What is Emotional Metabolism (and how to boost it)

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Metabolism is a buzzy word that is thrown around a lot in health products and diet advertisements. “Do this to boost your metabolism now,” “Eating this slows your metabolism,” and so on…It seems like the whole world can’t stop talking about the physical metabolism, but did you know you have an emotional metabolism too?

What is metabolism?

Metabolism is the process wherein your body takes in things from the environment such as food, air, and water, and processes it to be used for food and fuel to keep the body running optimally. This process also neutralizes any toxins that could be potentially toxic to your system.

It makes sense that we would want to increase this process and encourage our bodies to be running as smooth and effectively as they can. After all, a dysfunctional metabolism can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, and weight gain if you don’t look after yourself and strive for a healthy lifestyle.

But there is also another type of metabolism we should take steps to boost as well…emotional metabolism.

What is emotional metabolism?

Just as your body needs to process and sort all of the substances that it takes in, you also have to process all the emotions you experience and separate the bad from the good. We all experience emotions. Love, anger, compassion, courage, fear, joy, sorrow. Emotions define what it is to be human and reflect the best and worst of who we are on the inside.

The concept of emotional metabolism recognizes the fact that these emotions we generate, and the emotions of those around us, could quickly become overwhelming if you were to pull them in and store them all. Our ability to metabolize emotions shields us and helps us digest those dangerous feelings that threaten to bring us down and allows us to feel the emotions that feed our mental health more deeply.

When everything seems to be going right, and you just won’t let anything drag you down, your emotional metabolism is running at full speed. Operating effectively and allowing you to process negative emotions without being controlled by them while propelling you forward on the flow of positivity.

Emotional metabolism doesn’t always function properly, however, and can get clogged up in the same way that physical metabolism can sometimes get a little behind and off track. Those moments when you just can’t seem to shake the anger at your boss for their unfair treatment of you and you snap at the waitress two days later. Or when your relationship is struggling so, you constantly belittle the other person because you are bitter against them. These are times when your emotional metabolism could use a reset.

Like nutritional metabolism, it requires effort to make emotional metabolism run more smoothly. Without that effort (in both cases) we can feel sluggish, tired, weak, and frustrated. Just as it is so easy to mindlessly eat bag after bag of chips and fill your body with toxic food, it is also easy to mindlessly fill up on toxic emotions such as worry, disappointment, jealousy, judgment, and fear.

The solution is this: Make emotional metabolism a priority. You control your emotions. Not the other way around. Get in touch with how you process external and internal stimuli and actively participate in the regulation of your own feelings.

How to boost your emotional metabolism

Take kind words to heart

Rather than shrugging off a compliment or attempting to downplay an accomplishment, recognize when someone gives you a kind word. Take this to heart and truly appreciate it, knowing that it came from a place of sincerity. Allow the compliment to fill you up, look the person in the eye and say “thank you” letting them know what it meant to you. Embrace and own the positive aspects of yourself and believe that what the other person has said is true. Own your confidence and embrace your identity.

Feel your feelings

Believe it or not, feelings are meant to be felt. You experience emotions for a reason and shoving them down is one of the greatest mistakes you can make. This allows them to control you and explode when the pressure just becomes too much. Rather than allowing yourself to become emotionally constipated, allow your feelings to wash over you and actually process them. Come to a place of peace and acceptance and stop pretending that your emotions don’t exist. Then you will experience true freedom.  

Focus on the positive

Incorporate positive, thoughts into the stream of negativity that often assaults your mind. It is estimated that 70-80% of peoples thoughts every day are negative in some way. Meditate on positive affirmations about yourself and others and eliminate as many mental toxins from your environment as you can.

-The Alternative Daily

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