What’s the deal with emotional economy?
Life is a series of transactions.
Debits and credits determine balances. Assets and liabilities determine net worth. Revenue and expenses determine profit. Give and take determine the richness of relationships. You put gas in the car and you drive. If you fail to replenish the supply of gas, you find yourself thumbing a ride like a gypsy without a cause.
Economies determine consequence and reward.
With that said, there are different types of economies. God’s economy is an exchange of Grace. Marriage economy is an exchange of love. Employment economy is an exchange of money for time and skill. Parenting economy is an investment in a legacy future for the next generation. Each of those economies works differently.
Emotional economy is one based on transactions that occur in one’s soul.
Soul is defined as the mind (ability to think and reason), will (ability to make decisions), and emotion (ability to feel joy, sorrow, fear, etc…). The soul was created by God, but He gave us the responsibility to steward it well. We choose how to use our soul. We are responsible to nurture it. We feed it or starve it, submit it or allow it to run wild. And we experience the consequences or rewards of our choices.
Inherent in our soul, is emotion.
I suspect the emotional balance of our soul is directly responsive to the input it receives. We often have no control over negative input unless we choose to bury ourselves in the sand, put on blinders and wear sound cancelling devices blocking out all the busy noise around us. Negativity saturates our soul in the course of our natural life.
So, the key is to overpower the negativity with positive emotions.
Let me say that I struggle with this issue. So, I may not be your best example. But, I am working at the soul shift required to impact my emotions, attitude, perspective and behavior so that I can experience my best life with the resources available to me.
Below are a few things I am learning about stewarding my emotional economy:
1. Gratitude is Key
About a year ago I started using a simple phone app called “The Five Minute Journal.” You can get it in print form, but I prefer the simplicity and functionality of the app. Plus it allows me to attach a picture to my daily entry. Simple! The “5 Minute Journal” consists of the same questions each day which prompt me to express gratitude.
– Three things I’m grateful for
– Three things that will make today great
– A daily affirmation that I craft
– Three Amazing things that happened today
– One way I could have made today even better
I have found that when I am faithful to journaling through the “5 Minute Journal,” I am jumpstarted to handle the challenges of the day and at peace when I lay my head down for the night.
2. Envisioning a Preferred Future Gives us a target
This once felt so presumptuous and fake to me, but I have grown to believe in the power of this practice. I take just a couple minutes to envision what life will look like down the road when I have overcome the challenges of today. This practice gives me a target to shoot for and a reason for fighting well. Sometimes my vision includes my kids, my marriage, my future team of co-workers, my business or my financial situation. Keeping the target clearly in front gives me motivation to keep moving toward it.
3. Choosing to believe I am not stuck in my present situation gets me out of it
This is my greatest challenge. I daily fight the lie that there is no way out. When I get stuck in that mindset, the thought itself is the trap that keeps me there.
4. Never stopping growth and learning keeps me fresh for the journey
A new idea or insight is like getting a new phone. It will make my life better for a long time to come, but over time the excitement wears off and it doesn’t feel as cool anymore. If we continually choose to keep growing, we keep our “knowledge gift” fresh and we always feel like we have a new phone.
5. Hanging out with positive people makes positivity contagious
It makes a huge difference. Positivity is contagious. My pastor is one of the most positive people I know and I love spending time with him. Sure, he has his own issues, and he will make that very clear. But, when I leave a lunch with him, I just feel ready to tackle the world. Choose to invest your limited resource of time with those who will let you catch the “positive bug.”
6. Empowering your emotions with a good diet and lifestyle gives you the resource you need to stay out of the pit
OK. I have a confession. I have only recently begun to tackle this issue in my life. About a year and a half ago I was struggling with my health and didn’t know why. I spent some time with a doctor and found that my body was struggling with managing sugar. This began a process of making myself aware of what my body was telling me.
I started experimenting with my diet and realized that it actually does matter. I have learned to let my body tell me what to avoid and what it likes (a.k.a. needs). My lunches cost a little more and I REALLY miss my diet Mt. Dew. But, that investment is such a small price to pay for how much better I feel these days. And I have much more fun with my kids and wife.
Not too long after this new awareness, I hired a girl who introduced me to Essential Oils and supplements. Those have also helped me feel more alive and on top of the game. Click here to find out more about Essential Oils. I’m a believer (wink).
The next step for me in this health journey is to have a regular exercise regimen. I’m not there yet. Maybe I will be able to write about that soon too. You can ask me next time you see me, just don’t poke too hard (ouch!).
Emotions are real… but, they can be stewarded well.
Do you have any suggestions for those of us on this journey? Comment below and let me know what has helped you in the roller coaster ride of emotions.