NOTE: This post appeared in its entirety on Essence.com and Huffington Post.
I’m often amazed at how little value people place on emotions, particularly emotional wellness. When your spirit catches a cold, it’s like the rest of you catches the flu. That negative energy manifests itself in everything from depression to disease. With women, there are added dangers such as damaged self worth or the inability to create loving relationships.
I meet women every day that clearly have the emotional flu, but either won’t, or don’t, know how to treat themselves. No worries ladies. I’ve developed an emotional toolbox to keep you feeling spiritually and emotionally fit. Here are 10 must-have tools to stock up on.
1. A Mirror – This isn’t a vanity tool. It is important to be able to look at your reflection often without making harsh judgments about imperfections or changes in your body. The more often you see and praise yourself, the less you will feel the urge to chastise your appearance.
2. A Daily Dose Of Self-Acceptance – This goes hand in hand with looking in that mirror. When you see or even think of things that you dislike about yourself, immediately replace the negative words with positive ones. “I hate my fat arms” should become “these arms have lots of hugs to give.”
3. A Den – Where do bears go when they hibernate? They have a personal space surrounded by all their favorite things. No one dares enter or disturb a hibernating bear; it is where she sleeps, recovers and rejuvenates for the next hunting season. In like fashion, every woman should have a place to withdraw from the world of stress and expectations and recover and rejuvenate for a season. Make the season as long as your lifestyle will allow. If you only have a short time, then hibernate more often.
4. Hibernation Time – While I recommend hibernating in your den, you are also not limited to that space. Hibernation time could be a 10-day vacation or the five minutes between leaving work and picking up the kids. You will need both long and short hibernating periods, but the key is to listen to your spirit. Your emotions and body will tell you when its time to take a break. Learn your signs and stay very acutely attuned.
5. Loving Adult Relationships – Loving your kids is simply not enough. In order to thrive you will need to create healthy, loving, reciprocal adult relationships. This will require both vulnerability and trust on your part. And also choosing whom to invest in wisely.
6. Belief, Purpose and Fulfillment – There is no greater fulfillment than living a purpose-filled life. It is important that we find belief in a higher calling and understand our own purpose. It is a key gateway to the path of personal fulfillment.
7. A True Sense of Power – Feeling powerless in your own life is a hopeless state of mind. It is important to feel that you have control of your own destiny and that you are not trapped. Having the ability to move fluidly within your own life will create a welcomed sense of power and freedom.
8. An Honest Abbey – You must have at least one person in your life that is going to tell you the cold hard truth without the fluff. Many people surround themselves with only cheerleaders, which limits their personal growth. Not to be confused with a Negative Nelly, Honest Abbey really does want the best for you. Remember, that pain is the cause of some of our greatest growth.
9. A “Badass” Elixir – What’s the one thing that you can do that reminds you that you are a badass? What if you could you rock stilettos like Naomi Campbell or work a racket like Serena Williams? We all have at least one thing that we do better than most. Its important to know you’re a badass and you can call on your skill at will. If you don’t know, ask your friends…you will be surprised what they think of your baaaaaad self.
10. Boundaries – Women are natural born givers. They will give until the glass is empty and still attempt to give more. It is important that we ensure that our glass remains full at all times, especially before we give to others. Learn to set (and keep!) boundaries that will ensure that your glass stays full.
Jai Stone – The Emotional Nudist
Jai Stone is a socialpreneur, author, syndicated blogger and the founder of the Emotional Nudity Lifestyle Brand. Jai writes about love, life and the pursuit of authentic joy. Follow her on Twitter @JaiStone or visit her blog.