy ways we use to find calm.

Health ways to self soothe

Remember if this is your first visit to the course, you can go here to start at the beginning. Not necessary, but advisable to get the most from it.  

Meditating got left off the list. That was not on purpose but gives me a change to highlight its value. Done properly and with practice it works. Think of the Dalai Lama who almost never gets ruffled.

That’s the good news.  The bad news? The Dalai Lama practiced years and years to be a star meditator.  The hyperactive or more impatient among us often find traditional meditations hard to learn. That  describes me. That is also why I developed EFT’s One Minute Meditation or OMM. Here it is:

A one minute meditation

If you have been taking the course, you are already familiar with the first four steps of the OMM. Guessed it was a  Calming Breath? Right.

Some words about all breathing exercises.  We breathe naturally, but there are  revving up ways to breathe and  calming ways to breathe. Both are useful.  Learning to use both wisely improves your self-soothing skills,

 Revving up breaths –  These often happen normally when we experience a negative feeling.  It starts by more or less holding our breath and breathing using our upper body.

Think of the last time something happened that really frightened you. Most likely, you caught and held your breath for a few seconds. When you began to breathe again, you took  quick, short breaths. Called thoracic breathing this does not fully expand the lungs; it decreases the flow of oxygen and so increases tension and revs you up.

Most call do not see why this is useful, but the body uses such breathing  to increase the flow of energizing chemicals and there lies its usefulness.

Calming down breaths –  this is the way babies breathe when sleeping and involves drawing a complete breath from deep in your belly, the way singers do.  Doing so gets more oxygen to your whole body and that is calming.

Not sure you know how to breathe from your belly? Try this:

  1. Stand at ease.
  2. Place both of your hands on your stomach.
  3. Imagine your stomach is a balloon.
  4. Breathe in and imagine you are filling that balloon with air.
  5. Breathe out and imagine the balloon collapsing.

Very hard for some, so here is another way to learn this one.  Do this in bed before falling asleep.

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Put a book on your abdomen.
  3. Breathe as you normally do.
  4. Watch the book and see if it raises as you breathe in or out.
  5. Experiment with learning to raise the book as you breathe in.

Parenting tip: Instead of a book, use a small stuffed animal to teach a child how to breathe calm. You can start doing so when s/he has conquered language.

Using the above  to self-sooth and stay calm: Becoming  attuned to how you breathe alerts you to the need to switch to from one way  to the other. Mostly you will need to switch from revving up breaths to calming breaths.

Homework: Use bed time to practice learning both ways to breathe and how to switch from one to the other.  Switch several times, then practice the OMM until you fall asleep.


More self-soothing skills with a focus on turning negative self talk into positive slogans that calm and keep you focused on what matters.)


I often use these prompts to spark my posts.  They can also be used to improve your critical thinking which is the heart of emotional intelligence.

You can think about them as they are stated or use them to spark other thoughts which is what I usually do. Most can be related to Emotional Fitness. How? Well here is the prompt that connects to this post. I’ll answer it and tell you how I relate it to Emotional Fitness.

Doppelgänger alert: You step into an acquaintance’s house for the first time, and discover that everything — from the furniture, to the books, to the art on the wall — is identical to your home. What happens next?

How this relates to emotional fitness and today’s post.  I laugh gently, which is an emotional fitness exercise, then thank my friend for finding so much of me to like and then admit, I also miss what was special about him that could never be me and suggest the next time  I visit, I hope to see more of him and less of me.

If you think deeply, another emotional fitness exercise, hopefully, you realize the beauty of our world lies in its variety. A world inhabited by copies of you would soon become very boring.


All the handouts and poster coaches for this course are being posted at the store so you can download them for free  (Handouts are in Black and White while Foster Coaches are in color.)

Some might not be up yet.  I am a Jill of all in this business, so some things take longer than others.  If a handout isn’t posted yet, you will find lots of other offerings including inspirational quotes or more EFTI exercises.

Subscribe to be notified of new additions.



Please rate this material. Doing so helps me ratings. This is what your stars will mean to me. No stars – Not helpful; One star – Reinforced my knowledge –  Two Stars; New information –  Three stars;  New useful information; Four stars – Very good; Five stars – Excellent.

Thank you and work at staying strong until next time,. I work hard to do the same as life is often difficult but staying strong lets me find the good.




Do you know when tension starts visiting you? How about anger?  Fear? Your body knows, the more you listen to your body, the more you control feelings.

101 body scan

     First visit to the 101 course? Go here to start at the beginning.


