Exercise, eat healthy, and quit smoking are just a few of the great tips your doctor would likely give at the end of a cardiovascular visit. I think “manage your emotions” would be a great addition to that list.
The way we react to life’s experiences signals that our minds and hearts are directly connected, and that we must be able to guard our hearts to prevent our thoughts from sabotaging our health. Guarding our hearts is a biblical truth which we are encouraged to obey. “Above all else, guard your heart because everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23 NKJV)
Guarding our hearts is the purposeful act of shielding our minds and bodies from negative influences, toxic behaviors, and thoughts that are just not life-giving. However, this does not permit us to hide behind walls and become anti-social, cold, and distant, nor should it foster fear of taking risks in building relationships.
When we speak of the heart, we are referring to our emotional center where feelings, thoughts, and reasoning dwell. Our thoughts control our attitudes, attitudes lead to actions, and these actions determine our achievements. Unfortunately, our thoughts are developed from encounters and experiences which are not always positive, and while negative emotions can create enough discomfort to lead us in making some necessary personal adjustments, they can also find ways to dwell in our hearts and affect our lives and livelihood.
The truth is that we may not be able to control our feelings in certain situations, but we can learn to connect the brain with our heart, and in so doing control our reactions. The extent to which we can control our emotions will not only guard our heart but also have a positive impact on our health and by extension the way we execute our jobs, attend to our families, and relate to our friends. As we put this into practice, here are a few tips:
1. Take time to assess how people around you affect your thoughts, actions, attitude, mood, and the decisions you make. Choose your friends wisely and ensure there is substance in all your relationships.
2. Believe in your independence. Sometimes, the fear of being alone causes us to put the unhealthy choice of accepting things that are self-destructive over the healthier option of self-preservation.
3. Stay alert. Seemingly innocent comments or jokes drenched in negativity can over time seed doubt, worry, confusion, anger, and eventually a full-grown tree of depression.
4. Find your center. Often, we become fixated on what is happening around us and engage in negative thoughts which become difficult to control. Being centered means having a positive reference for those days when the emotions and stress of life takes you off balance.
5. Seek good advice. When stuck in an emotional rut, turn to someone you trust and respect. This could be a positive family member or friend, a spiritual leader, or a psychologist, if there is a need for professional help. We are never too experienced to learn.
In continuing the journey of personal development, we must pay attention to our emotional intelligence which includes learning to guard our heart. When we are effective in guarding our hearts, we are better able to manage our emotions, make healthier decisions, and live in peace with ourselves and others.
About Stacy-Lee Abrahams
Stacy-Lee Abrahams creates opportunities for businesses to develop their human resource capability and works to transform lives through personal development coaching.
With over 20 years’ experience in Human Resource Management and in manpower planning, people engagement, strategic compensation, training and development, and performance management, Stacy-Lee Abrahams worked with some well-established companies and as a freelance consultant to help others streamline their HR systems and processes in furtherance of people development. Stacy-Lee serves as the Personal and Professional Development Consultant for Victorious By Design.
She is a graduate of the University of Technology with qualifications in Management Studies, Human Resource Management, and Marketing. Her personal value system is built on facilities that reinforce her interest in growing others and includes discipline, commitment, excellence, and service to humanity.
When not busy with her professional responsibilities, Stacy-Lee enjoys creative dancing and working with children - which she does through her dance studio and outreach initiatives.