In order to understand what emotional fitness is, let’s use physical fitness as an analogy.
What is Physical Fitness?
Physical fitness is:
Physical Strength – the ability to pick something up, squat down, or be able to walk up a flight of stairs.
Physical Flexibility – the ability to get up off of the floor without using your hands or to get in and out of a car.
Physical Agility – the ability to move quickly and easily. Skiing moguls is a good example of agility.
What is Emotional Fitness?
Now, let’s transfer those characteristics to emotional fitness. There’s really no difference.
Emotional fitness is comprised of:
Emotional Strength – The strength to withstand and remain engaged during intense emotional situations without collapsing, exploding, or dissociating from them.
Emotional Flexibility – This means having a broad spectrum of emotional tools and responses in a variety of emotional situations.
The emotional flexibility to handle a confrontation, protect yourself or your loved ones, or to be tender and contactful with someone in need with an appropriate level of response. The ability to be compassionate with a child who needs to feel empathy, stoic in a courtroom under pressure, and receptive with your spouse. Not being locked in a rigid way of responding. But rather, possessing a broad spectrum of emotional tools and responses in a variety of emotional situations.
Emotional Agility – This is best described as the ability to switch quickly from one emotional situation to another. For example, emotional agility is the ability to deal with an aggressive client on the phone, then hang up and deal with your needy child. You want to be able to move from one emotional state to the other without getting bogged down. And if you can’t do it easily, knowing how to use tools to throw off that that emotional baggage you’re carrying from one particular situation or another.
So, emotional strength, flexibility, and agility. The foundational components of emotional fitness.
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