I don’t mean a physical bag that I carry around with everything I need in it in case I get a bit teary. For me, an emotional toolbag are all the tools, resources and lessons you’ve learned and accumulated over the years that you know are going to positively assist you when you’re feeling like you need that extra helping hand. Some physical, some mental, some spiritual.
A few years ago, I wrote this post on my Motivational Toolbox and an emotional toolbag is the same sort of concept. You can think of it as sort of a metaphorical self care kit where all the things inside will aid you when you’re feeling emotional; whether that’s stress, upset or anger.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with needing things to rely and lean on when you feel certain emotions. In fact, I think most of us have at LEAST one or two things that we absolutely cannot go without when we’re feeling stressed or upset or trying to manage frustrations.
Sadly for some, these come in the form of more unhealthy coping mechanisms, like alcohol abuse or smoking but hopefully, as we’re all becoming more self aware, especially in regards to how so intrinsically entwined our mental and physical health is, we can start to establish healthier coping techniques for those inevitable times when things feel heavy.
So although our needs will be vastly different, I want to share some things in my emotional toolbag with you today. Some of these things might sound a bit hippy-dippy, others are pretty straight-forward coping techniques but hopefully they give you some ideas if you’re struggling to manage your emotions.
Here are 6 things in my emotional toolbag:
My Yoga mat
I think this was an obvious one but it has to be here. My Yoga mat is 100% one of the main things in my emotional toolbag. My Yoga mat is one of the only places I feel completely and utterly safe. As soon as I roll that mat out, I feel like I can relax my shoulders a little more and breathe a little easier. The stresses of the day can melt away.
And whilst it’s certainly not always easy to releases the thoughts and worries from my mind during my practice, I know in that time I’m in exactly the right place and where I need to be. In these moments, I never rush my Yoga practice and I always do a Yoga practice that feels right for me in that moment. But my Yoga mat, boy oh boy, what a life-saver.
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Whether it’s creative writing or simply brain-dumping, writing can be an amazing tool for managing your emotions. I like to journal and whilst I don’t go as far as bullet journaling, I do like to simply write when I’m feeling some pent up negative energy. My journal is one place that’s NEVER going to judge me for whatever I write and I find great peace in knowing that I can be completely and authentically honest in expressing how I feel on paper.
Books are always another go-to from my emotional toolbag. When I’m feeling low, I tend to opt for re-reading favourite books or diving into some great non-fiction books. Old favourites because of the comfort factor and non-fiction to allow me to immerse myself in different human experience and learn something from other walks of life.
Anyone who practices Yoga or meditation will understand how important this point is. Similarly, those who have suffered with anxiety disorders or panic attacks will understand the power and importance of the breath. It is your anchor and such a powerful tool to have in your emotional toolbag to reach for.
Because that’s the thing, wherever you are, it’s ALWAYS there. You might not be able to carry a book or your Yoga mat wherever you go but your breath, buddy, that’s there for you, no matter what. Sometimes when my head is feeling too frazzled and I can’t form a coherent thought, I hone in on the breath and focus on nothing else.
I’ve always been someone that’s fascinated with the sky. The science of the Universe as well as the parts a regular human brain can’t being to fathom. I remember learning about the Universe in physics in school and having a panic attack because I started thinking *too much* and the idea of how big the Universe is scared me to death.
But the vastness of the sky doesn’t always send me into a panic. I love gazing up at the stars and occasionally the planets when they’re visible. It makes me feel so small and insignificant but all the same time, an integral part of something beautiful. If that can’t settle my frayed emotions, I don’t know what can.
My connection with the Universe
Alright I know this sounds cheesy as heck but hear me out. Similarly with the stars, the sky and looking upwards instead of downward and inward, honing in on that connection I have with the Universe really helps me in times of stress and struggle. My relationship with the Universe isn’t perfect and something I’m definitely still working on. It ebbs and flows – sometimes I’m fully embracing that flow and other times, I’m struggling against it.
So as you can see, I’m carrying about books, my breath and the sky in my emotional toolbag. I know all these things on my list are going to help me, whether I’m feeling mentally fragile, stressed about work or upset about something in my personal life. I believe we should all have these healthy coping techniques in our emotional toolbags.
What’s in your emotional toolbag? What do you lean on when you feel upset or stressed? Let me know in the comments!
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