Proper practice requires full awareness. Full awareness is achieved by taking a Calming Breath, breathing normally while focusing on the exercise and when the exercise is over,  taking another Calming Breath and thinking for a few moments about what you have learned.  You take a Calming Breath by:

  1. Breathing in slowly to a count of five
  2. Holding your breath for another count of five
  3. Breathing out slowly to a final count of five
  4. Smiling softy as if you are looking at a sleeping baby or into the eyes of a loved one returning your love
  5. Whispering” Thank you.”

Frequent practice is a must.  All super stars, no matter what their field, practice hours and hours, day after day. You don’t need to spend hours, because once learned most  EFT’s exercises can be practiced in a minute or less.

Exercises such as the one above  take a bit of time to learn.  The first step is to learn it when you are relatively relaxed.  At first you will feel awkward or need to chick the cirections. When you can take a Calming Breath  and Body Scan without checking the exercises, build some confidence and then start speeding things up and doing a Mini Body Scan.  How?

Taking a breath and while holding it,  quickly scanning your body, naming only obvious feeling clues. What might they be: wrinkled forehead and pulled together eyebrows, narrowed eyes, teary eyes, tight jaw, tense shoulders, clenched fists, stomach pain, tight buttocks, shaky legs, even curled toes.

In time you will become more and more aware of the clues your body sends you and how those clues related to feelings.


Yes, taking a course means you be asked to do a bit of homework. Not often, but this assignment focuses you  a specific feeling. Doing so makes  all your are learning more immediately helpful.

Maybe shyness keep you from speaking up in class or at a meeting. Anger might have you speaking when it might be best to be quiet. Sadness might find you low on energy so you don’t do what you need to do.

Using that feeling throughout the course will intensify your ability to gain control. No you don’t have to do this. But it is recommended.

When you have picked a feeling to work on, think about and jot down, the facts about the last time that feeling bossed you and you did something you regret.

What were you feeling before the troublesome feeling came to visit? How did rhe feeling first announce it’s presence?  What happened that created the feeling? What did you say to yourself as the feeling grew in strength? Who was with you? What did you do that you regret? What made the feeling depart?  What troubled you about what you did?

Try to spend at least twenty minutes on the above.  Doing so will serve you well during the rest of the course.  Every question leads to more feeling awareness and uncovers more fee.ing clues.


Self talk as a feeling clue.

Remember:  All of the posters and handouts used in this course can be downloaded free from the EFTI store.

As always thank you for all you do including liking, commenting, or sharing.




SESSION TWO: Feelings  can hide, strengthen quietly,  then jump out of hiding to become your boss. You need to know when a feeling first visits to stay its boss.


WHY FEELING AWARENESS MATTERS  As has been  said, “Keep your friends close; your enemies closer.”  Knowledge is power.  The more you know about feelings, the more you control.  That knowledge starts with understanding The Life Cycle of a Feeling.

You will also be helped by this tact: Neurobiologists say the Life Cycle of a Feeling lasts less than a minute;

“Not true” you are probably saying to yourself, “I can be angry for hours or sad for days.”

Feels true, but feelings only seem to go on and on. Why? Because something keeps triggering the feeling  again  and again. Without a re-triggering event all feeling die quick deaths.

Think of the prick that comes when blood is drawn from your finger. Prick hurts, but the pain is gone in  a few seconds.

Emotional pricks should vanish as quickly.  Someone gives you the finger because you are driving slower than s/he likes? Do you  fall victim to road rage or  shrug your shoulders and be  happy the impatient driver is ahead of you?

Being able to shrug your shoulders  starts knowing as soon as possible when troublesome feelings first come calling, naming them accurately, so you can stop triggering them.

FEELING AWARENESS EXERCISE: Think about your day for a few minutes.  Make a  list of the feelings that have visited you since you first opened your eyes.  Jotting down the name of each feeling  best; writing focuses thoughts and improves recall. Moreover, it makes it easier to count the different feelings and basically what this exercise is looking for is the number of feelings, nothing more. However you decide to  go spend four or five minutes making a list.

How many feelings did you come up with?  Hopeful, at least  seven or eight of the mighty ten.  The mighty ten are the most common feelings across the world. Those ten? Better (as in “I feel better” or “I am feeling better now”), bad, good, guilty, sorry, sick, well, comfortable, great, happy.

Others think confusion, interest, sadness, anger,  shame, despair and fear should be on that list. One theorist says there are almost as many feelings as there are people.

However, here is a kicker: two groups of experts, Freudians and Behaviorists,  think all feelings boil down to pleasure or pain.  Those two groups disagree about almost everything else, but both insist pleasure are pain are at the bottom of all other feelings. More about that later.

For now, spend a  few moments adding any feelings to your list that the above has brought to mind.

What does it all mean? First, the more feelings, the more skilled you are at naming feelings and the stronger your feeling awareness. The fewer feelings the more you need to become more attuned to your feelings.

