You Need Emotional Strength to Be Healthy

Nov 16, 2017 mindpump

True Health spans far beyond the physical world: it encompasses the emotional, mental, and spiritual sides of ourselves as well.

What exactly is emotional strength? It is our ability to handle the day-to-day trials and tribulations and to bounce back after periods of deep struggle. We cannot avoid challenging times; they’re something we each face on a micro or unfortunately macro scale daily. But, it’s how we handle them that has the true impact on our wellbeing and quality of life.

There’s no denying that there is a huge correlation between our emotional and physical wellbeing. This is where the mind/body connection comes into play. I invite you to think about when you feel stressed or anxious. Typically, there is some physiological response to that undesired feeling state: maybe your heart starts to race, your breath shallows, or your palms get sweaty. Maybe over time you develop more serious conditions like high blood pressure, or stomach ulcers. Weak emotional health can also weaken your body’s immune system. There have been many research studies over the years that have proven that psychological stress and psychiatric illness can directly compromise immune system function. [1]

Simply knowing that there is a correlation between our emotional and physical states isn’t enough. There are things we can and should be doing to actively strengthen our emotional wellbeing. Below you will find my top 5 tips to help you on your way to emotional strength:

Tip #1: Learn to sit with your emotions

So often when we feel a way we don’t want to be feeling we tend to suppress it, rather than sitting with it. We think it’s wrong or bad to feel angry, or sad, or frustrated but these are equally as valid as feeling happy or excited. The point is to take control of the negative emotion, rather than letting it take control of us. The only way to do that is to acknowledge it, sit with it, and then this is where tip #2 comes into play, infusing self compassion.

Tip #2: Infuse self-compassion

One of the quickest ways to lessen the hold a negative emotion has on us is to infuse it with self compassion. We do this by talking to ourselves and saying something like “it’s ok that you’re feeling this way. You’re human and feeling [sad, angry, frustrated, etc] is part of the normal human experience.” It’s about not beating ourselves up for feeling a certain way, but reflecting on why we’re feeling that way in the first place, which leads to tip #3.

Tip #3: Begin to understand your emotions

Once we cultivate some awareness around our negative emotions, we can begin to understand why we’re feeling the way we are. Are you triggered by someone else’s actions or words? Oftentimes when we are triggered by someone else, it is a projection of something within us that needs to be resolved. Usually a negative feeling is associated with a negative thought, so by questioning our thoughts, we can then start to shift our feelings. This stems from “The Work” by Byron Katie (she offers some free worksheets to help with this work that I highly recommend checking out!)

When questioning one’s thoughts, I invite people to pause and ask themselves: is it true, is it really true? So let’s say, for example, you’re in physical pain and a limiting belief comes in the form of: “this pain will never go away.” I would invite someone to pause and ask themselves: is this true? Is this really unequivocally true? And most of the time, the answer is ‘no’ because nothing is definite, or you simply don’t know, which still isn’t YES. This can create some space and allow for a different possibility to enter.

Tip #4: Practice gratitude

One way to enhance emotional strength is to have a daily practice of gratitude. I’m sure you’ve heard of this before, but how many people actually implement this very simple practice on a daily basis? As humans, we are prone to something called the negativity bias. Back in the day we constantly had to scan the environment for threats and even though we’ve evolved as a species, this thought pattern has not. Our brains cannot distinguish the difference between a real imminent threat to our existence, and a limiting belief and negative thought we have. So, even when 5 good things have happened during the day, if one less-than-optimal thing has happened, we tend to fixate on that one thing that “went wrong.” However, practicing gratitude can help us move away from that mentality. At the end of each day, I encourage you to write down 3 good things that happened during the day that you are grateful for (they can be super simple) and the key is to also call to mind why they happened.

Tip #5: Reach out for help

If you’re feeling lost, or don’t know where to begin when it comes to implementing some of the suggestions above, reach out for help. I really think that everyone can benefit from working with a coach when it comes to mindset changes and building emotional strength, because it offers an objective voice outside the one in your head, so that you’re not experiencing those thoughts alone and see them from a new perspective.

Remember, similar to how building muscle takes practice, consistency, and effort, the same holds true for building your emotional strength. So don’t get discouraged! While it takes work, you will reap the rewards of a happier and healthier life by putting in the effort!

Study link:

[1] Effects of Stress on the Immune System. Kahnsari, Murgo, & Faith, 1990.

Author: Simone Krame

Simone Krame is a lifestyle coach and founder of Conscious Living & Lifestyle, a lifestyle coaching business that helps people achieve their fitness, nutrition, and spiritual/emotional goals by creating a synergistic relationship between mind, body, and soul. Simone graduated Cum Laude from the University of Florida with a Bachelors degree in Finance and concentration in Spirituality and Health. Simone is a Certified Primal Health Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, Balanced Bites Master Class Certified Practitioner, and has participated in a variety of mind, body, spirit courses, workshops, and webinars that, coupled with her life experience, allow her to be confident in her knowledge and approach to coaching clients.

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