December 23, 2011

Are You Emotioally Out of Shape ? Here's a Check List to Help You Become Emotinally Fit


Emotional Fitness: A Check-List to Help You Get into Better Emotional Shape

Are you emotionally out of shape ?  It's ironic but, as we come to the end of the year, many folks worry about their physical condition.  They resolve to lose weight or get into better shape.  Very few spend as much time paying attention to their psychological shape.  In fact, many folks aren't even aware that there is anything that can be done to improve one's emotional fitness.  

The good news is that there is a lot that can be done and today we're going to talk about it. We'll review the essentials of emotional fitness and provide a handy check-list to help you both assess what kind of emotional shape you're in and get you started to being more emotionally fit.

What It Means to be Emotionally In and Out of Shape


Emotional health is having the capacity to be balanced, strong and flexible in one's responses to life. It means having the ability to change one's responses to what is adaptive and realistic in a given situation.  Likewise, being out of shape emotionally  is when one is stuck and can only respond one way.  The concept of getting back into emotional shape means to develop or restore one's psychological balance, strength and flexibility.  

How to Asses and Improve your Emotional Fitness

Step One: Assessing Your Needs. The list of emotional characteristics can be a psychological map.  By going through each element on this list and asking yourself how well you do with each, you will get a picture of what specific areas need work, i.e. identify responses which are stuck or don't work.  For example, do you generally find it hard to relax?  

Step Two: Becoming Conscious
Once you realize what your problem areas are, you can learn to pay attention to them and intentionally make a conscious effort to change.  Although one's initial reaction to a situation may be stuck, one can learn to consciously reassess and override such automatic reactions.  

Step Three: Practice
While you may not be able to completely erase deep seated tendencies , ( and this is the good news), you can learn to not be controlled by them.  With practice, the actual response you make will be the result of a conscious choice not an automatic reaction. Over time, the more you work at it, the better you will get at  interrupting your reflexive reactions and replacing them with more adaptive and positive actions.

Ten Essentials of Emotional Fitness

1.  Self-esteem, Confidence and Acceptance.     
2.  Humility and Gratitude.

3.  Being Self- Reflective and Planning Ahead.
4.  Spontaneity and Action.

5.  Goal Directed work.                       
6.  Leisure and "Down" Time.               

7.  Self-Care.                                 
8.  Concern for Others and Belonging to Relationships.

9.  Awareness of and Commitment to what you Believe and Value.               
10.Open Mindedness and a Desire to Learn, Adapt and Grow.  

These remarks were prepared by the Rev. Michael Heath, LMHC for Bridge Street 12 23 2011

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