Are You Conscious of Your Emotional Fuel Tank?

on Jan 19 in Personal Development tagged by

When do you stop to refuel your car? When you have a half a tank, a quarter of a tank, or when the gauge is on empty? If you are like many people, you wait until the last minute before stopping for gasoline, even though this basic resource is critically necessary to the functioning of your car. Waiting until your car is running on fumes can cause you unnecessary stress and frustration.

If you have just enough fuel to make it to the gas station, what happens when you…

  • encounter a detour and must take a longer way?
  • are running late, and it’s not convenient to stop?
  • are in heavy traffic?
  • can’t find a station open because it’s very late at night?
  • have an unexpected emergency that requires the use of your car?
  • find that someone else has used your car, and it is completely empty?

Just as automobiles have physical fuel tanks, human beings have emotional fuel tanks. Your tank is filled when you meet your basic psychological needs. Your emotional tank holds your sense of self and your motivational energy. When you are self-aware and monitor your internal gauges, you can keep the tank full of emotional energy to fuel your life. By creating an environment that replenishes your fuel (through focusing on your emotional needs), your tank is filled, and you feel empowered and confident to move forward. You have the power and control to deal with life’s situations, the expected and the unexpected.

When running low on emotional energy, you may feel additional stress, anxiety, worry, or that you are burning the candle at both ends. As this occurs, you lose your capacity to stay proactive and responsive to your environment; instead, you become reactive. How can you tell when you are getting low on emotional fuel? Feelings serve as your gauge to identify when you are low on coping resources. You might feel overwhelmed, anxious, jittery, tired, swamped, stubborn, edgy, worried, scattered, or impatient; all are signs of being close to empty.

By recognizing the signs and gauging your emotional resource levels, you can take a step back and make conscious, proactive choices. To remain proactive, you must keep your emotional fuel tank full. By positively taking care of yourself, you manage your needs and have the necessary emotional resources on hand to deal with your environmental demands. Just as it’s smart to keep your car with a large fuel reserve, it’s smart for you to do what you need to do to take care of yourself before you run out of your emotional fuel.

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