The goal of last week’s blog was to learn how to identify emotional weight.
To recap. Emotional weight creates stress, anxiety, fear, depression, a sense of chaos, or tension, so the way to recognize it is to notice its effects. The weight complies because you are being misled by your own voice because your voice has been hijacked by culture and upbringing.
When this hijacked voice takes over and you are unaware of its presence, you take actions in your day based on the dialog it presents.
Want to avoid adding any additional weight? The answer is simple. Do not take action from the hijacked voice, the impostor voice.
Smoking, drugs, gaining excessive weight, eating poorly all lead to an unhealthy physical body. Operating from the impostor voice leads to an unhealthy emotional body.
How I avoid gaining weight.
Here are the steps I take when I want to avoid putting on any more emotional weight. I want to be a healthy person emotionally and physically, but I do not always succeed. These steps are goals and, like physical workouts, they require daily attention.
Stop the flight/ fight cycle
I have compiled a list of six things I do, but there are endless other solutions.
- If I cannot see the situation differently, I change my body. I breathe from my belly several times. Yes, we are supposed to breathe from out bellies, not our upper chest. Begin from the bottom of your belly and breathe up towards your chest until you finish your breath at the top of your throat.
- If that does not work, I relax my eyes and move my shoulders because that is where my tension presents itself. If you hold tension elsewhere, then attempt to relax that part of your body.
- If that does not work, I do a forward fold. Sometimes I spend a very long time forward folding. By the way, I am VERY inflexible, so I bend my knees deeply. The point is to relax your head and neck and breathe deeply.
- If that does not work, I hug my son. He smells delicious and makes me happy. If you don’t have a child, a pet works too!
- If you don’t have a pet, find something that makes you smile. Or, just smile.
- If that does not work, I make every effort to say nothing. If you really need to get it out, yell at a squirrel or scream in a pillow then go back to the beginning of this section and try again.
All of these physical changes can slow down the mind, allowing space to consider another option or to do nothing.
After I have done the above as needed, I move on to these 6 steps to avoid packing on the pounds.
1) I stopped blaming and shaming – It is easy to blame others for my feelings. I cannot control other people. I can only control myself. I turn my focus on myself and ask what I could do differently to help this situation.
- For example, connect to the pain the other person is experiencing. Or, ask a question about their feelings. Say that you do not want things to go badly and ask what you can do to make things better and LISTEN to the response.
- Check out 7 habits for highly effective people. Being proactive is hard, but I try my best. Sometimes I get to the (emotional) gym and sometimes I do not.
2) I stopped reacting – I do not have to engage in other people’s emotional lives. Allow the person to have a full emotional experience and love them anyway. Take off the fix it hat and empathize. Often people just want to be heard.
3) I operate from my value system, despite what others do. I used to feel like other people’s behavior justified my behavior deteriorating. I was so convinced that something outside of myself was responsible for my feelings that I believed my story about the situation completely. I was emotionally obese.
- Now I operate from my value system, even when I feel justified not to. I took time to write down all my values and beliefs. What person I want to be and why. I want to be kind, loving, compassionate, giving, authentic, vulnerable, productive, safe, and supportive.
- When others are behaving in a way that activates my imposter voice, I come back to my intentions and attempt to operate from one of those places.
- If I fail, I fail, but no one made me fail. I just failed. I ate the pie. I gained more weight.
4) I tell better stories. I don’t believe my stories when they are negative and my body is filled with tension. I believed the stories I told myself were true when every indication in my body told me otherwise. I was stressed, tense and my thoughts were incredibly negative.
- I stop and listen to my imposter voice. I listen to the story it has created and attempt to think of another one.
- Maybe I feel a guy in traffic is a complete @#$@# for cutting me off. A new story could be that he has an emergency at home. Or, his wife is in the backseat about to deliver a baby.
- If I cannot think of a new story, I call a trusted friend. I explain the story and allow another perspective. Careful who you call. Many people will agree with you because they are operating from their impostor voice and the voices love to feed off each other.
5) My emotional pain is not personal. I am not ashamed about emotional challenges. If I found out that I had a medical issue, I would seek advice from a physician. If the tests discovered that I had a medical issue, I may be sad or scared, but I would not feel ashamed about the pain. Are you hot tempered? Do you take to the bed every time there is a small setback? It is ok, but it needs to be investigated and resolved. I like Agreement #2.
6) I get an emotional check up. I get a physical every year and I have a coach. I have emotional challenges and I will need emotional guidance as much as I will need physical care. When things get overwhelming, I seek advice.
If you are not happy with an area of your life, begin with creating awareness of your thoughts and stop acting from the impostor thoughts because they lead to impostor outcomes.
Next week I will focus on how to shed the emotional weight (finding your authentic voice).