What does it take to feel emotionally stable, to feel good and stay happy? This is a question I used to ask myself on a regular basis. I used to believe that my emotions arrived randomly, depending on external situations and influences. I thought that it was only by chance that I would feel better on some days and worse on others. Now I have changed my tune. I finally realise that I have to be proactive in attending to my emotions if I want to feel happy. This requires quite a lot of attention and plenty of practice.
Just as the best gardeners keep a close eye on what is happening in their gardens, tending to them day to day, it must be tended on a daily basis.
Gardeners select the perfect plants and trees, they work hard to nurture the soil and give their gardens everything they need to grow and flourish. Any weeds, pests or overgrown areas are quickly eliminated in order to avoid their gardens being overrun.
In my concept of “emotional gardening”, I talk about how we can plant the seeds of the positive emotions that we want to feel, and how to nurture the happiness which grows inside our heads as a result. At the same time we also have to weed out any unwanted negative emotions as soon as possible.
Life can be hard, it isn’t possible to enjoy a perfectly happy emotional garden all the time. There will always be situations to deal with at work or at home, in our relationships or with our health. What we can do with a bit of practice, is learn how to cultivate a better-feeling place within ourselves, nurturing our positive emotions and preventing the negative ones from running riot.
By tending to your emotional garden every day, you can proactively make yourself as emotionally strong and resilient as you can. When you feel strong and able to cope, happiness springs forwards and your life will take off.
So how do we improve our emotional gardens? Here are a few tried and tested ideas which may just help you too…
Don’t Bottle It Up
In all my years working with clients, one of the most common traits I have noticed which affects people’s emotional health, is the bottling up of emotions. Bottling up can be defined as, “Holding back what you are feeling about a situation or refusing to deal with something that is on your mind”.
Essentially it means holding in your emotions.
By keeping our emotions inside, we lock away our feelings relating to a situation. But where do these feelings go? Can we just ignore them? I think not. I believe that these feelings stay within us, and if they are left unattended they can lead to major health problems over time, not only mentally but also physically.
Bottling up is never a good idea for our health, so avoid it if you can by getting support.
Trust your instincts to find someone who you can talk to honestly about what you are feeling. Perhaps a sympathetic friend or a kind relation, who will listen to you with empathy. True friends don’t mind acting as a sounding board for your problems to help you move forwards.
If you prefer not to talk to someone you know, maybe try getting professional help from a therapist. Therapists are impartial and can give a new perspective. This sometimes feels easier as they have no vested interests or knowledge of you personally. Being brave enough to get support can be a real help.
Above all, remember to be gentle and kind to yourself. This process is hard enough without giving yourself a hard time too.
Simply talking about our problems in an open and honest way can make all the difference to how we are feeling.
Let Others Off The Hook
All too often, when I meet a client for the first time, within the first few sentences, or first few words even, they will recount a tale about how they have been wronged, mistreated or upset by someone.
Now here’s the thing… is your state of mind really down to someone else? Do they really make you feel a certain way, or are you simply reacting in a certain way to them every time?
In our quest for a happier emotional garden, seeing someone as directly responsible for how we are feeling is a no-no.
Ultimately it is up to us to either blame others or focus on feeling better ourselves. Holding onto someone or something which has negatively affected you is a big mind and energy drain.
Don’t give your power away to the other person or situation. It is vital to realise that we are worth so much more than that.
Go For What You Want
If you are not feeling great about life try asking yourself:
“What do I really want?”
This simple question is capable of getting to the root of so many problems. Not going for what we really want, or know we are capable of, is arguably one of the most common reasons why people are unhappy. When we deny or block what we want, unhappiness is often the end result.
I have found our emotions are intrinsically linked to respond best when we are doing what we love. The creation of that buzz and internal excitement by going for what you really want, will certainly improve your happiness levels so do more of what you love, starting today.
Good luck tending to your emotional garden… dig deeply and you will flourish!