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Five Ways to Improve Your Emotional Fitness

November 19, 2017 | by Debbie Gutfreund

Practical tips on how to transform your emotions and live a happier life.

We can channel and transform our emotions way more than we think we can by implementing these five strategies that build the core of our emotional fitness.

  1. Change your physical demeanor. When you feel any emotion, notice what is happening in your body. For example, when someone is sad he typically has a slumped posture and speaks slowly and quietly. Even the breathing pattern associated with sadness is different from more positive states; when someone is depressed or angry he tends to take shallow quick breaths instead of deep, slow ones. Once we are aware of how we express our emotions physically, we can often change our moods from the inside out by breathing deeply, correcting our posture and even changing the tone and speed of how we are speaking. Going for a run can do wonders for our bad mood.

  2. Change your focus. What we decide to focus on in any situation creates our feelings. Do we focus on the problem or the solution? The gratitude or the lack? The mistake or all the things that we did right? What we can control or what we can’t? The more we look for things to be grateful for, the more blessings that we will see. The more we focus on what we can control, the more solutions we will find to deal with our challenges.

  3. Pay attention to the words you use. The language that we use (even if it’s only words we are saying to ourselves) to describe our lives and the world around us radically affects not only our perspective of life but the meaning that we ascribe to it. For example, what is life like for someone who describes it as ‘getting through the day’ versus someone who describes life as sacred? Compare describing life as a dance versus life as a test. Our language creates the emotional fabric of our lives and sometimes just changing one adjective can shift our whole mindset.

  4. Know your why. In order to understand and use our emotions, we need to know what motivates us to do what we do. What drives us? Once we understand our motivation (which is different for each of us), we can create a compelling future that harnesses the power of our why in life. Meaningful goals that leverage our emotional motivations allow us to consciously direct our feelings in constructive ways.

  5. Clarify your beliefs. We are all driven by a number of unconscious beliefs that create our sense of identity. These convictions are often not even our own; they have been programmed into us by society. We live according to what we believe we are. If we believe that we aren’t enough, then nothing we achieve will ever make us feel like we matter. If we believe that we are “an angry or depressed person” then we will search for and find reasons to affirm that identity regardless of what is actually happening in our lives. If we instead identify with the part of us that is calm and happier and believe that we are merely feeling angry or sad for the moment, then our positive identity will prompt us to seek out people and ideas that will reinforce our identity as a generally happy person.

Each of us comes to this world with unique gifts and incredible potential; our emotions are tools that we can use to help us share those gifts with the world. But we need to harness their power and control their direction. Try using these five strategies to thrive and work on building the core of your emotional fitness. Our feelings are too powerful to waste and our lives are too precious to live without using all the gifts that we have been given.

*Many of these ideas are based on the work of bestselling author and speaker, Tony Robbins

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