In helping people achieve sustained fitness and weight loss, we have found that unaddressed emotional states can present an enormous barrier. When emotions are not confronted, managed, and addressed, they can lead to unhealthy coping strategies rooted in avoidance such as emotional or stress eating, over eating, excessive food restriction, or other destructive behavior. The following Seven Steps provide a tool for how to manage, and ultimately liberate ourselves from, unwanted emotional states.
1. Identify The Feeling – This first step is the foundation of emotional intelligence. Many times we become stuck in our emotions. The way out is to start with identification of what we are feeling.
2. Face The Feeling – In this step we access the power of choice in deciding to face our emotions head on. This may seem overwhelming. Yet, the fear of facing emotions is usually more daunting than the actual experience of directly confronting emotions. So, gather your courage, take heart, and face those feelings!
3. Healthy Expression – Finding healthy forms of expression is key. Becoming appropriately assertive, setting healthy boundaries, and talking through feelings are just a few examples of healthy expression. Journaling and the arts (poetry, creative writing, singing, painting, playing an instrument) can also be extremely helpful. Find what works for you.
4. Learn From It – This is the crux of Emotional Mastery. With uncomfortable emotions such as fear and sadness, we tend to hold these feelings at bay. We often believe that if we truly examine our difficult feelings, we will be overwhelmed. The opposite is usually the case. Try taking the time to learn from unwanted and uncomfortable feelings. Some of our greatest personal lessons are waiting to be discovered here!
5. Take Action – Learning is useless if we do not choose to apply it. Take the lessons you have learned in Step 4, develop a plan, and take action to follow through. This is where you have the opportunity to take concrete steps towards the life you want.
6. Let Go – Letting go of unwanted toxic emotions is a decision. We have the ability to decide what we will do with our feelings. Once you have thoroughly worked through the first 5 Steps, you are now ready to take the leap and let go. Once you make the decision, you may experience instantaneous relief, or it may take repetition of the previous steps to feel the long term effects of liberation. Keep working these steps and it will pay off!
7. Pay it Forward — Paying it forward is the final crucial step to Emotional Mastery. Here we have the opportunity to deepen our own understanding and healing by sharing what we have learned. Reaching out also supports shifting our focus to helping others, which is a great way to celebrate the emotional release that comes with Emotional Mastery.
To get the most out of this process, we highly recommend coupling use of this tool with guidance, support, and accountability from a trained professional. The coaches and counselors at The Greater You, Inc. stand ready to help you experience the full benefit of Emotional Mastery through our one-on-one sessions, workbooks, and group teleclasses. For details, and to obtain a free copy of the full 7 Steps article, visit www.thegreateru.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Kwinten Kemp, LPC, CWMS, President, The Greater You, Inc.
& Melissa Rourke, Lead Body Appreciation Coach, The Greater You Inc.