We all know that it takes effort to maintain our health. We have to eat good food, exercise, try to limit stress. The same is true for our marriages. It's easy to take our partners for granted, but doing so too easily leads to stagnation. Worse, we start to feel disconnected from the person we once felt closer to than anyone in the world. How does that happen, and more important, how can we prevent it? The good news is that the research is clear: simple actions and habits make an enormous difference.
Truths About Emotion
There are many common misconceptions about our emotional lives which can have a negative effect on us. What follows are truths to counter these and provide a more accurate and useful conception of emotional strength and resilience.
When we acknowledge how we feel, we can choose how we want to respond
Recognizing what we feel and waiting before we react, gives us freedom. Our emotions are then no longer our enemies to be controlled and defeated, but rather, necessary allies guiding us in making truly wise decisions.
Building Our Emotional 'Muscles'
Learning to tolerate powerful emotion without acting on it is a skill that can be learned. It almost always requires work and regular practice, but the effort is necessary for gaining true wisdom and deep joy. I liken it to exercise, particularly good strength training.
More and more we’re hearing about the importance of having strong core muscles. These muscles in the torso: back, abdominals, chest, etc. support the rest of our physical frame as we engage in all manner of activities.
Myths About Emotions
Many people struggle with emotions which feel overwhelming
and sometimes cause them to react impulsively. Others react by
withdrawing or shutting down. This reactivity can lead to problems worse
than the original cause. People often seek professional help when they
come to recognize that their method for managing their emotional
life isn't working. At that point they want to know, how can I
do this differently?