Emotional Fitness
discovering our natural healing power
by Janice Berger

Chapter Summaries

Part I: Keys for Emotional Well-Being 

We readily accept and appreciate that our bodies have a natural healing power to deal with physical injuries and disease; less understood is our natural ability to heal from the suffering of emotional distress.

We all have this capacity to heal. Just as we can assist our bodies to heal physically with good nutrition, proper rest and exercise, we can also assist our natural emotional healing power by understanding how it works and facilitating its functioning.

We can all learn to access our natural emotional healing power in order to live more healthy lives.

Chapter 1
Our Natural Emotional Healing Power Revealed

Imagine feeling good about yourself and feeling in charge of your life, saving energy by being open, direct and honest in your communication and seeking others who are able to be this way too, feeling free inside and exercising choice in making decisions, facing conflict openly and standing up for yourself. Imagine allowing and accepting all of your feelings and coming to know and like who you are.

We all possess this capacity. It is available to us at any age.

Subtitles in this chapter are:
• What is our natural emotional healing power?
• Each life is like a tapestry
• Trusting in our natural emotional healing power
• Feelings as signals
• Can I always trust my feelings?
• Our natural emotional healing power is revealed in our over and underreactions
• Raw wounds
• Becoming aware

Chapter 2
Access Denied: Our Power Subverted

When our natural emotional healing power is subverted we do not complete feelings surrounding trauma and they stay buried within us. They become a reservoir of unfelt pain. Feelings are not buried dead; they are buried alive. They come up when we least expect them. They confuse and confound us. We control them in many different, destructive ways.

Subtitles in this chapter are:
• Losing our real selves
• Original wholeness undermined
• Fearing feelings
• Consciousness
• Splitting off, becoming unconscious and disconnected
• Fear of losing control
• Defenses: keeping ourselves from feeling
• Crucial defenses when we are young
• When we cannot feel, we act out
• The turning point

Chapter 3
The Nature of Responsibility and Blame: A Necessary Understanding

Taking responsibility for our feelings is the major key for emotional fitness in our lives. When we take this responsibility we gain a deep emotional understanding of ourselves. We then have the possibility of having solid, caring and responsive relationships. When we do not take responsibility for our feelings, problems arise.

Subtitles in this chapter are:
• Responsibility
• Taking care of ourselves is an important responsibility
• Accountability is not the same as blame
• Blaming
• Blaming ourselves
• Blaming others
• Manipulating
• Avoiding responsibility for our actions
• Responsibility to ourselves comes first
• Commitment to feel is taking responsibility
• Learning to change
• Letting go

Chapter 4
A Leap Of Faith: Learning to Use Our Natural Emotional Healing Power

It requires a leap of faith to learn to use our natural emotional healing power, since everything our conditioning teaches us flies in the face of accepting and using this process. We have all been powerfully conditioned to deny and diminish our feelings.

Subtitles in this chapter are:
• The route to ourselves is through our feelings
• Healing begins when we can identify our feelings
• No "should" to feelings
• Feeling through and connecting
• From the present to the past
• Self-acceptance and self-esteem
• Better the devil we know
• Fear of feeling deeply
• Going to the deeper levels
• Insight and cognitive knowing are not enough
• Opening up and getting clear
• Risk to heal
• What feeling is stopping me?

Chapter 5
Turning the Key: Supportive Activities That Help Us Engage Our Natural Emotional Healing Power

There are many activities that can help us learn to listen to ourselves, to open to our experience and to process our feelings. These activities are useful because they help us slip by our normal censors to access feelings that we are keeping hidden from ourselves.

Subtitles in this chapter are:
• Journal writing
• Collages, clay modelling, painting, crayoning
• Developing a time line
• Writing an autobiography
• Writing letters that we do not send
• Finding like-minded people to be with
• Finding support through reading
• Using our dreams
• Photographs and memorabilia
• Former homes
• Art, drama and music
• Our body
• Meditation
• Prayer
• Language
• Noticing our defensive reactions
• Feeling like a child

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