Don’t Retire-ReFire: ‘Your Emotions’

Finding emotional happiness is a key

By Gail Supplee Tatum, Columnist, The Times

TatumNo matter what stage in life we are, our emotions direct us and, at times, allow logic to go out the window. In the next few paragraphs, we will shed light on this very loaded subject and the ways we can lasso our emotions to enable a peaceful, happy, fulfilling life.

When we’re little, our parents are our guide and barometer, teaching us manners, how to contain our emotions and how to channel our energy towards constructive activities. As we enter society, outside of our family, we must control our emotions and keep them in check. Most of the time this entry into society, starts with school. We must control our emotions when dealing with teachers, staff and classmates, pulling from the lessons we learned from our parents.

If we lose control of our emotions, it usually leads to upheaval and unpleasantness. That could be the first taste of taking responsibility for our actions. When we enter the working world, it is more of the same, except on a heightened level. We are left to our own devices, to control our emotions because many of us are on our own by then. Often times, what is added is the possible stress and strain of making ends meet because of the responsibility of a spouse, children, a mortgage, a car payment and other monthly bills. It takes a lot of truth, honesty and self-control to maneuver through all of the twists and turns of life, while keeping our emotions in check.

As the years fly by, children grow up and move out of the house, things change. They quiet down and then, all of a sudden, BOOM….retirement hits and you wonder what you’re going to do and ask yourself what is your purpose.

The following are three vital behaviors that will help you manage your emotions during this ReFirement stage and, in turn, bring you acceptance, joy and peace.

  1. Whether you are surrounded by people or in the comforts of your own home, and you are finding conflict or unsettledness within yourself, first, identify your exact emotion. What has you fighting your internal battle with how you’re feeling and how you want to be feeling? Ask yourself, “In the big picture, where does this emotion fall?” Are you standing too close to the picture? When we focus solely on that one thing, we lose sight of all the good in our lives. Rate your emotion on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10, being on top of the world. By rating our mood behavior, it forces us to step back and check ourselves. If we step back and see more of the big picture, will the reason for this emotion diminish? It will. As cliché as it may sound, when we count our blessings, the difficult parts of our lives don’t seem so difficult.
  2. Growing up, we had diaries. Now they are called journals. No matter what you call it, get in the habit of writing out what you’re joyful about as well as what you’re struggling with. Use a 1 subject notebook or the note app on your phone. I use that a lot when I’m not in a position to write. Instead, I dictate what comes to my mind when it’s something important that I don’t want to forget. Besides journaling, which is an individual exercise, also use “talk therapy”. By that, I mean, look for ways to interact with people who you would connect with, whether that’s a hiking group, a skiing group, a bible study, a senior center, a therapy group or any other avenue that would give you a sense of community and comradery. It is important to have quiet time but it is essential to be around people. It is a “must” to develop a schedule for times to connect with family and friends. Many of these groups could be free in your community, plus, those of us over 55 years of age have special pricing on meals, movies, theme parks and national parks. It takes initiative, not money.
  3. Emotional happiness has to be the main focus, in order to deal with the twists and turns in life. We must be emotionally prepared to nip negativity in the bud! That comes from being emotionally prepared. Develop a mantra that works for you. Something that you can say over and over again that will give you strength and power. For example, “I Can. I Will. I Must!”

Live in the moment, with no expectations of the future. The unknown will be what it will be. Just go with it. Here’s to ReFirement!

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