Years ago, during yet other foray into creating a yoga practice, I had an instructor who was smitten with the idea of emotional metabolism.
Many of us are here to increase our metabolic rate, she’d tell us at start of class. And yet, the more important metabolism, the emotional metabolism, should be what we’re really seeking to elevate.
I knew about physical metabolism.
I was aware of its life sustaining importance.
I’d experienced its rise & fall and the impact those peaks & valleys had on my physical well-being.
I wasn’t intrigued enough to investigate a metabolism I couldn’t see.
I was showing up solely for the workout.
Flash forward a few decades and I’ve returned to the mat with entirely different goals in mind.
I’ve discovered Candace Pert,
realized how rarely used my scientific journal reading brain is lately, and distilled her layered notion of emotional metabolism into ways and terms I could grasp.
- As with physical metabolism, my emotional metabolism could (and had!) become sluggish.
- Unlike physical metabolism, where I intuitively avoided junky stuffs, my emotional metabolic rate could be impacted by things outside my control.
- My emotional metabolism had slowed due to intake of junky-emotions from the world around me (fear, anger, disappointment, jealousy).
- I, in essence, was kinda constipated thanks to keeping some emotions inside instead of letting them flow freely.
I’d succeeded in stoking the fires of my 47 year old physical metabolism, but my emotional metabolic rate (meditation, zen-moments and all!) was perilously close to grinding to a halt.
I needed help.
Carefully do a cleanse.
Humans average 60,000 thoughts per day. In addition, according to research, 70-80% of these thoughts are negative (!). The good news? We have a choice. Our brains believe the stories we tell them. To re-spark my emotional metabolism I can choose to add new positive daily statements and focus on cleansing old, unhelpful negative ones. Doing this cleanse helped make me more intentional with the words I use To myself, about myself and toward others.
Completely consume compliments.
This, thankfully, is an area I rock. I know how to fully receive a nicety. I connect with the compliment-proffer (eye-contact) and say thank you. Full stop. I don’t denigrate myself or the giver by brushing off the compliment or debating the validity of the sweet statement. I embrace the words, I savor the kindness, I fully buy into the positive statement, I own my good qualities, I believe what the other person has said. I remind myself of these words/thoughts later when if I feel “less than.” Nothing stokes the fires of our emotional metabolic rates like embracing, owning and integrating the positive. Which leads me to…
Evade negative emotions.
Bob and weave! Bob and weave! is the mantra I’ve created for this metabolic boosting approach. It’s not a tactic which will work forever (as much as I’d all love to prune all negativity from my life) yet it can work as a short term boost.
It’s similar to when I decide: I’m sipping too much soda. I need to take a break. I have an awareness soda isn’t good for me/my metabolism, but realistically realize I’ll eventually drink it again. Walking away from negativity (gossip, pessimism, competitiveness, judgement) for a few weeks boosts our emotional metabolism even when it can’t be forever. Positive emotions nurture us (like my choosing water) while consuming negative emotions (my beloved soda) can make us sick.
Here the decades of the 20’s & 30’s were mainly about the vessel.
My 40’s are about emotional metabolism and how it supports my well-being.
I’ve chosen to shift the focus from how I look and place it on my internal ability to process emotions (mine and those around me) in a manner which supports my emotional health.
- Have you considered the importance of stoking your emotional metabolic fires?
- How could you work to boost your emotional metabolism?