Strengthening Your Emotional Fitness

Written By: Angie Snow

Strengthening Your Emotional Fitness 

As women in the trades, we have many demands on our time, our attention and our focus. We aim to progress and thrive in our career, while balancing our families, our health, our relationships, finances, as well as our hobbies and personal development. With so much going on, one can experience a range of emotions on any given day. From vibrant, joyous, grateful, appreciative and happy, to doubtful, upset, angry, overwhelmed and frustrated. 

To build an extraordinary quality of life, it’s important to be able to bounce back from the challenges of life, our negative emotions and experiences, and strengthen our ability to be emotionally fit. Emotional strength and emotional fitness is similar to physical fitness. Just like you can strengthen your muscles and become strong and flexible, you can also strengthen your emotions and train your emotions. 

Most people play victim to their emotions, and don’t understand how strong and flexible they can make their emotions. You have the ability to control your emotions and manage them in a way that helps you perform at your best in every situation. 

When we think about categorizing our emotions, we tend to label them as positive or negative. Another way to measure an emotion is by the intensity of our emotions… and how we feel those. Some emotions are subtle, while others can be very intense. Becoming self aware of the type of emotion and the intensity of the emotion is the first step in emotional fitness. One should evaluate if the emotion is appropriately intense based upon the situation. 

In this evaluation, you may consider asking yourself the following question: 

“Are the emotions I’m feeling a reaction or intentional?”

If you are in reaction mode, you may be feeling defensive, always on the lookout, feeling as though you have to respond to everything. Reaction mode can lead you to feeling stress, overwhelm, anxiety, judgment and defensiveness. It’s been said that when your emotions run high, your intelligence runs low. We don’t think or act well when we are living in reaction mode.

On the contrary, you could be very intentional about your emotions. When your emotions come from a place of intention, your thoughts are shaping the emotions that you want. You may not feel automatically happy in the moment, but you can use intention to bring to the front of your mind all of the things you appreciate in life, the things you’re grateful for, and the people you care for. You can flood your mind and your emotional body with the sensation of gratitude or love. 

Reflect on your past week, and think back to consider if you were overly reactive, or if your emotions were the downstream positive effect from your positive intention. Becoming conscious of your emotions and your thoughts are truly the way to strengthen your emotional fitness. 

Another gauge of emotional fitness is to observe if your thoughts and emotions are dividing you from others, or connecting you to others. When we constantly compare ourselves to others, we separate ourselves, and create negative emotions toward ourselves or others. However, when we look for opportunities to connect and generate love, generosity, compassion and empathy for others. Don’t compare yourself to others in negative ways, but rather look for ways to unite you, make you similar, and make you able to connect with others. Emotional fitness has a lot to do with social connection. 

It’s also important to observe if your emotions are geared towards selfishness or service. Sometimes we may have feelings about defending ourselves, hoarding, being greedy, or self-protected. Learning to shift those feelings and emotions into a more humble and servant oriented way can help you feel more connected, and become more influential in any given situation. Expressing compassion, kindness and generosity to other people will help you adjust your emotions and create a better interaction and ultimately a stronger connection to others. 

I like to ask myself if my emotions are allowing me to feel fulfilled in my life, in my career, and in my family. Feeling fulfillment is when you have emotional mastery. Those who are able to feel fulfilled, content, and thankful for what they already have and who they are, demonstrate a strong emotional fitness. They are able to feel self-esteem and self-worth because they feel full, or fulfilled in who they are. Fulfillment in your job, your family, and your life, is a level of emotional maturity that we should all be striving for. 

Finally, there is a level of emotional resiliency that needs to be developed. When you feel frightened, anxious, upset or mad, how quickly can you bounce back from those negative emotions? This is the endurance portion of emotional fitness - like being in the boxing match of life. Do you get back up and be emotionally resilient to get back in the game? 

Developing emotional resistance is about becoming more assertive with your emotions. Becoming more assertive in the world. Personally, I know when my emotions are off because I don’t put myself into the world as much. If I’m unable to identify the emotion that causes me to withdraw and not be assertive enough, I pull out my journal and just start writing. I get those thoughts and emotions out of my mind, so that I can process them, learn from them, and move past them. I have to let them go so I can keep moving forward.

Emotions are “Energy in Motion.” By identifying emotions, and moving through the negative emotions quickly, we become emotionally fit. Working on your personal self-development every day can add to your toolbox and help you build your emotional fitness. It’s easy to identify those who are emotionally strong because they’ve been doing personal development for a long time. They’ve read books, attended conferences, listened to podcasts, worked with a therapist or coach.

As you enroll in this emotional training, you’ll find that you can become less reactive, and more intentional with your emotions. You’ll be intentional about connecting to others instead of hiding from them. You’ll become more assertive in the world, aware of your self-worth, and able to bounce back quickly after negative experiences. Keep doing the work. Keep journaling. Keep developing yourself and your ability to develop this emotional resistance and emotional fitness. 

Author: Angie Snow 

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