Growing Courageous Kids

(& Parents!)

emotional integration methods

on January 24, 2009

Re-framing your thinking in a positive light is not just for the affirmation spouting “feel good” types. Research is finally catching up with what many have suspected all along: positive emotions can change your life. Specifically, they can “broaden people’s habitual modes of thinking and build their physical, intellectual and social resources” according to BL Fredrickson. When you engage positive thoughts and emotions, not only are you leaving no room for negative emotions, you are also creating new neural pathways in your brain. This means your brain changes, and thus, you change! You can become a healthier person on all levels, especially in relation to your emotional consistency and resilience—something all we all need.

Doc Childre reminds us in his work (heartmath.com) that “attitude directs how you manage your energy.” How we manage our energy really is how we run our lives and businesses, don’t you think?

If your energy is scattered or fragmented, you may feel like you are working an awful lot while not achieving the results you want.

If your energy is being directed by fear or anxiety—emotions often felt when taking huge leaps of faith—your intuition could become stifled along with your creativity resulting in stagnant performance.

Learning how to focus one’s emotions, neutralizing the negative ones, can directly affect productivity, profit and performance. We know from current research on the brain and heart that these changes are not only psychological in nature; your physiology changes along with your emotions. It’s not all in your head! We’ve all experienced clammy hands when we are nervous, for example. Obviously, we can’t control primitive reflex reactions—like when we are startled—but we can learn to minimize the body reactions by neutralizing our negative thoughts and emotions.

In addition to neutralizing in real time the charge of the emotion, we can then release it for greater freedom and peace. The method is as simple as the previous techniques and equally profound in effect. Many people have come up with variations on releasing these emotional “stores” in our bodies. You can use techniques from Brain Gym, The Sedona Method, Heartmath or others. It is helpful to be led through the process with a coach or practitioner the first time, but not necessary. The main component in all these methods is in noticing what is going on in your body, being with it and STAYING with it until it dissipates. Usually, when we get uncomfortable with these negative feelings we want to escape them as soon as possible. But, instead we need to remain in the presence of these emotions. This is counter-intuitive to how we live, but it works.

I’ve used The Sedona Method while on the pre-core machine at the gym with great success. I had a client that was really stressing me out with her habit of negativity and over-reaction. I liked this client but was feeling avoidance at the thought of her name. I had just picked up a book on The Sedona Method and was eager to try this cerebral approach. I visualized this person in my mind, felt the aversion, pedaled harder and began the internal questioning process:

1. Name it. What are you feeling now? (aversion)

2. Could you welcome this feeling? (No!)

3. Could your release this feeling? (Yes!)

4. Will you release it? (Yes, please!)

5. When? (Now?)

I went through the cycle about three or four times, naming each different feeling as it arose. And finally, when I felt complete I could picture this client and I actually smiled.

The Sedona Method doesn’t instruct that you need to be moving physically, but with my training with educational kinesiology I knew it could only be beneficial; and it was. You’ll notice by my answers in the parentheses that it doesn’t matter if you answer “no” to any question. Just keep breathing and going through the questions until you feel the emotion has released. There is much great work that can be done with this simple method. (For more info go to www.sedonapress.com).

These methods can be combined with body centered tools that engage the heart/mind and body simultaneously. This is probably why doing repetitive cardio helped my Sedona process.

All these techniques are useful for use on your own, although some take a bit of instruction or facilitation. Brain Gym is one brain/body integration method that listens to your body to unblock whatever is internally holding you back. Again, this is a simple method involving 26 physical movements to achieve profound change in learning ability and overall emotional health. This system of integrating activities is taught in person either one on one or in a group by a licensed professional.

Many schools are using the techniques with their students to enhance learning ability and readiness. Once you have worked in person with an instructor you can use all you have learned on your own at home. Some changes are instantaneous and others unfold over time. (For more info go to www.braingym.org). A benefit of this program is that it is appropriate for even the smallest child (you don’t need to be able to talk, unlike other methods that are more cerebral), whereas other methods profiled in this article are more fitted to school-aged children that have passed a certain developmental stage.

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