Achieving Emotional Well-being
It is time to celebrate - recent research has shown how we can learn to better manage our emotions to the point of changing our personality. This will be especially good news for the sensitive introverts among us who are prey to negative emotions such as anxiety and depression. Believing that such changes are possible is a crucial first step towards taking control of our lives, so that we are no longer limited by the belief that we are just born the way we are. This enables us to start down the road to self-actualisation. We can start to help ourselves by giving up pessimistic thinking habits so that we focus on the good things in life, seeing bad things as temporary local difficulties, and refusing to blame ourselves when something goes wrong. We can get better at managing our lives so that we get less stressed and enjoy more rewarding relationships. It helps if we challenge our cultural conditioning that our lives should be based on the individualistic pursuit of material wealth.
Emotional well-being requires a solid foundation of physical health based on regular, frequent and preferably vigorous physical excercise combined with ample sleep. Good nutrition is important with low omega-6 fatty-acids, 1 gram per day of omega-3 in the form of EPA, plus supplements of vit D6 (cholecalciferol) & vitamin B6. Light and 5-HTP can help low mood. Beware ill-effects of caffeine, alchohol and sugar. Mind training is essential and consists of a three pronged approach --
1) Mindful self-awareness i.e. being in and focusing on, the present moment enables us to become more aware of our feelings, to label them and to elaborate a personal narrative which robs bad experiences of their emotional power;it halts the internal chatter that distracts us, is often self-critical and which dwells on bad past events or future calamities;
2) focusing our thoughts on beneficial things in our lives lifts our mood and boosts our optimism, as does authentic pride in our achievements; caring for others, showing them kindness, gratitude and forgiveness actually makes us feel better and builds mutually positive relationships that make us feel good; we must take care to be kind to ourselves above all;
3) learning relaxation skills is good in the short-term for counteracting stress; however we can move beyond this by practising self-transcending mantra meditation regularly which immunises us against stress and low mood making us really cool customers.
Finally we can learn to solve lifes problems more intelligently -- visualise our goal, contrast with present situation, work out a series of steps needed to reach goal, brain-storm how to overcome obstacles, weigh up options, verbalise a plan, attempt solution to try to reach next step, then re-evaluate situation; remember that creative problem solving comes much more easily if one feels happy; complex problem solving is helped by good working memory which comes with specific practise - a further element of mind-training -- when combined they will work synergistically.
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