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.

Want some more Yoga content? Check out these posts:

Journal

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

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.

The breath

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.

The sky

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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38 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this post. It was quite the read. I think it is important to connect with yourself on such a level, you know what can help you in any given moment. Good for you! ~ Jayne

  2. Great post! Thank you for sharing! I too lean towards books and my journal in emotional times. But I also rely on my dog too for comfort. I would say she is on the top of my emotional toolbar list.

    1. Oh my gosh yes! My dog is a huge one for me too. Or just dogs in general. I remember going through a really difficult patch in 2015/2016 and all I watched during that time was The Supervet because of the dogs!

  3. Love this! I’m definitely with you on diving back into an old favourite book and just knowing that it’s a world I can cope with and understand which is more than reality sometimes. Great post.

  4. This is such a interesting post! I haven’t heard of an emotional toolbox before but I’m loving the sound of it. It’s really nice to see what works for other people as everything you’ve written would be very similar to myself. These are 6 great tools you’ve written about lovely, thank you so much for sharing with us Xo

    Elle – ellegracedeveson.com

  5. Ahh that’s an interresting one, thank you for sharing! The pictures with the gems are absolutely gorgeous too xx

    I quite like the universe point.. I’ve been more the kind to shut down inward rather than look upward, but when I was particularly scared of jumping aboard a new work, I repeated myself how if it’s for me than the universe will give it to me. Giving the universe more power rather than pressuring yourself on things you can’t fully control definately helps lots!

  6. I love this so much! All these things are so essential to have in an emotional toolbag! Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. Couldn’t agree more that we need “tools” to help us with our mindset. I journal daily, listen to podcasts and write and these three things help me keep the stress levels down and I enjoy all of them.

  8. This is such an interest concept! I definitely turn to journaling and books a lot too when dealing with emotions, and the sky has always fascinated me – it’s so pretty! Thank you so much for sharing x

  9. Lovely post! I definitely need to build up my own emotional toolkit! I also love looking at the night sky on non cloudy days and seeing the stars and planets.

  10. I adore the whole meaning and being of this blog post!

    It’s so true that those healing things help us the most, away from the easier options like a bottle of wine. (when not consumed in excess)

    I love to be near bodies of water, I lived in Wuhan, China (2015-2017) so each time when I saw the Yangtze River, that was my happy place.

    Joseph

    1. Thank you! Yes I agree, it’s so easy to reach for those things that we know aren’t going to help in the long run but might give us a quick boost. Ah that’s lovely to hear, water for me too – it’s so calming.

  11. I haven’t heard of an emotional toolkit before. It sounds like you have a great range of things to look after your physical and mental health. Breathing techniques can be really helpful when you become overwhelmed. I will have to think about what is in my emotional toolkit. Thank you for sharing Jenny.

    Lauren x
    http://www.bournemouthgirl.com

  12. I’m so glad you mentioned the breath here – what an important one, eh!? I constantly have to stop and remind myself to breathe. To take two, or even five minutes just to catch my breath. Don’t try to make sense of it all, just take deep lung fulls and practice what you’ve been taught.

  13. This is a fab toolbox. I definitely have yoga and journaling in my emotional toolkit, id also like to add music to this list too.

  14. Lovely toolbox and nice way of framing your mental state. I have a bracelet of hematite that is supposed to keep negative thoughts at bay. I’m not close to water as often as I like but I’ll add the sky! Thank you.

  15. I always think about my emotional ‘toolkit’ and what I need to add or alter (depending on what is going on, etc). I love the things you have in yours and it just goes to show that we have things around us that we can make use of to support ourselves. Lovely post!

  16. Great post! It is really nice to see what others lean on. I love the sky and also any type of water like sea or a river.

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