GARETH FOX: A little bit of practising emotional intelligence will improve your health and fitness

GARETH FOX: New Year, new you... for longer than a week!

Gareth Fox

Gareth Fox


Gareth Fox

EMOTIONS are our body’s wisdom. They are our innate intelligence - signals or responses to our reality that we may not be conscious of.

They are an incredible gift, free wisdom - and yet one of the things we avoid most on a daily basis.

We push our emotions down, we eat them, we gamble, we drink, we drug them away. Why? Because they tell us something, and what they tell us can be extremely difficult to take.

A good place to start - when looking at our emotions - is that we wouldn’t be here without them. Take that feeling of fear, for example. It kept us from straying too far away from our tribe, so as not to be killed by a bear. That feeling of sadness at the passing of a loved one taught us to appreciate life.

These chemical signals within our body have enabled us to survive and prosper as a species. They are extremely important and so should receive our full attention and respect - but they don’t.

At some point along our journey, we became more frightened about what we were feeling than by the real dangers that where outside, and so we learnt to hide our emotions. However, when you push an emotion down it tends to grow stronger. The more you try to resist or ignore an emotion, the louder that emotion tends to become. And it’s usually not going to go away until we get the message. It is from not listening fully, or experiencing fully our emotions that addiction is born.

Moving away from painful feelings towards pleasure, on a regular basis. We are addicted to alcohol for what it stops us from feeling, drugs, gambling, TV, our phones, games, shopping, stealing. We are emotionally unintelligent. So how do we gain emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is made up of two components, emotional insight and emotional control. Emotional insight is becoming conscious of, accepting and learning from your emotions. It is sitting with whatever feelings you are currently harbouring and looking for what they are trying to tell you. It is seeking to develop a deep insight into what you are feeling and why you are feeling it. When anger pops up, feel it - don’t push it away.

It might be trying to tell you something important about how you are living your life. Listen to the emotions and look for the wisdom. Take a pen and paper and write down what you are feeling, and why you think you are feeling it. And when you have nothing left to write, write thank you and let the emotion go. Acknowledging, accepting and learning from our emotions is the key to emotional growth.

Emotional control is the ability to create the emotions that you want to feel in your life, on a daily basis. Emotional states can be created consciously, this means you can exercise control over the emotions you experience on a daily basis. You get to choose. By making a habit of doing certain things you create the habit of feeling certain emotions. There is a recipe for emotions; there is a recipe for happiness, joy, peace, tranquility, confidence.

You know which emotions you would like to experience on a regular basis, and you know how to create them. Again, take a pen and paper and write this down. If you aren’t intentional about your emotions then you leave it up to chance that you might experience them. And the reality is, the less intentional you are, and the more negatively balanced your beliefs, the more likely you will experience negative emotions as opposed to positive.

Of course, there are the inevitabilities of human life. Pain and suffering are part and parcel of what it is to be human. Nonetheless, if you have a plan in place of certain ‘pick-me-up’ activities which bring about the emotions that you most desire to feel, then the pain and suffering can be made more manageable.

Most long-term pain and suffering is caused by the inability to know how to move out of those emotions. By practicing emotional intelligence, by allowing yourself to feel your emotions, by listening to what they have to tell you and learning from them then you will be able to alleviate long-term suffering. Which will not only make you feel like life is much more manageable, but your health will improve greatly as a consequence.

The longer an emotions goes unfelt, and un-dealt with, the longer it has to make you ill. Anxiety unchecked creates all sorts of internal chaos with your organs and nervous system. So a daily practice of emotional intelligence will quite literally improve your health and fitness.

Your emotions are extremely important - more than IQ, your ability to handle your feelings will determine your success and happiness in all walks of life. For more information on how to improve your emotional life

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