Feeling emotional does not need to be negative, stuffed down, or ignored. Recognizing, understanding, and expressing emotions is a part of daily living.
Emotional Resiliency & Agility
There has been so much work over the years trying to identify what “defines” a healthy emotional well-being. Despite the work that’s been put in, when we deal with certain situations– stressful, irritating, or even irrational– we treat ourselves poorly by defaulting to the statements we've been told over and over again by family or friends. Take your emotions out of it, use reason! Or, don’t be so emotional about it– whatever “it” is. They are an emotional wreck. Just be positive– like it’s that easy! Just let it go… and the list goes on. We should use our emotions to help guide our behavior, decisions, and relationships.
At Balanced Wellness we define emotional well-being in this way:
“The emotional dimension of well-being recognizes awareness, expression, and acceptance of one's feelings. It includes a positive and affirming growth mindset, with the consciousness that trials can be encountered BUT overcome. It involves building a support system and resilient attitude in order to combat negative self-talk, fear of failure, and other barriers that keep us from change.”
Emotional well-being IS feeling all the feelings, no matter where they fall on the spectrum. It allows range; from happy to sad; angry to appreciative; loving to hateful; and the list goes on. However, expressing them in appropriate spaces and ways is important! Find an outlet that fits you. Journal through your feelings and dig deeper, let them settle a bit, or talk to someone with a listening ear. To become resilient means to bounce back and grow from your emotions. Developing resiliency is also a part of total well-being.
In line with emotional resiliency is emotional intelligence and emotional agility. Very similar, yet different! Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage our emotions along with the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence was introduced by two American Psychologists, John Mayer and Peter Salovey in 1997. It is also commonly addressed as EQ (emotional quotient), allowing for measurement of the ability to understand and regulate with four arms of emotion – perceiving, understanding, managing and facilitating thought. Some would say that developing EQ is a soft skill that takes practice and is expressed in many ways.
More recently, psychologist Susan David identified skills and tools to get unstuck and embrace change. These skills and tools enable you to live a healthier life, with yourself and the world around you. Termed emotional agility, more emphasis is placed on being mindful of your emotions, accepting them, and making choices that align with your individual values. She offers this four-step process as a starting point for implementing behavior change initiated by an emotional response:
Be present. Feel your emotions and acknowledge them.
Take a step back. Create distance and see the situation more clearly.
Take action. Based on your own values and long-term goals.
Let it go. Accept your decision and go ahead.
As is the case in many well-being and leadership circles, we consistently see that connection prevails. We are fulfilled when we feel connected to ourselves and to others. As we bounce back from difficult situations and everyday challenges, we can implement personal strategies for success, using a variety of methods and tools to enhance our emotional awareness and agility around ourselves and others. Remember! Well-being is a journey….keep traveling! We are here to help you grow and offer resources.