The practice of emotional agility
A phone call can change the course of a day or a life depending on the content of the call. A text message can cancel a plan or end a relationship. A poor choice or a bad haircut can change the way people see you. So many things happen every day – big and small – and you are required to be strong through it all. Emotional agility helps you focus on love and keeps you moving in the right direction.
What does emotional agility mean to me?
Emotional agility is the ability to change the direction of your feelings so that you can keep moving forward with love. You can improve this skill with regular practice by accessing the loving energy of your heart – your joy, kindness, courage and calmness – a little bit each day.
How do we practice emotional agility?
For me, it is a practice of intention. To fully experience the moments of your life each day, you need to fully integrate your good emotions with your hard emotions. In other words, you need to flow with the good times and the bad times. Becoming familiar with the tension of opposites and the idea that two things can be true at the same time has been a game changer for me. For example, you can be in the sadness of losing someone while feeling the joy of having known them. Or, you can be in the stress of a big project while also finding space for a calm moment of meditation. Being able to identify when you’re in a hard, “heavy” emotion and then shift your focus toward a gentle, “loving” emotion is the practice.
What inspires my emotional agility practice?
My life inspires my practice. I experienced some hard knocks growing up. My parents struggled from divorce, abandonment, alcoholism, and depression. Over the years of caring for family members who were struggling, I identified four thematic emotions that can create chronic illness in human beings if the emotions are not managed with love and integration. These thematic emotions include fear, anger, sadness and stress.
I discovered that the ongoing presence of any one of these four emotions on the human psyche leads to chronic mental health conditions. For example, ongoing fear leads to anxiety, ongoing anger leads to aggression (and in many cases addiction), ongoing sadness leads to depression and ongoing stress leads to emotional immobility or breakdown.
Each of these “heavy” emotions creates energy in our bodies that can immobilize us if we don’t actively restore balance within ourselves by accessing “lighter” loving energy from our hearts.
I am inspired by the idea that we, as a society, are beginning to speak about feelings and emotions in a new and different way. We are shining a light on how the energy of emotions impacts illness and wellness. In the Western culture, we don’t often speak about the energy of emotion. For example, the heaviness of stress or the lightness of calm. Perhaps, it is because energy can’t be measured or analyzed in the same way we can measure a “range of emotions” or “levels of anger”; however, the energy of emotion is the very thing that guides our human experiences toward illness or wellness.
In my humble opinion, the only way we can sustain wellness in our minds, bodies and souls is by integrating the energy of our loving emotions into our daily experiences.
This week, I have two special book recommendations that can support the practice. First, Susan David’s new book, titled Emotional Agility, details the science and research that supports the importance of emotional agility in maintaining strong relationships. Second, my new picture book, Your Heart Compass, offers a technique that will help kids – big and small – to apply the emotional agility training to daily life.
As a show of love and gratitude, I am offering you a first look at Your Heart Compass and the first opportunity to pre-order a copy of the book! Plus, for the special little ones in your life, you’ll receive a fun pack of pins that are featured in the book!
Walking in your truth takes a lot of love, courage, and commitment. Thank you for showing up to do the training with me! This is the journey of strength, connection and well-being.
Next time, we’ll explore vulnerability.
Let’s journey together.