Frustration, anger, shame, sadness, grief.
Negative emotions to be avoided and suppressed at all costs.
Or so I thought for much of my life.
But my pent-up emotions only led to anxiety, depression, and self-defeating behaviors.
Thankfully, I learned how to navigate my inner world with more skill over time. And it’s something I’m always working on.
As poet and wise woman Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
In 2016, Susan David, Ph.D., a psychologist at Harvard Medical School, published her book Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life.
Dr. David writes that her goal with the book is to help us become more aware of our emotions, learn to accept and make peace with them, and then flourish by increasing our emotional agility.
Emotional agility helps us to navigate life’s twists and turns with self-acceptance, clear-sightedness, and an open mind.
This process isn’t about ignoring difficult emotions and thoughts. It’s about holding those emotions and thoughts loosely, facing them with courage and compassion, and moving beyond them to ignite change in your life.
It’s about viewing your emotions as a warning system and choosing how to respond.
If You Want to Thrive, Accept Your Whole Self
By opening a space between how you feel and what you do about those feelings, emotional agility has been shown to help people with any number of troubles: negative self-image, heartbreak, pain, anxiety, depression, procrastination, tough transitions, etc.
But emotional agility isn’t just for people struggling with personal difficulties. It also draws on diverse disciplines in psychology that explore the characteristics of successful, thriving people.
Dr. David writes that the process of gaining emotional agility unfolds in four basic movements:
- Showing up: Face your thoughts or feelings with curiosity and acceptance.
- Stepping out: Detach from your emotions. See them for what they are, simply emotions, not who you are.
- Walking your why: Use your core values to drive you forward. They provide the compass that keeps you moving in the right direction.
- Moving on: In moving forward, make minor, purposeful adjustments to align your mindset, motivation, and habits with your core values.
Emotional agility helps you integrate your most troubling feelings as a source of energy, creativity, and light.
It allows you to accept your whole self with compassion, courage, and curiosity. So you can live with authenticity, create meaningful change, and thrive.
How to Practice Emotional Agility | GoodRx
Feeling Stuck? Nine Women Share How to Get Back in Your Growth Zone
Feeling stuck can be a signal for change. That change can come in the form of a grand epiphany or it can be a small voice inside telling you that you need to be more, do more, or make a greater difference.
The nine women featured here all ran into some kind of life issue that made them rethink their direction in life in their 40s, 50s, 60s, or beyond.
No Grandkids Required: Child-Free Couples Thriving After 50
Are couples missing out when they have no grandchildren to take to the zoo or graduations to attend? Don’t be too quick to jump to that conclusion.
These child-free couples say that not having children or grandchildren hasn’t impeded their nurturing nature, marital happiness or ability to lead fulfilling lives.
No Grandkids Required: Child-Free Couples Thriving After 50 | Extra Mile Blog
Welcome to the Middle-Aged Restaurant
Welcome to the Middle-Aged Restaurant, a place designed around a Gen-Xer’s current lifestyle or lack thereof.
Our often-overlooked establishment offers you respect, acknowledgment, and a menu that adapts to what your stomach can no longer tolerate these days.
Welcome to the Middle-Aged Restaurant | McSweeney's
Little Bits of Light
Words to open your heart and refresh your spirit
Photos by: Linda Wattier