Emotional Fitness

Emotional Fitness: Life presents difficulties, so learn ways to overcome them

By Barton Goldsmith
Ventura County Star, Sunday, April 26, 2009

When emotional pain hits, one of the best ways to deal it is to meet it head on and talk out the  feelings. That’s why good support from another human being helps our hearts. If there’s no one to talk to, writing also is a great way to release some of your inner anguish.

The point here is that the one thing you don’t want to do is hold your pain in. You need to find constructive ways of releasing your hurt without injuring yourself or anyone else.

For some, taking a drive, exercise, reading or meditation is helpful. Others need to process their pain verbally. Whatever way works for you is the one you want to try, but if it doesn’t do the trick, it’s OK to try something different.

There are numerous methods. Some are new, like visualization, positive psychology or guided imagery, and some are ancient, like acupuncture and massage. All have helped millions of people.

Over twelve years in health and fitness, as a massage therapist and during my experience as an acupuncture intern, many of the clients and patients I have seen have been seeking something to address emotional pressures in their lives. Some have been able to articulate this well, while others have struggled to define what led them to seek treatment other than some form of discomfort. I have come to believe that as a society, we have made a habit of overlooking and ignoring physical or emotional pressures in our lives in order to accomplish some goal, be it personal or professional.

I believe that one of the most helpful things we can do for ourselves is open ourselves to awareness not only that there are significant pressures influencing our daily lives, but acknowledging what those pressures are at a given moment. Through this acknowledgment, it is then possible to flow through the pressure and allow it to strengthen us in body, mind, and spirit; take steps to reduce the pressure; or seek help to face it as appropriate.

From personal experience, I know I do not always have the solutions to every challenge inherently within myself, and sometimes need to cultivate and seek the help from an extended personal network. I find this both from a personal perspective as well as a professional one addressing the needs of clients who come to me for treatment. I feel networking for health is every bit as vital, perhaps even more vital, than networking for business. Thus, I will always welcome new friends, clients, and colleagues into my network, and try to help others shape a network that is best to meet their needs.

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