Get emotionally intelligently fit!
Did you imagine that you would be where you are so quickly? Either way, after four decades you're still intact, or at least at a place where some alteration in diet and exercise has you in the game. Some of you are even much older, and find yourselves beyond mid-life.
Quite frankly, with the ever present rise in healthcare costs, it would be prudent to consider bettering your overall health, and one way of doing this is becoming emotionally intelligent about yourself.
My God, are you talking about me? Yes, I am talking about you — who have been successful in most of your endeavors, including quality of life, wellness, and endurance.
As men, we tend to be more focused on our physical and financial health than our emotional health. Because of the way we're wired, we have to make it a point to step back and assess how we're doing emotionally — something that seems to come much more naturally for women.
If you want to live a happy and fulfilling life in your middle years and beyond, there are several key elements to consider. You may be practicing or doing some of these things already, while others may be entirely new to you. Managing your stress, living in the present, and always pursuing worthwhile goals are just a few tips that will help you perform and succeed regardless of your age.
This is the perfect time to take inventory. Why not view your age as an opportunity for a midlife (or late life, depending) reappraisal? Think about what you're doing well, and what you'd like to do better. Jot down your thoughts and questions as you visualize where you are and where you want to be.
Mindfulness is a powerful component of good emotional health. If you're always rushing through the day, stuck on past regrets, or often worrying about the future, you're not living mindfully — and you're also probably feeling very stressed much of the time.
Mindfulness refers to the practice of focusing on the here and now, the present moment, and letting go of the tendency to judge or criticize it. Rather, you take it in, and accept it as it is.
When you're mindful, you're paying attention to your actions, your feelings, your thoughts, and your current situation — whether positive or negative. You let go of the need to fight, resist, control, struggle, or escape when you're mindful — you accept things unconditionally. You're also not letting life pass you by — you're showing up and participating.
People who practice mindfulness are not only less anxious, they're happier, more content, and more emotionally resilient than those who don't. They're also better equipped to handle stressful situations. One of the best ways to develop this skill is through meditation, or more specifically, "mindfulness meditation."
Mindfulness meditation is quite simple. Spend a few minutes a day sitting quietly in a place where you won't be disturbed. Focus on your breath, allowing the myriad thoughts that will undoubtedly bombard your mind (especially at first) come and go without judgment or criticism. As your mind wanders, just gently bring it back to your breath.
Your EQ (Emotional Intelligence)
Emotional intelligence refers to your self-awareness of your emotions, and your ability to manage them, while also understanding how they affect you. It also refers to the degree of your awareness of the feelings and needs of those around you. The stronger your emotional IQ, the better equipped you'll be to develop and maintain healthy relationships, handle conflict, motivate and inspire others, work as part of a team, and manage stress.
Managing Stress Correctly
I've encountered a lot of men who struggle with managing their stress in healthy ways. Numbing uncomfortable feelings with alcohol or drugs, burying yourself in your work when there are conflicts at home, or buying lots of "toys" to keep yourself distracted are a few common, but unhealthy and ineffective, ways that men handle stress.
On the other hand, some of you are stressed out because you find yourselves lonely, alone, divorced, unemployed, or underemployed due to organizational down-sizing. Resting, relaxing, and recreation are the key "R's" in getting rid of stress.
Take Periodic "Time Outs"
Whether it’s taking the afternoon off from work once in a while, or going on a much-needed two-week vacation, we all deserve (and need) a break now and then. Go on a long walk around your neighborhood. These periodic time outs will benefit your mental health and emotional wellbeing. Use them to do something enjoyable.
Avoid an "I'm Old" Mindset
There is lot of truth to the old saying, "you're only as old as you feel." Age is a mindset more than anything else. Whether you're 50, 65, or approaching 80, you're not dead yet, so why not embrace the moment and live life as fully as possible. If you get caught up in the idea that you're old, now that you've passed the half-century mark, you'll end up cheating yourself out of many more opportunities and adventures.
Adopt a Spirit of Gratitude
Nothing puts things in a positive perspective more quickly than gratitude. You see, when you focus on what you don't have, don't like, and want to change, but can't, it leaves you feeling frustrated, pessimistic, and depressed. When you adopt a spirit of gratitude, it helps you realize just how much you have to be thankful for — and that none of those things are insignificant.
Make a Bucket List
If you haven't done it already, sit down and make a bucket list, and keep adding to it. No matter how old you are, you're never too old to have goals and aspirations — no matter how far-reaching or lofty they may seem. Write down all the things you still want to accomplish, and experience in life. Don't exclude anything from your list, because nothing's off limits.
Having goals that are exciting keeps you from stagnating. People who write down their goals and dreams (and revisit their list often) are much more likely to reach them than those who don't. What may seem like a completely absurd and out-of-reach goal today may end up becoming a reality for you tomorrow. Life has a magical way of opening doors once we put something "out there" into the universe.
If you feel stuck in any area of your life, or want to make the most of this next phase of your life, Schedule a consult with me. Today truly is the first day of the rest of your life — no matter how many decades are already behind you. Be not only smart, but be emotionally smart… I mean emotionally intelligent for you and those special persons in your life!