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Cleaning Up Your Emotional Environment – Part 1

By Cassandra Sales

 

Recently, I went to a local park and when I arrived it was apparent that the people before me didn’t clean up after their party. I went to my trunk, grabbed my gloves because well I work for Compass and I always carry gloves, and I picked up the trash. My kids asked why I was cleaning up someone else’s mess, and I responded “The environment is important to me and I always try to take care of it.” The reality is I am not the only one who is passionate about our environment, but that situation got me thinking. Our physical environment is a main focus of our lives, but how many of us take the time to clean up our emotional environment? Our emotional environment is what sets the tone for so many important aspects of our life such as our responses, our outlook, and our ability to handle what life throws at us. The reality is much like our physical environment we tend to neglect our emotional environment, until we notice a problem. We are so busy in life we don’t acknowledge our emotional environmental needs until we let that mole hill turn into Mount Everest and now we are having a thermonuclear meltdown over the toilet seat being left up. At Compass, we believe in supporting our clients and staff as an entire being. While we promote healthy living, we also support healthy emotional environments and I wanted to take some time to share some tips to make every day emotional Earth Day.

Emotions are not a buffet. You cannot walk through life with your emotional plate out and decide I want happiness, joy, and love in my life, but I’m going to pass on the fear, shame, and hurt sitting beside them. The best way to clean up your emotional environment is to acknowledge the feelings you are having and get curious about them. When you have days of incredible joy, where you have the dentist commercial type smile plastered on your face, pause to reflect what made that a great day. Maybe you received a phone call from someone you have been missing which resulted in connection being restored. The repaired connection may bring back great memories or flood your heart with ideas of future adventures and therefore joy was a result. On the opposite end of the spectrum, when you have a tough day where is seems like you are lashing out over the small things, and you find yourself being very passive aggressive, reflect on factors that may be contributing this. It could be as simple as you didn’t sleep well the night before, or maybe you heard a trigger word that just sent you to a place of darkness. For example, I consider myself to be a very knowledgeable understanding and emotionally healthy individual, however if someone texts me two simple letters I immediately have a negative reaction. I can feel my hands tense, my eyes roll, and I even purse out my lips. The two letters that just drive me crazy are “OK.” To some that is a mere acknowledge of message received or I understand, but in my family “OK” means we are indeed not “OK” and there is about to be some verbal combat to ensue. Now, not everyone follows my same family rules, and to most Americans “OK” actually means “OK.” But, I’ve come to realize at times when I look at my phone and see “OK” it actually has a negative effect on me. It took many days of snapping at people for what appeared to be no reason in order for me to understand this, but the first step was I felt an emotion – irritation –  and I got curious about it.

Part Two of Cleaning Up Your Emotional Environment will be posted next week. What are your thoughts so far? Leave them in the comments!

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