Train the emotions and that they do not take us ahead

Today, almost everything serves as an excuse to share emotions. The question is: is there a way to train them so that they don’t take us ahead? “If he responds Nuria Pérez-Escoda, director of the Postgraduate in Emotional Education and Well-being at the University of Barcelona. “The first thing is to learn to give a name to what is happening to us and understand that emotions are neither good nor bad, but they alert us to things that happen around us in order to react,” he reveals. For this reason, as sports clubs proliferate, more and more experts propose the creating emotional gyms.

The idea is that to lead a good life you have to know how to exercise your emotions prevent depression (sadness), anxiety (fear) or aggressiveness (rage). “So there is no need to say ‘I am like this, what am I going to do!'” warns the philosopher and expert in emotional education, Elsa Punset.


As sports clubs proliferate, more and more experts propose the creation of gyms for feelings and desires

Just like forty years ago, very few people jogged or went to the gym, something similar begins to happen with emotions: to maintain good emotional health, you need to train. “We can change and improve many things in our lives, ”Punset recalls. “And if we need professionals, gymnasiums or whatever to start that journey into oneself, go for it! The important thing is to understand ourselves, by the means that we need, in order to live and coexist a little better every day ”, adds the author of The book of small revolutions, where he proposes 250 daily actions that can change emotional well-being.

Over the past few years, several emotional gyms have opened their doors. In 2012, the European Institute of Positive Psychology opened the first gym of this type in Europe to do “Abs with the mind”, according to the description made by its promoters. Even more recent is the emotional gym that implemented the Basque Association for Mental Health. An experience that has also been tested by NGOs and private companies.


The same has happened at the international level: if in Puerto Rico there is an emotion gym that offers workshops with a theatrical methodology, the same happens in Canada. For their part, British students – as reported The Guardian in October 2019 – they requested that they be taught to take care of their emotions, as they say university campuses increase their levels of anxiety and stress. Currently, several English universities offer wellness courses as part of the curriculum, case of the Bristol University, through its “science of happiness” courses, or that of Oxford, through your mindfulness center. There have even been books with this title, case of Emotional gymnastics and coaching, of Rafael Bisquerra, professor at the University of Barcelona and one of the greatest experts in emotional education.

The underlying message of these experiences is that happiness has very little to do with luck and external circumstances and a lot with mental, emotional and physical habits. But … how should emotions be managed so that they do not take their toll on the stomach and skin? One of the key words is “tone”, that is, “minimize negative emotions in terms of intensity and duration over time –explains Pérez-Escoda–, and generate more positive emotions ”. In other words: remember also the good that happens to us throughout the day.

Live and live together

The important thing is to understand ourselves, by the means we need “

Elsa Punset recalls the case of the Chilean psychologist Pilar Sordo when he asked a blind patient to write down on paper the things he was thankful for. His surprise was huge when the blind man handed him a dozen pages in which he had written down those almost invisible things that are often overlooked or taken for granted. Here are some of his notes: “the rustle of clean sheets when I go to bed… the aroma of coffee in the morning… the softness of my dog’s hair guides the day I bathe it… the smoothness of the wood on the table. that I write… the laughter of some children in the distance… the caress of the wind on my face… the warmth of the water when I shower… ”

There are specific situations that are fertile ground for training emotions. In sports endurance tests, regulating emotions well can be as crucial as training itself, especially in moments of weakness. The advice here from Pérez-Escoda is “not to overdo yourself with too many positive messages of the type ‘you can, you can, you can!’ And to anticipate emotional facilitators, that is, thoughts that help to advance and take controlled risks”, Indicates.


Don’t overdo it with too many positive messages of the ‘you can, you can’ type ”

As regards the habit of going to the fridge or pantry Afterwards, without really being hungry, to take a piece of chocolate or some salty cookies with which to alleviate sadness, boredom or jealousy, the advice is to note that when we eat for emotions we look for food that we cannot solve otherwise. However, it is better not to eat the emotions and train them to relax.

Finally, experts in emotional education refer people who suffer the onslaught of some emotions to a phrase by Albert Einstein: “if we seek different results, we can’t always do the same”Especially with those negative emotions that lead to paying a very high toll in terms of health.

Emotional gym tables

In the same way that it is possible to train rational (memory, attention, etc.) and physical (strength, elasticity, etc.) abilities, the same can be done with emotional ones. Here are a few exercises:

Learn to breathe and relax. It’s about knowing how to stop and breathe deeply to get rid of the amygdala sequestration and those situations where control is lost due to emotion.

Express emotions. “That is, being able to talk about what happens to us with others to have different points of view and avoid having an impulsive reaction,” suggests Pérez-Escoda.

Train with little things. Elsa Punset remembers that human beings “are naturally good at managing the great traumas that scare us but that, when the time comes, we get stuck in the small, in the small disappointments and daily setbacks.” Something that the writer Maya Angelou intuited with great grace, when she affirmed: “I have learned that you can discover a lot about a person if you observe how they deal with these three things: a rainy day, the loss of a suitcase and some tangled Christmas lights Punset says. “Improving how we manage small has a very strong impact on our happiness,” he recalls.

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