I’ve always viewed the number eleven ~ written numerically~ (11) as a type of doorway that one can walk through; a portal of sorts. Whenever its 11:11 on the clock, or 11/11, I take a moment to imagine that if I were to walk through a magically appearing door, where would it lead me? Yep, visionary people like myself can get a little strange like that…and maybe I lost you already? or maybe you’re intrigued, like…where is she going with this? (I wondered that myself too there for a minute, but here it comes…)
So…today I was doing my usual walk at the gym and was thinking about what I would write on day 11. When I let my mind wander into the thought of 11, I realized that today’s self love challenge was asking me to go a little deeper with you all than the surface stuff. I mean anyone can turn off their cell phone for a few hours, or give praises to themselves when prompted, bake cookies etc..but the real self love work is an inside job, its not external. Day 11 presented itself like a door/portal where one would look inward at themselves..kind of like being able to open a trap door on the side of your head and step inside your brain to see how things are all going in there. How is it going in there? Everything ok?
I started introspecting and asking myself questions like, is my hippocampus all good?….are my emotions regulating well?
What about that pituitary gland…are my hormones functioning as they should?
Oh and that amygdala; is it triggered? Am I using my mammalian brain right now?
Just as I was thinking these thoughts, the words EMOTIONAL HYGIENE popped into my mind, which reminded me of the words EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE and EMOTIONAL IQ…are you following this train of thought?
In that spirit, todays self love challenge post is all about emotional hygiene. Here’s the truth, we think to care for ourselves by brushing our hair, flossing our teeth, putting on makeup, dressing ourselves well…but how much thought do we put towards our EMOTIONAL hygiene? When all of our self care efforts are going towards our physical self (outer shell) there’s is oftentimes not a whole lot of attention getting paid towards the emotional self (psychological health). So lets balance that out today shall we?
Today’s self love challenge is all about assessing and observing how we’re doing in the emotional IQ department. Here’s a question for you. When was the last time you’ve adopted a new habit to better your psychological health? I know when I break a bone, I get that checked out ASAP by a doctor, yeesh, thats an EMERGENCY right?!!! but what about when my heart feels broken because of a relationship that didn’t go well? Yeah, we don’t tend to rush ourselves off to the ER for that do we?
Lets think to ourselves for a moment…
Do I handle rejection well?
Do I ruminate over negative thoughts?
Do I have negative self talk or body image?
These are all some great beginning questions to ponder to start getting that emotional hygiene in tip top shape. Want to know more?
Here are three effective ways you can start to think about your emotional IQ and practice some emotional hygiene, cause we don’t want things to be all messy in that brain of ours do we?
- Slay those negative thoughts~ Maybe someone said something not kind to you, or you failed a math test, or you forgot to do something really important and you feel like a dunce. Ok, so that feels distressing right?! We can all feel distressed when life doesn’t go our way. Well, thats one thing, and its common, but sometimes we can take that stress to another level with this thing called~ RUMINATING. Yep. Ruminating is when our negative thoughts become repetitive and don’t stop. When we keep the negative feedback cycle going to our brains, we’re no longer problem solving. We are in essence putting ourselves at risk for clinical depression. In order to stop this pattern we must BREAK the cycle of negative thinking. So how do we break that pattern? Well first thing is to strap on a ninja suit grab a sword and SLAY that shiiiiii… (ok I won’t swear) but you know what I’m saying here, truly ninja suit aside, in order to slay those negative thoughts, we need to SLOW DOWN enough to notice they’re even there….you know, bump up that self awareness and all…. which brings me to #2
- Take a breather~ Did you know that when you’re amygdala starts freaking out from a perceived threat, the hypothalamus activates the sympathetic nervous system and released adrenaline…at that point your reptilian brain has complete control over your thoughts/actions which leaves your reasoning part of the brain (frontal cortex) basically paralyzed…until that is you CALM YOURSELF DOWN. To be more precise, it actually takes your brain 20 full minutes to flip its switch back to the reasoning brain after a freak out. So..moral of this story, when you’re triggered, DO NOT RESPOND…instead remove yourself from triggers for 20 minutes so that you’re reasoning brain kicks back in and you can make clear decisions. Some ideas for what to do in those 20 minutes? Listen to music, go for a walk, practice deep breathing, count the number of floor boards on your floor…it doesn’t matter what you do really, as long as the intention is to take a breather, calm down, and get your brain refocused.
- Pay attention to how you fail~Every single person reading this has made a mistake, (like all the typos I keep having to correct of mine) there is no way around making mistakes. The reality of mistakes is that without them, your brain doesn’t grow. Truly, mistakes are beautiful things, they help our brain to develop a network of synapses that make us more intelligent. The sad part is that when we fail, what is the usual response we feel? Well, like crap right? We feel low about ourselves, its instinctual on some level. Failure can make us focus on what we CAN’T do well, which inevitably creates a cycle where we don’t perform at our best, which makes us focus on all the things wrong with us…and well, we can see how troubling that cycle is. (should I call in the ninja again?) Instead of feeling low about yourself try this instead. Try objectively looking at the failure, from the most practical mindset you can muster, and the make a list of what you could have done differently. When you pay attention to the reasons WHY you’re failing, its easier to begin turning that terrible feeling of “I SUCK” into something more like…”how can I plan better for the next time” which leads to a brainstorm of self improvement. So…yeah, like I said, failing is a GENIUS maneuver for self improvement. If you can learn to bypass the internal shame and transform it into ways to grow…you’ll be rock solid the next time you screw something up.
So how was THAT for deeper thoughts than cookies?
So what is the “challenge” part of today? (aside from reading through all of the above information) I’d like you to answer the following questions of yourself and do some emotional hygiene work. There is no right or wrong answer, this is simply for self observational purposes.
- What is one of your weaknesses and how do you overcome it?
- What was the last stressful situation you had and how did you resolve it?
- Write down a time when you said or did something that had a positive impact on someone else’s life? How did you feel?
- How good are you at asking for help?
- How do you cope with rejection?
These thoughts should start to get the brain in tip top shape.
How did it feel to think about all of this?
How would your rate your emotional IQ?
Do you practice daily emotional hygiene? I’m curious to know!