What if we could help clients gain insight into the sources of emotional stress in their lives? Life has shown me that the best way to authentically connect with clients is to speak from first-person experience, or “walking the talk.” Whether we know it or not, our emotions affect how we choose to show up in the world and relate to others. Tapping into the wisdom of our own emotional journeys lays the groundwork for offering a supportive experience, even with difficult emotions, to those we serve.
There’s a framework I like to use to distinguish between general emotional well-being and spiritual well-being. While emotions play a role in both, these buckets can be used as guidelines to discern between the two in moments of reflection.
Emotional well-being is understanding the state of our emotions in our daily lived experience, and managing them in relationship to that over which we have some measure of control.
Spiritual well-being refers to how we align lives, values and beliefs in relation to that which is outside of our control.
Spending time in contemplation and stillness can invite a sense of connection to these two areas of wellness that can spill over into every part of our lives and our relationships, personally and professionally.
As an emotional intelligence coach and facilitator, I use both journaling and mindfulness meditation to make sure I’m taking care of myself, so I can be my best for my clients, my family and myself. Spa pros can do the same: Take some time to focus on yourself and start cultivating your own emotional and spiritual well-being with the following tips.
Jot It Down
Journaling is a helpful practice for identifying patterns in our thoughts, emotions and actions. If the idea of journaling seems intimidating, using a timer often removes the pressure of getting started. Try setting one for five minutes and write your answers to these prompts over one or more sessions.
1. Think of a situation in your work or personal life that brings up strong emotions. List the emotions that arise for you in that situation. Writing these down can be a powerful way to support the processing of those feelings.
2. Identify what you can control in this situation versus what you can’t. Make a list for each. Keep this in mind: We generally only control the things we can act on ourselves. What other people think, feel, say or do is outside of our control.
3. When you’re done, take on the role of a disinterested third party and read what you wrote. Without judging anything as right or wrong, observe how you’re telling the story to yourself.
4. Get curious about the emotions that come up for you by creating a “Can Control” column. Pick one or two things from the list and dig a little deeper into why certain emotions show up and where you feel them in your body.
This practice will help you self-reflect and identify any patterns that may be helping you or holding you back—plus, it relieves stress.
Here’s another way you can practice in your quest for spiritual health. I have customized this simple exercise, inspired by Dean Graziosi’s “Seven Levels Deep.” Write your answers to each question, personalized to your situation. Each response should be a single sentence, so this one doesn’t require much time.
1. Why am I feeling [identify emotion] about [the circumstance outside of my control]?
2. Why is [answer to question 1] important to me?
3. Why is [answer to question 2] important to me?
4. Why is [answer to question 3] important to me?
5. Why is [answer to question 4] important to me?
6. Why is [answer to question 5] important to me?
7. Why is [answer to question 6] important to me?
8. Why is [answer to question 7] important to me?
Gerri Sapinoso Hudson (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an emotional intelligence leadership coach, facilitator and founder of Vision Bridge Leadership (bridgetoabetterway.com), which serves organizations with skill-building in emotional intelligence areas like mindfulness, self-awareness, self-management and relationship management through compassionate communication and influence. Sapinoso Hudson is a certified executive coach and certified teacher with the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute.