Are you Feeling Some Kind of Way?
I've been making a daily habit of reflection, and I am paying attention to how my body budget affects my mood, motivation, and everyday decision-making.
When you are on a roller coaster, as I have been for some months, it's harder to do this but even more critical.
Your Body Budget is the central account that your brain withdraws from to orchestrate every intrinsic and physiological function of your body, which uses resources every second of every day, waking or sleeping.
Likewise, every hug, offense, smile, and unwanted email makes a deposit or withdrawal. Understanding your Body Budget needs is essential to flourish and be well in mind and body.
In a short period, my intentional observation is paying big dividends. I am gaining an understanding of what I need to function optimally and ride the roller coaster of emotions that can rush in between one phone call or email and the next.
I'm noticing how different meals, snacks, drinks, and their timing, and whether I take short breaks, move my body, walk, or garden, have consistent effects.
How I set myself up to begin each day makes all the difference.
When I spend time reflecting, writing, and praying during my morning first fruit practice, that anchors me for whatever comes next.
And I can go into a downward spiral when I don't do that. Plowing through one task to the next, often forgetting to eat, hydrate or move my body, not just my mind.
When I shortcut curiosity and forgo my first fruit practice getting caught up in other people's emotional contagion or my own perceived drama is much easier. A misinterpreted email may hijack a thoughtful response, and I fire off a reaction instead.
The brain is a super efficient meaning-making machine, but it's only sometimes accurate. Prediction errors must be corrected, or you will keep making them, deplete your body budget on unnecessary things, and damage relationships.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
But it's been difficult for me to put my finger on my emotions. Name them more precisely than happy, mad, sad, or glad.
Or, more accurately, irritated, anxious, or overwhelmed.
Emotional granularity is like peeling an onion; It takes intentionality and effort and is a bit uncomfortable.
In my weekly reflection of the past week, I noticed a pattern of being stumped to name my feelings beyond, 'some kind of way.'
Does that ring true for you too?
If so, the next question must be, what kind of way exactly? And sit with your feelings until you can name it.
This week I'm going to try something different. I will empty the pencils from my Feeling Wheel mug and drink from it. Literally.
I will carry it with me, and when I feel some kind of way, I will consult the 54 feelings on the wheel and pick one.
When I've expanded my emotional vocabulary beyond the mug and can also answer why I feel that way, I'll graduate to the 130 concepts Feeling Wheel and expand my emotional granularity even more.
Why is this important?
Because emotional granularity is essential to developing emotional intelligence, which is constructing the most helpful emotional concept for the situation.
In other words, we are not held hostage to our emotions. We can and should control them.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and self-control.” 2 Tim 1:7
Proper identification begets proper categorization. You must identify the feeling before you can ask why it is present. What is it trying to tell you?
Starting with Why is more than a catchy book title; it's a compass that charts the path to emotional wellness. That all begins by developing more curiosity and understanding about the complex and marvelous mystery of you.
Why not give it a try?
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