Bob Rill, Chaplain
Emotional Fitness requires that a person to be proactive, paying attention to your own feelings and needs. Give attention to an honest (honest – there’s that concept again) inventory of your emotional stature. There is a theory that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, meaning that the things we do are triggered by a situation or event from our past that has brought a reaction to the surface for our current circumstance. As an example, when driving and someone pulls out in front of you, is your most common reaction an explosion of anger at being cut off? Do you want to rush ahead of the car that cut you off and shortcut them in an effort to get back at them? If that is your reaction most of the time, then that should be a red flag to you that you are less than fit in the emotional arena.
Other red flags that you should pay attention to are: guilt, regret, isolation from others, and dependence on stimulants such as Red Bull or booze. Using escape tactics like too much TV, comfort food and excessive sleeping can be further red flags, indicating a lack of confidence in handing your emotions. While the list is endless, you and I both know those things that we do excessively will have a long-term, harmful impact on our life.
Here are a few suggestions for a solution:
1. Make a pact with a friend that will tell you the truth about any offbeat behavior that you should pay attention to.
2. Keep a journal of your daily activity to see patterns of excessive behavior, such as work schedule, time spent watching TV or on the computer or gaming.
Most of us already know where we are on these issues but need help in discovering the root of the cause so we can make a change once and for all. Unless you are willing to go back to the beginning and decide what triggered your self-defeating behavior and then decide to change, you will never become the person you want to be and know you can become.
Emotional Fitness is worth the effort, but it requires honesty and deliberate attention to your bad behavior. No outside force can make you go there. It’s up to you!