Becoming Emotionally Fit
When people want to lose weight, they focus a lot on exercising and changing eating habits, a good start and necessary to achieve a healthy and fit body. But is it enough? How about dealing with our emotions?
Our emotions, beliefs and thoughts show up in our lives. So whatever you’ve created in your life so far is energy you carry within you. You act from this energy, and you make choices from it. YOU are your own energy. The problem is that most of the time, you don’t even know what the driving forces are because the fundamental emotional, mental programming/conditioning happens when we’re children.
If you really want to achieve a healthy, fit, sexy body, you need to work on becoming emotionally fit, and also mentally and spiritually fit and sexy. You can only get a temporary fix unless you’re willing to dig much deeper and do the work. Digging isn’t easy, and it’s definitely not the instant fix that everyone is looking for today.
In the next couple of blogs I will explain to you and will give you examples on how not dealing with your emotions can hold you back, not just in achieving your dream body but also a balanced, peaceful life.
Today, I’ll focus on the “big word” everyone talks about today: STRESS. I’m not going to talk about the physical effects of stress, but I will talk about how facing your feelings can help you to have less stress in your life, which will result in a healthier, more harmonious you!
Have you ever chosen a cookie or a glass of wine to release stress? Have you ever overeaten or perhaps not eaten when you’re stressed out? Have you ever skipped your workouts because of the pressure at work/no time dilemma, or have you ever gone overboard and over-trained to release stress?
When we face stress or conflicts at work or in our relationships and friendships and, in general, in our daily lives, most of us choose to avoid them. Instead of facing the problem, we choose alcohol, cigarettes, food, drugs, sex, overindulging, withdrawing to escape from it. While these give us a temporary fix and satisfaction, detaching from our feelings won’t help long-term, and the situation will stay unresolved and will continue to ferment in our lives.
We should not only face the problems head-on, but we also need to face ourselves and look within to figure out why certain situations trigger us and why others don’t. We might be reacting to an old pain or experience not necessarily the one that’s right in front of us.
Most of the time we can’t change our environment, but we can change the way we respond to situations. We can learn to handle things head-on with honesty (with ourselves and others) and from a centered place.
When we feel stressed, we might also feel anxious, angry, frustrated and feeling out of control, a wide array of feelings that are boiling underneath the surface. All of those feelings want our attention. When we give them our attention is when we can finally release them.
Going into a void, ignoring those emotions protects us from being hurt, but in the end it also keeps us from having an open, happy, harmonious, balanced life.
Most of the time, we don’t even know or understand what’s really happening inside us, and we don’t have the skills or can’t comprehend how important it is to understand it. We push it deeper down with a cookie or two (or a whole box), wine, sex, cigarettes, drugs, overeating, over-exercising or whatever your choice of void is. Does it sound healthy to you? How do you think it affects your body?
Feelings are energy, and when we decide to push it deeper down inside us, it stays within us, gets stuck in our body, in our energy field. We carry them with us; we react to situations from them. And to our surprise they will not only feel heavy in our chests or will feel as if someone is choking us, but they will also weigh on us and cause us to feel that internal pressure—stress.
Understanding what’s happening within us means understanding and knowing ourselves.
The question is what’s the solution.
First, you have to see what’s going on deep inside you and truly get to know yourself. Find out who you are!
Most of my life, I was out of touch with my feelings. When something hurt me or bothered me, I didn’t say anything right away but exploded about it on a different occasion two or three weeks later. I was so out of touch I had no idea I had a problem or something was still boiling inside me. I just felt out of sorts and frustrated, and I didn’t even know why—for weeks. I also blamed my external environment for my frustration.
I’m sure some of you can relate to these circumstances! I didn’t think it was right for me or my environment, so I invented an exercise for myself that I will share with you now.
I started to journal every day. In my journal I asked myself two questions:
1. What happened to me today? (Here, I just objectively wrote about the things that happened to me.)
2. How did it make me feel? How do I feel about it? (I looked into myself, really listened to what was happening with me, what emotions came up. I was digging, digging deeper and deeper within me.)
All those feelings that were in me came to the surface, and I understood myself so much more. It took me a while to go deeper down, but with practice it just happened. With time I did not have to journal to understand myself, but I still have to pay attention to what’s going on inside and learn to listen to my emotions. Sometimes, I just call them out quietly. I take note of them.
When I start feeling uneasy, I ask myself why I feel that way. I look into myself and take notes: “Oh, there you are, fear of…. I see you!” It always helps me to work through my inner conflicts. It creates a very peaceful inner life and eventually a much more peaceful life, period.
From this place I had to learn to voice my concerns to others or to myself. I knew what needed my attention, and I could work on it, change it.
I also learned that sometimes when I felt a trigger in a situation, it wasn’t at all about what happened to me at that moment, but the memory of the feeling. Just to give you an example:
I’m standing in a line in a coffee shop, and it’s my turn, but the barista instead of serving me turns to the person next to me to serve him/her. I get upset, frustrated.
What do you think? Was I upset because she didn’t acknowledge me? No, I was upset because I felt invisible. I gave a meaning to the conflict, and it meant that she thought I didn’t matter or didn’t even exist.
See, most situations in our lives are about the meaning we give to them, not at all about the situation or the conflict itself. Knowing and understanding this helps me to accept my life and shift my perception when I need to.
When we live in an emotional void, what do we really live by? Who is creating our lives? Is it our past experiences, our parents, teachers? Whose life are we living if we don’t know or don’t pay attention to what’s happening in our own world, our own bodies, in our own minds? Are we living by our own will or by other people ideas?
Wouldn’t life be easier if we all understood ourselves? When we do, we have a chance to reflect, change and grow. We can take responsibility for what we’re creating instead of making others responsible for it. We also have much more compassion toward others because we realize they’re only battling something within themselves just as we do.
So, from now on if you have a habit of avoiding your feelings, or you’re someone who’s numbing yourself, ask yourself if that’s the way you want to live to the rest of your life. And if you choose not to, try to go a little deeper and find out what’s really going on inside you! Try my exercise! It will work, I promise you. It will take time, work, energy, but you will get there.
After all, having a healthy and fit body won’t come without healthy emotions and thinking and that need to change at the roots, but you have to dig deep down to even see what’s there.
Please share your thoughts or questions with me!