You can break the vicious cycle…
If you are new to these Weekly Reminders you might like to know that your subconscious mind is accountable for 90% of your daily decisions. If all you do is read this blog (but put nothing into practice), you are already sending a positive message to your subconscious mind. Congratulations! The more similar messages it gets, the better decisions you will make.
Putting emotional intelligence into action
Do you or someone you know experience negative emotions that come from chronic stress, loneliness, depression, and lack of sleep? Research by Steven Kohl, a psychologist and molecular biologist (which is a pretty rare combination of specialties), has shown that these types of negative emotions change the gene expression in our immune systems. This makes us more vulnerable to whatever chronic disease is in our genes. It also makes us more vulnerable to any virus that is in circulation.
The good news is that by developing our emotional intelligence, we can improve gene expression while protecting our immune system.
Our emotions are nothing more than messengers. They play the very important role of letting us know that we have an underlying need that requires our attention. It is easy to brush the emotion off by breaking open a big chocolate bar or repeatedly sinking your hand into a bowl of buttery popcorn. But this just creates a vicious cycle. The best approach is to focus in on the emotion by following these steps (inspired by the work of Margaret Moore and Daniel Goleman):
1. Notice your emotions
Notice what emotions you are feeling. Name them. The more specific you can be the better.
2. Accept your emtions
Accept that a part of you is feeling x, y and z. When you see the emotions as belonging to “a part of you” rather than identifying with them as your whole self, it will be easier to detach and see them for what they are: messengers of unmet needs.
3. Allow it to be heard
The better your blender the better the consistency of your smoothies.
The next step is to practice self-compassion toward the part of you that’s feeling x, y and z. You can do this by giving yourself a 20 second hug, asking someone else for a hug, listening to some relaxing music, going for a walk, doing a brief meditation, or any other activity that brings you back to the present moment.
5. Remember you are not alone
Remember that at any given time, there are thousands, if not millions of people who are likely grappling with the same sorts of emotions. You are not alone, you are not any more imperfect than anyone else, you are simply human and all humans are constantly learning and growing. We are all beautiful beings despite our flaws, despite our circumstances.
6. Reflect on your emotions
Once you are free from the grip of the emotions, reflect on what messages they brought to you. What learning or wisdom did they deliver?
7. Change your focus
Now change your focus to the things that you are grateful for, the things that make you feel positive. For every negative emotion, name three positive emotions.
These steps will interrupt the vicious cycle while protecting against the effect that negative emotions have on your immune system. But if the root cause was chronic stress, depression or insomnia, you need more than emotional intelligence. Stay tuned for a future post on the relationship between these problems, adrenal fatigue, and your gut. Meanwhile, remember that getting enough of the good stuff is more important than cutting out the bad stuff.
Have a smarter day, a smarter week and a smarter life,
A love note from your future self:
The idea of giving yourself a 20 second hug is no joke!
Give it a try and imagine that you are giving it to me (future-self). Be sure to let out a deep sigh at the end of the 20 seconds.
Ahhhhh, that really did feel good. Thank you.
Love, from your future self.
Health Disclaimer: The content contained in this email is for educational and inspirational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health care professional. Do not disregard, avoid or delay obtaining medical or health related advice because of something you may have read on this email.