Emotions are a fundamental part of being human. Anger. Jealousy. Joy. Sadness. Grief. Contentment. Love. All of these emotions help you respond and interact with life and living. They impact how you think and behave.
To understand and appreciate the importance of emotional self-care you need to think about what life is like when you neglect your emotional health.
Emotional self-neglect will often result in you being held captive by your emotions.
- You allow others to control you by causing you to react emotionally rather than choosing how you want to respond.
- You are easily angered. Sometimes you find yourself getting angry and you are not even sure why.
- Your mood and focus are easily changed just by the mention of someone who hurt you decades ago.
- You procrastinate because you depend on your emotions for motivation, which means you do only what you feel like doing. In reality, we do most things because we have to, not only when we feel like it.
- You do not know how to appropriately express your emotions so you keep them bottled up. Then you explode and everyone within distance gets hit by shrapnel from the fallout. On the flip side, you never express your emotions so you become depressed and angry with life and everyone around you including yourself.
When you pay attention to your emotional self-care you will discover you are more in control of the choices you make and the overall direction of your life. Here are some suggestions for attending to your emotional self-care.
- Acknowledge you have many emotions. Emotions, regardless of which emotion it might be, are not the problem. You were created with ability to experience emotions. Therefore, it is vital that you acknowledge and allow yourself to experience the emotion you are feeling.
- Learn how to express your emotions appropriately. Own your emotions. For example, don’t say you make me angry; instead say, “I am angry.” In this way you are not giving up control of your emotions to someone else. Rather you are acknowledging that you own what you are feeling. Learn to express your emotions without disrespecting, putting down or embarrassing others.
- Forgive past hurts. When you hold on to past hurts, you remain a prisoner of the one who hurt you. You may or may not have been able to prevent the hurt in the first place, but you need not allow the hurt to continue. Forgiving the past is not about the one who hurt you; it is about emotional self-care for you to move on emotionally.
- Learn to identify the triggers to your emotions. For instance, what makes you angry? What makes you happy? What makes you feel peaceful and calm? When you can identify those triggers, you are better able to control your emotions rather than be controlled by them.
- Don’t be afraid to seek professional help if necessary. Some of your emotional wounds can be so deep that you need a professional. Fear, anxiety, anger, resentment and depression can be so deep that you may need the help of a counselor to work through them.
I have discovered emotional self-care is one of the most difficult challenges for me to keep working on. I find it a lot easier to give in to what I am feeling rather than to step back, acknowledge and assess what I am feeling, and then choose the appropriate response rather than just reacting.
How are you doing with your emotional self-care? Are you emotionally aware of how you respond, or are you blaming others and circumstances for your emotional state? I want to encourage you, begin right now to be intentional about your emotional self-care.
If you would like help in achieving your goals as a leader or in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.