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Emotional Resourcing

Emotional resourcing helps you to maintain groundedness, clarity, and compassion in the face of challenges.  Emotional resourcing isn't just about maintaining emotional health.  It's about knowing what nourishes you most giving you a sense of emotional resiliency.  Really knowing what's nourishing for you and acting accordingly can be a little trickier than it sounds.

It's helpful to make a few key distinctions.  Let's look at three:

  • Pleasure vs. Nourishment

  • Habit vs. Skillfulness

  • Safety vs. Challenge

The first one is a bit obvious in physical realms.  For example, even as you gobble down the salty and fatty pleasure of junk food, you know that a kale salad is actually more nourishing.  In the emotional realm, it might not be so obvious.  For example, there is a strong impulse to vent when you're angry and there is pleasure in following that impulse, but throwing out angry judgments and complaints doesn't bring you into connection with what gives you strength.  It's not actually emotionally nourishing.

Habit is a powerful force and when you aren't paying attention,  it will simply choose for you.  For example, if you have the habit of withdrawing and spending time alone, then you might neglect the form of emotional resource that comes from spending time in healthy community.  When habits are more entrenched they get other names like routine, personality, or lifestyle choices.  If you are chronically under-resourced, these kinds of habits might need some examination.  Taking skillful action towards emotional resourcing requires the courage to do something different and the willingness to  listen deeply to what's really true for you moment by moment.  Listening deeply might mean sitting quietly noticing your experience, taking a mindful walk through the park, doing some journaling, or having a conversation with someone about your experience of the moment.

The last distinction, is really about perceived safety rather than an actual threat to safety.  Sometimes any kind of challenge can trigger a perceived threat to safety.  The willingness to move towards something even while you feel nervous, allows you to discover new sources of emotional nourishment.

Assuming you are making these three distinctions, emotional resourcing could take a variety of forms. Here are a few possibilities:

  • Spend time alone doing something creative

  • Spend time in a healthy community.  Healthy community is defined by its impact on you.  A healthy community experience leaves you feeling more whole, sound, in sync with yourself and others, inspired, or joyful.

  • Give and receive empathy

  • Meditate or engage in other spiritual practices

  • Ground yourself in your intentions and deepest values.  This might be through journaling, art, volunteer work, prayer, or conversation with another.

  • Receive support from another who is giving you his or her undivided attention, like a teacher, counselor, or mentor.

  • Ask for positive feedback about your work, parenting, or any other role.

  • Spend time time unplugged in nature.

Bringing mindful attention to your sense of emotional resource and consistently engaging in that which resources you, not only makes for a more enjoyable life, but also benefits those around you.  An emotionally resourced you can access compassion and wisdom and make use of the relationship skills you have been cultivating.


Take a moment now to check in with your sense of emotional resource.  Do you feel an expansive sense of resiliency and connectedness?  Or do you have a sense of emotional flatness or thinness with irritability around the edges?  If it's the former make a note of how you have been resourcing yourself lately, it's working..  If it's the latter, make a commitment to engage in some form of emotional resourcing in the next two days.


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2 Responses

  1. Jan 22, 2015

    Loved this! Shared with a friend, and suggested a fireplace cozy restorative hang session.

    Thank you!!

  2. Jun 05, 2017

    In the fast world, when someone says "Have a nice day", one of my jackals might ignore a cliche.

    At a slower pace, this post meets several needs-- reassurance, warmth and belonging. "Have a nice day" is giraffe shorthand!

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