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Doctors Sylvia and Milton Gearing have been serving the Dallas-Fort Worth area since 1985 with compassion and professionalism.

The Gearings implement the latest in psychological research to stay at the cutting edge of their field and bring the most effective and life changing techniques to their clients.

Their methods and strategies have been sharpened over the years, and are now built upon Gearing Up’s Three Gears of Change.

Emotional Fitness in the New Year - Jan 18, 2007

Emotional Fitness in the New Year

January 18, 2007

Dr. Sylvia Gearing, TXA 21 News

With the holidays over, many North Texans are getting organized for the New Year. Now psychologists advise that becoming emotionally fit may be one of the best things you can do for yourself in preparing for the New Year. Here to tell us more is Channel 21 Contributing Psychologist, Dr. Sylvia Gearing.

Q: What does the term "emotionally fit" really mean?

Dr. Sylvia: Being emotionally fit describes the set of beliefs that keep us emotionally on track. Just like a well-toned athlete, emotionally fit people have specific thinking and emotional habits that help them to cope with a thousand different stresses which impact all of us on a daily basis. Emotionally fit people are highly resilient and have great tenacity in creating a vision of their goals and in implementing the steps to achieve those goals. They value other people, are good at maintaining their inner strength, and respond well to adversity.

Q: Why is being emotionally fit so important?

Dr. Sylvia: Remaining emotionally fit and resilient in the face of adversity can make or break careers, marriages and even entire corporations. We are simply happier when we are emotionally fit because we focus on the positives, the "possible", and the potential good in any situation. Happy people are half as likely to die and half as likely to become disabled. They have better health habits, lower blood pressure, better health, and more friends because they are more empathic with others. Being self-focused is a symptom of unhappiness, not true satisfaction.

Q: How does emotional fitness develop?

Dr. Sylvia: Any behavior begins in the mind. We now know that our basic belief system creates everything else--our thoughts, emotions and actions. So becoming emotionally fit relies essentially on becoming and remaining mentally fit.

Q: What seems to get in the way of most of us staying fit emotionally?

Dr. Sylvia: Most people either don't know how to become emotionally fit or they do and they are too lazy to practice the skills. Many of us prefer to view our emotions and behaviors as a direct result of the circumstances we face. Nothing could be less true. Circumstances do not determine the outcome of a situation or even of a life. Our response to adversity--how we explain it to ourselves--determines where we end up in life and what happens to us.

Q: So it is not just certain habits that we have to use to stay emotionally fit, the secret is in our overall attitude?

Dr. Sylvia: Attitude is the "motor" that allows the person be remain effective or ineffective. Too often we allow our negative emotions to take hold of our minds and drag us into an unproductive thinking cycle. Getting caught in a thinking trap such as overreacting to a comment or jumping to conclusions can really drag people down. Remaining logical and focused on the solutions in a difficult or ambiguous situation allows us to manage setbacks, losses and traumas more effectively.

Q: What are some steps to increasing your emotional fitness?

Dr. Sylvia: Here are a few great ways to get started:

Courage Under Fire: You must learn to remain calm under fire. Resilient people have an awesome ability to control their emotions even when things get stressful. If you overreact all the time, you'll wear yourself and everyone else out over time.

Impulse Control: People who speak or act before they think things through get themselves into trouble. Becoming emotionally fit demands that impulsive conclusions or actions are rare. Making "snap judgments" or jumping to conclusions can lead to big mistakes.

Count Your Blessings: Focus on the positives and remember that positive emotions literally undo negative emotions. Develop the ability to appreciate the moment--the apple at lunch or the smile of your son or daughter.

Say "Thank You" Often: Expressing gratitude to others is a huge step in becoming emotionally fit. Too often we take for granted the enormous blessings that surround us. Tell a friend, colleague or boss that you appreciate them.

Acts of Kindness: This is a huge boost for remaining emotionally fit. Giving to others is a huge boost for emotionally fit people.
Make a Friend: Make a friend and see them often. Friends are the cheapest medicine, bar none! People with many friends have the lowest mortality rates. Those with the fewest friends have the highest rates of disability and death.