Emotional fitness is achieved exactly the same way we obtain physical fitness: strength training. The same elements exist:
- A strong, personal desire for the fitness and it's benefits
- The right exercises and tools
- Consistency and commitment
- Making it a top priority every day
As in most aspects of life, to get one thing you often have to give up another. The same is true here. To be positive, you have to give up being negative. To feel good, you have to give up feeling bad. To have a rich, full life you have to give up living in a culture of fear and scarcity. To be joyful, you have to give up complaining. To own your life, you have to give up blaming. To be at peace, you have to give up judgment.
If you really want to strengthen your emotional well-being, the first step is to decide if, in fact, you really do want to be happy. I know how crazy that sounds. Of course we want to be happy! Doesn't everyone want that? Well, my experience with coaching and training has shown me that many of us say we want to feel better but aren't really willing to go the distance in mastering the skills. And we aren't willing to give up the habits of complaining, blaming, judging, gossiping, and negativity.
In our society, from the time we were little children, we've learned that we can get sympathy and attention from these behaviors. They have become our social norm. If you really want to feel better, you'll have to let go of those rewards. The good news is there are other (better) rewards from strengthening your positive emotional muscles. If you really are interested in feeling better and having a rich and happy life, You've got to have a new routine and be committed to it every day.
Over the next few weeks we will be building a list of 5 things you can do daily to gain strength, flexibility, and shed those extra pounds of heavy negativity that are weighing you down.
So, here's the start of your new "emotional fitness routine." This week, just work on this one item ... all week, every day, hour by hour. When you've mastered this one, (next week) we'll add another.
1. Stay present.
In your thoughts and your speech, practice staying in the present moment
. In other words, heighten your awareness of how often you worry about "what will happen" in the future, or feel disappointment, resentment, or other negative emotions about things that are in the past.
My good friend, Rob Flintom, has a tradition that he will never "toast" you and clink your glass without looking you squarely in the eye. What he's saying is he'll not just pass by the "toast" in a cursory way. He'll really be there. He'll really connect. He'll really honor this moment in time.
So, stay here. Right now. Feel the joy of being alive and having so much compared to so many in this world. Really FEEL this moment: at work, on the weekend, at the dinner table, hugging your child, talking to a patient. Really look them in the eye. Feel their energy and give them your full attention.
That's it. That's your only assignment for this week. Sounds easy, huh? Well, let me know how sore you are at the end of the first day -- and remember, no pain no gain! So keep at it.