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What is Emotional Fitness?
Emotional Fitness refers to our ability to understand, use and integrate our emotions into everyday life. Like a muscle, our emotions need to be used in order to utilise their full capacity. The outcome of healthy Emotional Fitness is greater resilience, higher self-esteem, greater inner calm, self-trust and mental strength. This leads to higher levels of personal achievement and fulfilment in life.
Our level of Emotional Fitness is evaluated by our ability to feel, sense and integrate the full spectrum of all types of emotion. We can develop tools to be able to handle all emotions, rather than try to ignore, hide or cut off undesired emotions.
A common outcome of Good Emotional Fitness is a natural union between desires and outcomes. This is shown as more frequent good luck and an abilityto get what we want in life. Life flows with ease because we understand that our unconscious programming is the software creating our future performance limits.
Hence Strong Emotional Fitness, known as Emotional Fitness Flow is built on the following principles.
Inner Fitness Flow Principles
1. Alive Energy
Emotions are energy in motion. Understanding emotions and having the tools to be comfortable experiencing the full spectrum of emotions is important. We must identify unhappiness, anger or sadness and know how to integrate, express and validate such emotions without suppressing them.
This does not mean letting emotions take over. We still choose when to express them. Rather than the immediate outward expression of emotions, we can decide when it is appropriate to express how we feel. We have a choice as to whether we express our feelings privately or to other people. We should be open to feeling our emotions rather than trying to control or suppress them. But we can have control over timing. We can always choose when we want to be authentic in our outward emotional expression.
2. All is Feedback
Emotions are signals that drive our guidance. We must learn to recognise feedback from our emotions and make choices based on that feedback. All experience provides us with learning if we can see the bigger picture. Our unconscious beliefs determine our future performance and possibilities in life and we need to identify them. Even problems and challenges provide learning. These can be seen as constant feedback and an opportunity to learn, grow and change. With awareness, we can observe and let go of many triggers and change habits and the recurring negative patterns in life.
Our inner programming can be accessed via our emotions as the link to access our beliefs and software driving our life. Hence the limits of what is possible is decided by this programming which is a major influence determining our everyday choices. Too often we don’t get what we want in life, we get what our unconscious self and our inner programming creates. This is shown as repeating old patterns in life until we identify them and use them to change and grow.
3. Observer Awareness
We can observe our thoughts, our body and emotions without being them. For example, our emotions are not us, they are an important expression of us, but we can control them and choose our reactions. We can decide if we wish to empower or disempower them at any time. Mostly we empower them yet this is not always appropriate or suitable in some circumstances. Detached awareness, to stay open to any possibility, is the basis of ‘flow.’ By not being overly attached to any outcome, we can then move forward feeling focused, yet fully open to change.
4. Where Attention Goes – Energy Flows
Clarity builds success. If we are clear about our objectives we are much more likely to achieve them. But our intentions must feel right. Not only does this build passion but it also provides clarity of focus. It also requires detached awareness, to stay open to any possibility. By not being overly attached to any outcome, we can then move forward feeling both focused, yet fully open to change. This is the difference between intentions and goals. With intentions, we are not attached to only one outcome. Intentions may be less time-bound, as we trust our feelings, rather than logic, in defining our outcomes.
“Where attention goes – energy flows” is built on emotions becoming energy in motion. But we don’t need to try to disengage or disempower so-called negative emotions. While we should avoid expressing them publicly we must always acknowledge them and express them privately by using the Emotional Fitness Toolkit. This may be an entirely private expression of anger or sadness which helps us identify them to ensure these negative emotions do not keep recurring. Hence while all emotions are valid signals, we determine which emotions we want to grow and which ones we integrate for growth. We should identify the negative emotions and grow the positive ones to help us reach our desired success and outcomes.
5. Letting Go
As we build Emotional Fitness, this greater understanding builds higher levels of inner trust and self-knowledge. From this comes the ability to stop trying to force things, and learn to trust our instincts to allow things to flow and unfold in life according to our master blueprint. We should recognise the feedback. This will help to stop being motivated by fear and insecurity and become motivated by passion, inner trust and purpose which grows from knowing our inner selves.
Part of letting go is to find inner peace derived from our own thoughts. Emotions create thoughts so true inner freedom is letting go of an overactive mind and gaining greater Emotional Fitness in our inner stillness and clarity of focus. This applies with elite performance in sport as well as all aspects of life.
During mental health week earlier this year a number of All Blacks opened up about mental health and mental fitness.
The All Blacks are no longer expected to be gruff, stoic, hard New Zealand males, who don’t show emotions. Having the courage to speak honestly about emotions. To be authentic, vulnerable and open about their emotions are some important messages leading All Blacks have been sharing.
The statistics show that in New Zealand one in five Kiwis suffer some form of stress, anxiety and depression. Hence why is it so important to start talking more about this area and how we fell.
A wonderful site www.headfirst.co.nz defines that being mentally fit can mean different things to different people, but for most it’s about being able to live your life with freedom and enjoyment. Coping with life’s ups and downs, recognising your potential, adapting to change and achieving your goals, are all key factors to being mentally fit.
That site goes on to say that mental fitness is very similar to physical fitness. We train hard so that we can perform to the best of our ability. The same goes for our mental fitness. Making sure we have the skills and support we need to tackle challenges allows us to enjoy life more. Everyone has different ways of dealing with stress, as well as different amounts of stress they can cope with. The good news is that mental fitness is something everyone can grow and develop.
A core component and major aspect of mental fitness is our emotions, hence our Emotional Fitness is so important to both feel OK and also perform at our best in sport.
