5 Tips to Improve Your Emotional Fitness
Counselling should push you and test your limits, and help you understand your strengths and vulnerabilities. It may be uncomfortable and exhausting at times, but in the same way a good work out feels good physically, a good psychological workout can be deeply, emotionally satisfying.
There are many obvious benefits to being physically fit. Movement and exercise are good for us, and an active lifestyle is commonly recognized as a healthy goal. Our bodies are the vehicles we use to move through the world, and it makes a lot of sense to have our vehicles in good shape. This does not mean that there won't be any challenging roadways in life, but a well-maintained vehicle will better equip us to handle the twists and turns along the way. However, as well as physical fitness, emotional fitness is just as important to our life satisfaction, if not more so.
As a therapist I have often equated good counselling to a good physical work out. Counselling should push you and test your limits, and help you understand your strengths and vulnerabilities. It may be uncomfortable and exhausting at times, but in the same way a good work out feels good physically, a good psychological workout can be deeply, emotionally satisfying. Much like having a personal trainer for your physical fitness, having a personal trainer for your emotional fitness can assist you in moving towards your goals more quickly.
Physical exercise and fitness pays off is many ways. We feel better, we have more energy and we move with more ease through the world. If we have a deeper understanding of our emotions and ourselves, then we can also move through the world with a greater ease and a much deeper satisfaction in our relationships. Increased emotional awareness results in a better ability to navigate the complex terrain of personal relationships and self-knowledge. So even if we do not have a counsellor, or as I like to frame it a personal trainer for emotional fitness, there are ways to increase our emotional fitness and health.
It is best if you can be honest about your level of emotional awareness even before you begin to try to develop your emotional fitness. Much like there are 'natural' athletes, there are some people who are just more emotionally aware. Do you think that you are naturally emotionally intelligent...or do you have to work at it? The world is diverse, and we all come into the world with strengths and deficits. Our environment pulls some things out of us and suppresses others. The rising field of epigenetics studies the phenomena of how our genetics and our environment work together to shape us. The world needs a variety of people and some people have a more natural and intuitive sense of their emotional space in the world while others struggle to understand themselves and others. It is the same with the physical self; some people just come into the world wired for athletic ability while others have to work hard to build physical fitness. This is not always fair, but it is reality.
So how do we increase our emotional fitness? Relationships are at the core of the...