5 Key Benefits for Emotional Resiliency
Emotional resiliency is a little-known superpower. Why? When we develop emotional resiliency, we are less susceptible to stress, chronic disease, and mental health conditions. Yet, isn’t it interesting that most people avoid their feelings and emotion? It is a part of our cultural conditioning. Have you ever wondered why, and what are the downsides to this behavior?
Ignoring and repressing emotion is a part of cultural conditioning.
I eventually figured out that our fear of our feelings totally weakens and disempowers us! Who knew! Weren’t we taught to ignore them, suck them up, hide them behind a smiling face, and of course, we have all heard that, “big boys don’t cry”, right? Then there is also, “cry baby”, if signs of sensitivity are shown. Wasn’t the repression of feelings the key to being strong and powerful?
I don’t know about you, but I surely bought into this deception hook, line, and sinker at one time in my life. In fact, it was the denial and fear of my feelings and emotion that truly – almost sank me. How does this happen?
First off, from a very young age we are taught to fear our feelings. We are shamed into denying them, and we have not been taught how to self-regulate them in a healthy manner. In fact, most people have an extremely limited vocabulary in regard to feelings. I’m still in the process of expanding my own. The following list is the extent of probably the vast majority of people’s vocabulary for feelings and emotions:
Occasionally I may hear emotional words like “excited” and “love” randomly, but not often in our mass media. I hear these lists of words all day long in the public world around me – online or offline when in the public purview.
I’m grateful to say that they are in general – except for happy – not common companions of my own – though they certainly were BFFs (best friends) at one time in my life – except happy. ????
It is also interesting to note the “low vibration” of most of the words on this list. What’s up with this? Do you realize that “e-motion” is referring to “energy in motion”? Why are we so stuck in such a narrow, unhealthy energetic feeling state of mind? Where is this all coming from and why don’t we hear more said about how important our emotional life is? At this point in human history, it is probably just a generationally perpetuated phenomenon.
I’ll take the health-related path approach to focus this article, because as a functional medicine trained physician, I know that our emotions are vitally important in the following ways:
1. They affect and strongly influence our susceptibility to stress
2. They affect our body’s physiologic responses to hormones, inflammation, and healing
3. They affect our mood which affects our sex life, our relationships and our motivation
In fact, if you live in a chronic emotional state such as in the above list – you most likely struggle through your day to deal with stress, burnout, and lack of passion.
We can’t touch our inner joy and enthusiasm when they are covered over by repressed fear, anger, and stress.
I find that most people do not realize just how much emotion influences their very being as a human. If you are a mammal, a human being – then you have emotion. There is no denying it. There can be brain damage to emotional centers that downgrade our empathy or emotional intelligence – which we witness in some world leaders in our times – but in general most people have normal functioning brain centers.
Since having emotions are a fact of life – why all of the fear around them and what can we do about it so that we can lead less fear-based, inauthentic, and unhealthy lives?
‘The mass of men (and women) lead lives of quiet desperation’
– Henry David Thoreau
Emotional resiliency is a skill set. It is not just going to happen because for one thing – we are conditioned out of it. Little children are taught language. Emotions are a type of language. We are going to have to put some effort into learning this new foreign language, and courage and an open mind are a requirement.
Here are some of the key benefits for developing emotional resiliency.
1. Inner Guidance System: Feelings and emotion are our guidance system to our intuitive superpowers. When they are denied and repressed – we are hard pressed to utilize many of our inborn creative talents and abilities. For us to have good mental health, we need to have a sense of empowerment. Our intuition helps us with our safety in the world and decision-making which affects our stress levels.
2. Connection to Our Authentic Purpose and Expression: We are systematically shut down in expressing our truth because – we are out of touch with our own heart and spirit! When we lose the emostional side of ourselves, we cannot fully uncover and discover who we really are at our essence.
We all have a right-brain intuitive gifting that is being lost when we suppress and ignore our feelings.
3. Ability to Self-Regulate Stress Skillfully: When we are out of touch with our feelings, we become trapped in the 3-D world of the five senses that keep us focused on fear, worry, excessive competition with others, and lack. Does this sound like our current state of affairs? I think so.
It was not until I started to have the insights that feelings were not my enemy and that I need to make friends with them – that I began to break free of the tyranny of stress and the urgent.
We are more susceptible to the list of commonly familiar emotions listed above – which means more stress, when we cannot skillfully self-regulate. We don’t even have in our social vocabulary very often, the feelings that lift up our spirits, release feel-good health producing biochemical reactions in our bodies, and help us to tap our inner genius to thrive. Emotional vocabularies and access to such feelings such as:
…. take a moment and feel how different this list makes you feel when you reflect on it than when compared to the list at the top of this article. Which way do you prefer to live your life?
4. Better Health, Less Chronic Disease: When we have less stress and more energy from emotional flexibility – our health will improve. We can make clearer decisions about what matters and is truly important to us – or not. We can get off the hamster wheel, and out of the “cult of busyness” and “shoulds” and instead tap into our feelings to turn on healthy gene expression and find the motivations to take better care of ourselves – we find a greater sense of a “future and a hope”.
5. Greater Passion and a Sense of Purpose: Here’s a little-known secret – we cannot tap into a default state of being that is joyful and inspired until we deal with the layers of “heavy” emotions that we have repressed over the years of our life. If we fear our feelings – we can’t address them. If we can’t address them – we cannot ever be free.
The path to emotional freedom and resiliency that is done in a healthy manner does require a mind-body-spirit approach. It is a lifestyle approach. It is a process and is not accomplished overnight. Some of the tools I have successfully used over the years that I taught myself by watching CD videos, listening to cassette tapes (that’s just how far back this goes for me), and reading were:
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) – now called Tapping
- Cognitive Behavioral self-awareness techniques
- Access those emotional parts of our self and transforming them – something I eventually learned was known as IFS Coaching/Therapy
- Mindfulness techniques and visualization
- Meditation and spiritual study and experiences
… cultivating a healthy lifestyle and making time for emotional self-care also included:
- Getting a regular good night’s sleep! – Rest and Restoration goes a long way
- Eating low sugar, nutrient dense, wholesome food
- Exercise that includes cardiovascular and low weight burst training
- Confidence building self-talk and releasing self-deprecating conditioned self-talk
- Exploring and reflection on my sense of purpose in life
Just as we need to nourish our physical body and our mind, we need to address our emotional health.
It is powerful. It can make or break our performance in life, impact our health and energy levels, and determines the quality of our relationship to both our self and to others. Our emotions affect our mind and bodies in ways that can support mental health or destroy our well-being. They can drive us to addictive behaviors or to self-sovereignty. Make us feel like victims or victors.
They are typically left out of the conversation which is tragic because they are so important to prevention of chronic disease, vitality, and motivation. Our mood affects our immune system. Taking control of stress, requires us to take back control of our emotions, making emotional resiliency one of the most important skills to learn in the 21st century.