The Skinny – Amy Brunell

Taking Inventory of Your Emotional Toolbox —

What is an Emotional toolbox? These are your inner resources to help you cope well when things are difficult. Notice I didn’t say just “cope.” I said, “cope well.” There’s a big difference. I know this difference. Coping without doing it well feels like trying to survive.

What I mean is when things come at you, what do you pull out of your toolbox to help you cope without feeling defeated by the situation?

I’ve not been accessing my toolbox well lately. I always know I have one, but medically I’ve been going through some challenges, including fatigue. When you are fatigued, it’s hard to remember what the tools are. So with this blog I thought I’d write down what some of my tools are so I can access them when my brain is too tired to remember.

I believe in the power of Grace. I always want to handle myself with Grace. This for me is a state where I can be humbled, yet strong. I can remain open, listen to others and yet also listen to myself. I can understand that their truth may be different than my truth.
I am Resilient. No matter what, I can bounce back. There is a another day. Something ALWAYS changes. What things look like this moment, won’t be the same necessarily in the next moment. I have overcome many things and this I can overcome as well.
I believe in Forgiveness. Both of myself and of others. I know that it is imperative to practice to forgive and I work with practicing forgiveness daily.
If I Meditate regularly, it changes everything. Centering myself and getting grounded is crucial to maintaining emotional health. Being connected with what is beyond the “personality,” i.e. my spiritual Self, helps me cope when things seem too much.
I Ask for Help. (Find Support) I know that when things are tough I have people in my life to talk with. I can count on for support-not to make me wrong but to offer real feedback and perspective for the current situation. I will not be judged, but just loved and supported as I work through the situation.
I Read about others who prevailed against great odds. Reading about someone who has had challenges, even completely different challenges, puts your challenges into perspective.
Taking a Break is essential for my health. It’s important to go wiggle my toes in sand, play some music, breathe in some nature, or take a nap. Often when I take a nap, I wake feeling things are ever so slightly different and I can feel my creative energy more engaged to help me.
I know that I may Feel Differently Tomorrow. As bad as you feel in the moment, as bad as you want to react now, don’t. There is always tomorrow to react. Wait.
I Have a Passion to focus on. Those people who aren’t connected with their passion struggle when things are tough. Watching T.V. or playing computer games is not a passion, it’s an escape. When you can focus on your passion, time flies by and we get a real emotional break from the world and our problems. My passion is music and sometimes I have to actually force myself to play guitar or sing some songs, but I always feel better and lifted after a fairly small amount of time.
I Laugh all the time. I access this tool often. My son recently accused me of “over-laughing.” He said, “You laugh too much.” Of course after he said that, I laughed. I love to find humor in the world. It lightens my mood and gives me hope.

Sometimes I will find a Netflix comic and watch before I go to bed to get in a few chuckles before sleeping. Laughter changes the brain. It releases those “feel good” hormones so we feel more positive to handle life.

I think 10 is enough to start with, but I’m sure there is more. I would love to know what your tools are. Perhaps together we can make an even bigger toolbox?

The Actors' Gang

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