Your feeling can’t hurt you, no matter how scary they are.
Are You and/or Your Teen Emotionally Healthy?
It’s unfortunate that when most people refer to “Emotional Health”, they are actually referring to the lack of emotional health.
I hear people saying things like, “They have some emotional health issues,” or, “They are struggling with emotional health.”
But, who actually knows what emotional health is?
When I ask teens, “What do you think Emotional Health is?” they usually tell me one of two things. Either, #1 “It means you’re happy all of the time,” or #2 “You struggle with depression and anxiety.”
The truth is, neither of these is an example of emotional health.
I teach that Emotional health is the ability to experience ANY and ALL emotions and identify and process them.
Notice how emotional health has nothing to do with being happy all of the time? Notice also, that emotional health doesn’t rule out uncomfortable emotions like depression and anxiety?
Emotional health means that you are capable of experiencing the whole range of emotions, from happy to sad, from excited to bored out of your mind.
Being able to experience any and all emotions is the first step in being emotionally healthy.
The second part is being able to identify and process the emotion.
This is as simple as being able to identify the emotion, understanding how it feels in your body, and exploring why you are feeling it or what thoughts are creating that emotion.
So, how emotionally healthy are YOU?
Are you able to experience any and all emotions?
Are you able to identify and process your emotions?
If so, no matter how many uncomfortable emotions you experience, you have emotional health.
What Are Feelings and Emotions?
Feelings and emotions are energy and vibrations within your body. They can be uncomfortable, but they cannot physically hurt you.
Here are some examples of how we identify emotions in our bodies; “I’ve got butterflies in my stomach,” or “I’m having cold feet,” or “It took my breath away,” and, “I’ve got the weight of the world on my shoulders.”
Emotions are simply energy in your body.
Your emotions are created by your thoughts.
Sometimes it can be scary to experience feelings.
Much of what we do as human beings is in an effort to avoid feelings that we don’t want to feel, like embarrassment, shame, guilt, boredom, and sadness.
The thing is, none of these feelings can actually physically hurt us.
They’re simply uncomfortable.
Sometimes we avoid scary feelings like we might avoid an unknown animal in the woods.
Imagine that you’re walking through the woods at dusk. Imagine that there is just enough light that when you turn to look behind you, you see two eyes glowing in the darkness of the woods behind you.
Instantly, you are filled with fear.
“What if it’s a tiger, or a bear, or worse, a dragon.”
So, you take off running. Avoiding whatever is behind the eyes.
If you’re like most human beings, you have done this with scary emotions sometimes.
You feel this scary feeling coming on.
So what do you do?
You avoid it, resist it, or react to it.
Emotions Aren’t As Scary As We Fear
Let’s look back at our imagined scenario of creepy eyes in the woods.
I live in Utah, so the chances of those eyes belonging to a tiger are pretty slim. I’ve never seen a bear up close in the wild, so this is pretty slim too. And, I’ve been told that dragons don’t exist, so it’s not going to be a dragon.
It’s way more likely to be a rabbit, a deer, or some other harmless animal.
The same is true about scary feelings.
It’s never as bad as we fear.
In fact, sometimes the very emotion that you are trying to avoid isn’t even the emotion that you end up experiencing.
Embarrassment and shame are two emotions that I try to avoid at all costs.
The thing is, when I allow them and experience and process them, they’re never as bad as I feared.
In fact, sometimes while I process the emotion, I begin to realize that the emotion is actually fear itself rather than embarrassment.
Developing Emotional Health for YOU and Your Teen!
Today, it seems like everyone wants to improve their emotional health or their teen’s emotional health.
It’s become kind of a buzzword.
I want to share with you some simple things that YOU can do to improve your own emotional health and how this will impact your teen’s emotional health.
First of all, you have no control over your teen’s emotional health, but you do influence their emotional health.
So, if you want your teen to improve their emotional health, improve your own and trust that that will have a positive impact on their emotional health!
I want to invite you to practice experiencing ANY and ALL emotions that come your way!
Practice identifying them.
Process them. Understand where you feel them, and what they feel like, and what thoughts create these feelings.
By transforming your own emotional health, you will be helping your teen be prepared to experience scary feelings with the same hope and confidence that they see from you!
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