Emotional Diet (part 2)
Sep 05, 2019
Last week, I wrote about the importance of a healthy emotional diet. We are influenced by the events surrounding us, and we are emotional creatures. It is also important to note that we have a natural tendency to disproportionally focus on the negative. Also, part of our process is to look at what is wrong and try to navigate our challenges. There have been periods in my life when I have been focused on my challenges as a disabled person. Here are ways that can balance out the negative and focus on the positive.
Another benefit to a healthy emotional diet is that it gives you additional ideas and strategies. It also can help with tunnel vision.
- Reading and other education: There is information out there that can help you become amazing. I categorize these into two buckets. The first bucket is personal development. This includes learning about how to have better relationships, how to get what you want out of life, how to become a better leader, how to get over a block or barrier, how to have better health, etc. Everybody can benefit from this kind of information. The problem is, if you are not actively seeking this kind of information, you will probably not be exposed to it. The second bucket is consuming information for a specific goal. If you want to open a company, market a book, get ahead in your career, or lose a few pounds. There is an abundance of information that can help you along on your journey. Anytime I get stuck in my life, one of the first things that I do is turn to information. This includes podcasts, books, online classes, events, and my two favorite websites: Google and YouTube.
- The company that you keep: We are most influenced by the people who we spend time with. This could be the people at work, family, friends, and anyone who we have regular contact with. Around different people we act differently. Since our actions dictate our lives, the more positive people that you hang out with, the more chance we have to become amazing. The issue is that we cannot ignore all the negative influences in our lives or shut out every negative person in our lives. However, we can limit our exposure to negative people. We can also get into new circles of people whether that’s a new professional circle or a new personal circle. It takes work to really seek out people who can inspire us and put us in a positive mood. It is also important to note that engaging in drama with negative people might feel good, but if you engage with them too long, then it will be like eating cookies every day. It starts off good, but, after awhile, it just makes you sick. Basically, Jim Rhone summed it up best when he said that we are the average of the five people who we spend the most time with. Think about who you want to be, then choose your acquaintances accordingly.
- Spend time wisely: Many of our negative experiences that affect our moods can be avoided by spending our time and other resources wisely. This can be not making impulse buys that cause financial stress down the line, taking care of our health, and avoiding illness, being fully present with people who inspire you, not letting insignificant incidents bother you, and really being intentional about your thoughts and actions. This can be not getting mad at the slow cashier or barista. My biggest inspiration is watching my two boys just live and play. I have pictures of them in my office. On many nights, I get out of my wheelchair and onto the floor with them. I have spent many hours just watching them around the house.
- Gratitude: The whole point of a positive emotional diet is to take your focus off the negative and onto the positive. Gratitude does this beautifully. It makes you look at the positive without dwelling on the negative. For me, I can easily think about and get discouraged by everything that I cannot do. This includes my speech impediment, my inability to be fully independent, and so on. I watch people all around me doing everything that I cannot do. This is discouraging. On the other hand, I have an amazing life. I’m surrounded by loving people. I guess the weather is not that bad in Southern California. I have an amazing outlook on life. When go we through challenges it’s difficult to see all the blessings in life. One of the techniques that you use to achieve your goals is to look for resources and blessings and parlay those into success. When you have practice gratitude and consumed a positive emotional diet, those assets become more tangible and real in your mind.
- Media and Inspiration: You also want to be aware of the kind of media you are consuming. It’s easy to digest negative media. There are people who rush to social media anytime they are not feeling well or they have a stomach ache. On the other hand, there are people, like me, on social media who provide valuable or inspirational information. I consume a lot of sports talk. However, if you think about it, a sport talkshow talks about competition and getting ahead. Many of my ideas were inspired by listening to sports talk. In addition, inspiration can be cultivated by having a playlist, watching comedians, or even watching a movie that cracks you up. In my office, I’m always writing with a 1970s soft rock playlist. I also have sports memorabilia and other inspirational reminders in my office.
An emotional diet is so valuable for amazing success. It is not wise to ignore all negative messages or not engage with them. When teachers tell us about an issue with our children we cannot ignore them. When we have a challenge at work we can’t simply ignore it. When conditions are not ideal, we cannot assume that they will automatically go away. Dealing with challenges and dealing with negative emotions are a part of amazing success. Having a positive emotional diet will help with combatting life emotional challenges. A diet of motivation and inspiration needs to be part of a plan for amazing success.