Some note only positive feelings and that  is a bit worrisome.  Even the Dalai Lama, despite being trained all his life in the art of serenity, knows anger, upset, and sadness .  The main concern here, is that you are stuffing feelings and in time they will not stay stuffed,  but join together and burst forth to make trouble.

Another worry is getting stuck most of the time in a negative feeling.  Getting stuck in one feeling means that feeling is bossing you.

What to do? Keep on taking this course and even if you found lots and lots of feelings, learn and practice the Sad to Mad to Glad  Feeling Awareness Exercise detailed below. Why? Star athletes know it is not enough to learn a skill, it must be continually practiced to stay effective.

Sad to mad to glad

Next up.  A bit about how to properly practice an Emotional Fitness exercise.   Then another exercise to improve your feeling awareness.

As always thank you for all you do including liking, commenting, or sharing.




One-Way Street  Congrats! You’re the owner of a new time machine. The catch? It comes in two models, each traveling one way only: the past OR the future. Which do you choose, and why?

I pick the future, it is always more full of hope, more in my power to control. At the same time, I would want to carry forward all the lessons of the past.


Go to the EFTI store and browse its offerings for inspirational quotes or exercises. Go there and subscribe to be notified of new additions.


SESSION ONE: Anger, shame, guilt, fear, desire, pain, sadness, jealousy, or lust bossing you?  Take this EFTI course and boss the feelings trying to boss you.

EQ instagrom intro to efti

Emotional Fitness tRAINING’s 101 Course

I am offering this course  on my blog and Emotional Fitness Facebook Page. The course puts you in charge of the feelings that boss you and create problems.  Being in  charge of your feelings keeps you on the path to the good life.


Emotional fitness is about managing feelings. 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.”  When we own our feelings, we are in control.

We are in charge of some feelings, not in charge of others. Sometimes we soar; sometimes we can’t get off the ground.  Everyone’s ability to manage one or another negative feeling can be improved.  Taking control of your feelings requires mastery of six skills

  1.  Feeling awareness: knowing when a feeling starts and how accurately name various feelings.
  2. Feeling measurement: knowing how to measure the growth of negative feelings so you can take action before the feeling controls you.
  3.  Self-soothing: calming the body so feelings do not take over.
  4.  Focusing the mind on what matters: knowing what is important—having a life affirming mission, setting positive goals
  5.  Feeling management: strategizing or thinking about how to act on what is important.
  6.  Acceptance and letting go: dealing with what cannot be changed.

EFTI  programs are based on the fitness model.  Even if born with a great athletic talent, you need practice and training to become a star.  So it is with emotional fitness;  emotional fitness levels and needs vary as widely as physical fitness levels and needs.  To star at managing feelings, you need training and practice.

 WHAt You need to know about the course

The course is based on courses I taught as a professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Social Work, on my experiences as the director of New York City crisis teams before, during and after 9/11, on my years as a foster parent caring for teens in trouble with the law, and on the growing interest in Emotional Intelligence.

My unique experience as a foster parent, lead me to want to turn clinical knowledge into  practical tips and exercises. There are six skills, and twelve daily exercises to review or  learn, and then strengthen.

The course is also designed to take at several levels. You can just scan the posts and take what you want or need when you can.

You can obtain a certificate of accomplishment  for adding to your resume by taking the course as you would a college course. Doing so involves taking  several mastery based tests as you work through the course. The mastery approach involves a self-graded testing system. When you take the test, if you fail, you simply review the material and take the test again. Few fail as the course is specifically designed to answer the questions. When you complete the course this way, you need to pay a small fee for the processing of your tests and issuing the certificate.

If you need  a certificate of completion for anger management, please contact us at emotfit@live.com for more information.  Taking the course may be enough, but more might be needed if you are court referred mandated to take anger management.

Finally, those  with credentials as a therapist or coach can use the course as the springboard for licensing as an Emotional Fitness Trainer.  If that is your interest contact me at emotfit@live.com.

To start you off, here are some feelings facts you need to know and think about.

Feeling facts

One of the questions on a test would be to state Feeling Fact Number Seven as that is the essentially Emotional Fitness Training’s Game Plan.

If you are a parent, taking this course, buffers you against the slings and arrows involved in raising children. Most importantly, however, the more emotionally fit you are, the more emotionally fit your children will be.

I hope you will share this information. As always, thank you for your support.




IN TRANSIT: Train stations, airport terminals, subway stops: soulless spaces full of distracted, stressed zombies, or magical sets for fleeting, interlocking human stories?

Life is always in transit and most of the magic comes from you and your willingness to connect kindly to others.  Emotion Fitness Training makes that more possible.


Go to the EFTI store and browse its offerings for inspirational quotes or exercises. Go there and subscribe to be notified of new additions.  Eventually, all the course handouts will be there.