Emotional fitness is the ability to deal with life’s challenges in a positive way. It means taking control over your choices and actions, and having the inner strength to be who you want to be. Becoming emotionally fit is important because it enables you to live at peace with yourself, your spouse, and those around you. By becoming emotionally fit, you will be able to resolve conflicts faster and avoid the sand traps of self-condemnation, anger, and resentment.
When the most recent economic crisis began in October 2008, society’s true Emotional Fitness began to show. Those who are naturally angry, became angrier. Those who are fearful, became more fearful. Those who saw opportunity, became opportunistic.
Do you see the glass half empty or half full?
Do you tend to see the negative side of situations, or the positive?
Do you constantly feel tense, and uptight, or relaxed and in-control?
You ability to control your thoughts and emotions plays a major part in your ability to control your life. As my mentor Jim Rohn once said, “The same wind blows on us all. What sets us apart is not determined upon the direction of the wind, but the set of the sail.” Your thoughts and emotions is what determines the set of your sail.
Are your goals to be healthier? To have a better marriage? Be a better parent? To be more successful in business?
Then a small adjustment in setting your sail can be the difference in accomplishing or not accomplishing your goals. According the the National Victim Assistance Academy, the easiest way to adjust to stress, or self-defeating thoughts is by adjusting your attitude:
“How you think can have a profound affect on your emotional and physical well-being. Each time you think a negative thought about yourself, your body reacts as if it were in the throes of a tension-filled situation. If you see good things about yourself, you are more likely to feel good; the reverse is also true. Eliminate words such as “always,” “never,” “should,” and “must.” These are telltale marks of self-defeating thoughts.”
One of my favorite motivators, Anthony Robbins, talks here on NBC’s “TODAY” show on motivation and emotional fitness:
You can improve your emotional fitness by strengthening your physical health.
Exercise regularly. Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress. Make time for at least 30 minutes of exercise, three times per week. Nothing beats aerobic exercise for releasing pent-up stress and tension.
Eat a healthy diet. Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress and emotions, so be mindful of what you eat. Start your day right with breakfast, and keep your energy up and your mind clear with balanced, nutritious meals throughout the day.
Reduce caffeine and sugar. The temporary “highs” caffeine and sugar provide often end in with a crash in mood and energy. By reducing the amount of coffee, soft drinks, chocolate, and sugar snacks in your diet, you’ll feel more relaxed and you’ll sleep better.
Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs may provide an easy escape from stress and negative situations, but the relief is only temporary. Don’t avoid or mask the issue at hand; deal with problems head on and with a clear mind.
Get enough sleep. Adequate sleep fuels your mind, as well as your body. Feeling tired will increase your stress because it may cause you to think and act irrationally.
Beyond a take-charge approach and a positive attitude, you can reduce stress and self-defeating thoughts in your life by nurturing yourself. If you regularly make time for fun and relaxation, you’ll be more emotionally fit to handle life when they inevitably come.
Healthy ways to relax and recharge