November 2015: What is Mental Fitness? Connecting, Receving and Transforming Our Emotions

If you followed my pre-contest diet without a contest video series, you are aware that I have recently intentionally put myself through a mental transformation. Having been a fitness and figure competitor for 20 years, it was pretty easy for me to dial in a diet and let go of the security blanket of hiding my emotions through food. It was quite a transformative process. And even though many people were very curious about what I was eating and how much weight I was losing (naturally), I was more interested in the transformation that was happing inside my mind.

I think part of why we all love to do physical transformations is that we get to see the fruits of our labor visually. We see the number on a scale go down, we see needing smaller pants, we get the accolades from others that we are looking good. But what happens when we go through a mental transformation? We don’t get social feedback about that very often. “Wow Janet, it is so nice to see that you are taking a nicer tone with your internal dialog.” Or “I am so glad to feel you not hating on me today.” Although we can often feel when our energy is closed off to someone else, and we can also feel when someone’s energy is closed off to us, we can’t quite quantify it as easily as we can with the stuff that makes up or physical transformation. It is not ubiquitous, and, therefore, I think we tend to overlook the importance of feeling great and settle for just looking great. But I have never worked with a client that a physical transformation alone was enough to help make a mental transformation. They always had an intent to make the journey both physical as well as mental.

With competition season closing shop, for the most part, and many people hiding under their baggy sweaters and sweatshirts, I think winter is the perfect time to incorporate both a physical as well as mental transformation. No, your friends probably won’t comment on your emotional well-being, but hey, not every life changing event is for show and tell.

So how do we even begin to quantify an emotional transformation? What specifically do we work on improving? How do we know when we have arrived? Or do we arrive? What goals do we set? How do we monitor if we are making progress? Seems a bit overwhelming doesn’t it? I hope to simplify the process right now.

Setting goals in your emotional world is very similar to setting goals in your physical world. A good starting point is as easy as asking: What do I want? You can compartmentalizes, for example, what do I want in my relationships, my work, my health and wellness, my spirituality, etc. Or you can think of a general direction of your goals of what you want. Next ask yourself, what emotions are getting in my way of me getting what I want? Write down your limiting beliefs, thoughts, and emotions that seem to get in the way. Third, set the tone for allowing yourself to experience these emotions. This is the not so easy part, and this is precisely the point where we go into distraction mode with food, internet, TV or some other activity that will distract us from how we feel. But, if we can take a moment to allow it to be present and to appreciate these emotions.

My philosophy is that all emotions that feel bad serve a purpose. There is a message behind the emotions. If we allow ourselves to feel the emotion, then we can do the final step that is where the transformation takes place, and that is receiving the message from the negative emotion. I will simply have a conversation with myself and say: “What message does this emotion have for me?” When I ask the question, I then sit into the emotion and let it express whatever wants to happen. That is not to say I won’t have this emotion again, but at least now, I have a transformative understanding of the message of the emotion, and now I have befriended my so called negative emotion rather than rejecting it. Here is a quick outline for reference:

  1. What do I want? Create goals in any area of your life. They can be relationship goals, career goals, health and wellness goals, or any goals that are a priority in your life right now.
  2. What emotions are in my way of me getting what I want? Write down limiting beliefs, negative thoughts and self-critical internal dialog.
  3. Allow the “negative” emotion to come up without distracting yourself from it.
  4. Receive the message from the emotion. You can ask: “What message does this emotion have for me?”

With a better understanding of the meaning of our emotions, we can have good ones and bad ones and feel a sense of connectedness to our inner experience without being judgmental and critical of thoughts and feelings that don’t feel good. Emotions that feel bad serve a purpose; they have a message for us. The trick is to allow ourselves to me in a receptive state to receive the message and let in our highest desire.

Until Next Month,



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