We hear a lot about physical fitness and the importance of a healthy body weight with good diet. There is also a lot noise about mental fitness and adopting a positive mentality with work ethic. The least talked about and most neglected is our emotional fitness.
Our emotions are the truest barometer of well-being. It’s easy to hide behind a physically exercised body, and it’s easy to speak loudly with mentally tough sounding words, but without an authentic gauge on your emotional fitness; it comes from a weak will.
The most important quote I’ve heard in regards to our emotional well being is that “No amount of self-improvement can make up for lack of self-acceptance,” by Robert Holden.
Most emotional drainage I receive comes from thinking I should feel a certain way towards something when I do not, and then acting as if I do because of fear from shame. That creates a physical and mental routine that is simply too difficult to maintain over a lifetime.
I have adopted three practices that have kept me exercised with emotional fitness.
The first is reading. In school, I loathed reading because the academic wording was too calculated and politically written. I understand why, but it was just boring to the imagination. I like stories that allow your imagination to escape ‘reality’ for a positive release.
The second thing I started was writing. Some call it journaling, but I call it ‘alpha-expression’ to protect a vulnerable ego that is attached to masculinity. The bench press can not compare to writing as far as getting weight off of your chest. Plus, writing doesn’t destroy my shoulders.
The third thing I picked up on is meditation. This is key. A lot of folks talk about knowing how to keep focus, but the true test is to see how well they can cope with sitting idle in silence with only their thoughts to entertain them.
I’ve let go of the obsession that feelings should be ritualistic as I have exercised this aspect of my fitness. We don’t have to force how we feel or how others should feel towards us. We just have to be true to ourselves.
Trey Tompkins is a local citizen who writes fitness columns for the Record-Herald.