All Blacks TJ Perenara and Ardie Savea reveal battles with mental health
It wasn’t normal for our friends to talk on an emotional level. Once we started that it made things better. Not just our relationships but things at home. Ever since that I’ve realised how important it was to talk.”Ardie Savea, All Blacks flanker
If we compare Emotional Fitness with Emotional Intelligence what is the difference?
Emotional Fitness is a newer term. Many people know about Emotional Intelligence, yet Emotional Fitness a subset of the broader category of Emotional Intelligence.
As explained in the following table, Emotional Fitness is more focused on the internal use and expression of emotions. While Emotional Intelligence is also focused on external relationships, as explained below.
The definition of Emotional Fitness is our level or ability to fully understand and use our emotional capacity to achieve high-performance.
Like a muscle, our emotions only support us if we use them. Hence good Emotional Fitness refers to being fully aware and in-tune emotionally, able to express and feel the full array of emotions. Not just being positive, able to handle and beneficially use negative emotions. See last weeks blog post for an example.
Emotional Fitness refers to our ability to fully understand and use our emotional capacity to achieve high-performance.
Like a muscle, our emotions only support us if we use them. Hence good Emotional Fitness refers to being fully aware and in-tune emotionally, able to express and feel the full array of emotions. Not just being positive, able to handle and beneficially use negative emotions.
Research suggests real health benefits are associated with good Emotional Fitness, as well as inner confidence and self-esteem growth. In today’s video, Robert C Robertson defines Emotional Fitness and shares a personal example of emotional expression from a tennis match.
As more pressure and the shift in consciousness occurs in the world in 2017, are you attracting good or bad luck?
Some are really struggling more and seem to be attracting more disasters in life and business without knowing what to do about it.
My core belief is that we create our own luck. Is it Karma, or our unconscious programming? Well both I suggest but the only one of the two I can easily explain is the second, our unconscious programming creates our luck. This programming helps to create the events we attract in our life. For example, our conscious mind is between 4-10% of our capacity, with between 90-96% of our power in our unconscious mind. Yet our school system does not teach us the important facts about how our unconscious stuff creates our luck!
In the following blog post on my personal blog http://www.robertcrobertson.com/category/blog/ I share a true story about a client who attracts bad luck. This is based on the belief that success is not an accident because challenges are simply the feedback necessary to change and look at the learning from this occurrence. The head will always want to judge such events as bad, yet if we are fully present and follow our other intelligence, then we build a knowing, a self-trust which is an indescribable calm which we cannot analysis or conceptualise in the head. This is emotional fitness and the important feelings of inner-flow, inner trust.
See below link or click here to read the full post on what creates our good and bad luck.
Great informativeTVNZ program on how anxiety is growing in our youth and some great things that are being done to address it. Anxiety is a natural human reaction which most people experience at some point, yet normally people refer to anxiety as when it is an anxiety disorder, which can be debilitating, impacting our choices and reactions in daily life.
Anxiety can be shown as nervousness, fear, apprehension, or worry. When it is more severe, then it can affect how we feel and behave, and manifest in physical symptoms. Mild anxiety is common when challenged, which may be a general state of worry or fear before a test, examination, interview or new experience. While severe anxiety can be extremely debilitating, having a serious impact on daily life.
While some degree of anxiety is normal. Anxiety is considered a problem when symptoms interfere with a person’s ability to sleep or otherwise function. Generally speaking, anxiety occurs when a reaction is out of proportion with what might be normally expected in a situation.
The following video shows the full 17-minute program that appeared on the Sunday program. I loved the Wellington girls school initiative to reduce assessments in the early school years.
My own story around anxiety and emotions I share in the following TED-style talk in Auckland August 2017.
After only creating the site about a week ago, it is time to start talking about my often sad emotional fitness journey.
Sport has always been the great barometer of performance for me and my inner game with my huge hidden away self doubt. For so long self doubt has affected my sport, shown as real inconsistencies in tennis especially. Although the tennis form in 2017 has made a huge turn for the good, which will be my next blog post. Before this my sporting history had been common that I would play a freak game or few moments, then returning to the old mistakes again.
With rugby this was especially obvious. Aged in my early 20s, I was playing rugby for a Burnside social team in Christchurch, having previously played for the Lincoln University first 15 colts team. In was the local derby against our other Burnside social team. I had a blinder and was invited to train with the top club team as a wing. This was in the early days before moving to play open side flanker. The coach said I would do some off season training with their other key wing who was Steve J Cleave, he was somebody I followed on TV, as he played the next level up which was for Canterbury NPC team. As he was a well known local player, I was so excited. I had finally made it! Yet then self doubt returned over time and my belief I could even do it was lost again. Which was a consistent story of my sports career. Real highs and lows in self belief and self doubt.
Later the Rugby career highlight was certainly playing in-front of a big crowd in London for a NZ selection and the feeling of being admired and feeling that I had made it was something money can never buy. Certainly my life highlight that feeling of the huge crowd watching us play.
Yet soon after that my self-doubt took hold again and manifested in a different with overtraining. It was being part of the North Rugby 1st Grade squad a professional team in Sydney. I explain the story in the following video in a talk.
So as I reflect now in 2017, and my work assisting as a mental skills coach of professional athletes, I know that top professionals often don’t have self doubt. Some do but not normally in their area of sport. Hence now I have learn the techniques to let go of so much self doubt, life and sport feel very different indeed. That is the exciting story and why I love to help others make the move form fear and doubt to find flow.