I read a blog this morning about the behaviors of emotionally strong individuals. Initially I asked, “what is emotional strength?” Emotional strength is the ability to experience positive feelings. There are some studies to suggest that certain personality traits are linked to greater emotional stability, an indicator for emotional strength (Guswell & Ruch, 2012). A particular study by Guswell and Ruch (2012) suggested there are innate characteristics that can either support or hinder a person’s ability to manage emotions. In other words some personalities have an easier time managing emotions and remaining positive. Although research claims it may be easier for some more than others it is not likely that only certain individuals with certain personality traits are allowed happiness. All people are allowed happiness and all individuals can have a happy disposition despite character, experience, or previous thought patterns.
Individuals can learn emotional strength. If you struggle with something in life you can learn to improve; you can learn to emotionally improve, as well. Your emotions do not control you. Your thinking does not control you. (It seems that way most of the time because turning “off” thinking and emotions is challenging). The source behind the thinking and the emotions is YOU and the one in control of you is YOU! I understand my posts talk a lot about choosing to be happy positive and I understand this can be very frustrating to most. But, that truly is the issue; choice. How you think and how you feel is up to you! It is that simple. The hard part is applying the skills, tools, and techniques to make that choice stick.
There are lots of tools and behaviors one can apply to increase emotional strength. One behavior that stood out to me as a read the blog on emotional strength was ,”They (emotionally strong people) are not afraid of slowing down”. This really stuck with me and caused me to ponder.
Emotional strength equals success. Early research clearly demonstrated that people with an ability to evaluate their emotions, identify their emotions, and rationally handle their emotions are better able to reach and achieve goals (Allport & Allport, 1921). To consider that emotionally strong people can slow down and relax challenged the belief that successful people are “go-getters” and “busy-bees”. Success coincides with work. So many of us are chasing dreams, aspirations, and goals. Motivation is inspired and we are challenged to keep going, keep pushing, and work daily to achieve success. Then why is slowing down a sign of success and emotional strength? How does rest and slowing down accomplish goals?
When we slow down we can LIVE. It is so easy to be caught up in pursuing goals and achieving success and to lose sight of daily life and the little miracles that occur. I am no exception. My goals and aspirations in life require me to have daily goals and a daily plan. The drive to be successful causes me to become acutely aware of my daily goals and I can spend minutes of my day, hours of my day planning, working, building, doing, and analyzing. What happens if I just stop? What happens if I just slow down and approach the day as it comes?
When we can slow down we are left with seconds, minutes, hours, even days for freedom and to live.
- Slowing down means we can be content with our present moment and our present blessings.
- Slowing down means we can be thankful for what we have.
- Slowing down allows us to experience love and support of family and friends.
- Slowing down means taking a break.
- Slow down means we have time to do something else (perhaps read a book, talk with a friend, or sit in silence).
Today I challenge you to stop! Stop planning and stop working. Take time away from your “to-do” list and do something else. You do not need to always be working on something and you do not need to always be focusing on your goals. I challenge you to take a step back, slow down, and enjoy the moment and the people you are with. When you slow down to live you will restore your heart, your brain, and your soul. This renewal of mind, body, and spirit will help you achieve goals, accomplish tasks, and lead you to success.
Allport, F. H., & Allport, G. W. (1921). Personality traits: Their classification and measurement. The Journal of Abnormal Psychology and Social Psychology, 16(1), 6-40.
Guswell, A. & Ruch, W. (2012). Are only emotional strengths emotional? Character strength and disposition to positive emotions. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 4(2), 218-239.