What does it mean to be emotionally healthy?
We all know that it would mean controlling our emotions and our behavior when needed. As well we know that it means being able to handle life’s challenges, build strong relationships, and recover from setbacks. But do we spend time to analyse and observe our emotions? Especially when they negatively affect our lives?
I noticed that in majority of cases we tend to repeat the same mental habits, something that our brain learned once and its hard to change, so we continue to act as usual, although it does not lead to the results that we want, we continue the same path again and again. Our strict or cold reactions to others, our inability to listen or high expectations to others lead to frustration and disappointment. However what is the hidden cause of every negative emotion? Once we are conscious about it we can start changing our mental habits.
Just as it requires effort to build or maintain physical health, so it is with mental and emotional health.
I remember in one of the workshops that we had with a group of coaches we were asked to choose the emotion we would like to work on. I invite you to make the same exercise, just choose the emotion that you would like to analyse – normally your would choose a negative emotion, for example frustration, sadness, anger, loneliness and so on.
Do you have it?
As an example for this exercise lets choose anger. Remember last time you had this emotion and it had negative effect on you and on any of your relationship.
It turns out that before you express or feel the emotion, there is a bunch of hidden patterns that causes this emotion, in this case anger.
First question that will help us to find the hidden reason of our negative emotion is the following:
What happened BEFORE I felt angry?
Maybe you had some expectations that were not fulfilled by other person. As a result you are not happy, because you did not get what you want. This is clear, right?
What is what I really need?
In majority of cases there is always our hidden need, such as need of attention, need of being taken care of, need to be understood and so on. What is that you expected to happen or other people to do in this case?
Why this is so important to me?
This is the key. Why do I care? Is it really worth it? Maybe we put too much attention and energy to something or someone that is not worth it? For example maybe we expect too much from the person, whom we don’t know so well? If so, why do we care about someone who is not even close to us? On the other hand, if this is important for you, then the following question is:
What could I have done differently, so the entire situation change?
If it matters to you, what could be your actions that would change this situation? Maybe we concentrate a lot on getting, instead of giving. Expecting others to take actions, instead of acting? Maybe we feel lonely or angry, because we expect others to call us instead of picking up the phone and let other person know that we care as well?
Will communicating this to another part will change the matter of things?
Again, if this is important to you, it might be worth communicating it to other, so other person takes this into consideration.
Our emotions keep us alive. However if we do not understand what is happening, where this anger, loneliness or sadness is coming from – we will continue to repeat the same mental habits, the same negative emotions will appear in different situations.
Very often we do not communicate things to others, so we live in our little worlds where other people have no idea about what is happening with us. However we feel frustration, loneliness, sadness and anger, and as result we become distant from that relationship. As a result we loose people. Because others are not aware of the situation and thus cannot change anything.
It is important to know the route cause of your emotion. Why do I feel like this?
It is important to communicate this to others, if we care.
It is important to listen to ourselves, to respect and understand our emotions.
As Dalai Lama once said, just as we practice physical hygiene to preserve psychical health, we need to observe emotional hygiene to preserve a healthy mind and attitudes.
How often do you analyse your emotions? Do you try to change any of your mental habits?
Wishing you a great week ahead, full of emotional awareness and health!