Figuring Out Emotions Using An Emotions Diary

Figuring Out Emotions Using An Emotions Diary

One of the skills I am passionate about developing is emotional literacy. There are many reasons why, however one of the main reasons is because I knew I needed to relearn. One of the main ways I have learnt to figure out my own emotions is by using an emotions diary/ journaling guide. However, before I share how I started to figure out my emotions using an emotions diary, let’s discuss emotional literacy and why it is important.


Why Develop Emotional Literacy?

Emotional literacy is the building block of emotional intelligence. Subsequently, when we develop our own emotional literacy we can access and develop important information about ourselves and others and process any emotional baggage (don’t worry we all have it!), take better care of ourselves and look after wellbeing.


What is Emotional Literacy?

Just as learning to read and write begins with literacy of letters and sounds, learning to interpret and manage feelings begins with emotional literacy. The term “emotional literacy” was coined by Claude Steiner in 1979.

The definitions of emotional literacy include –

  • “To be emotionally literate is to be able to handle emotions in a way that improves your personal power and the quality of your life and – equally important, the quality of the life of the people around you. Emotional literacy helps your emotions work for you instead of against you.” ~ Claude Steiner
  • “Emotional literacy is the ability to put feelings in to words so that those feelings can be understood within some sort of psychological context.” ~ Tian Dayton
  • “… lets us sort out all of those feelings, name them and begin to understand their causes and effects. It is the basic building block of emotional intelligence.” ~ Joshua Freedman
  • “Emotional literacy helps us precisely identify and communicate our feelings. Naming them helps us identify our unmet needs; communicating them helps us identify those people who voluntarily assist us in meeting our needs. The key to emotional literacy is using simple, clear and direct three-word I messages like – ‘I feel sad.'” ~ Steve Hein

After reading the above, do you agree that emotional literacy could be a useful skill to develop? If so, read on as I share one way I have been figuring our my emotions using an emotions diary.


Figuring Out Emotions Using An Emotions Diary

To develop my own emotional literacy, I chose to create an emotions diary. I used this diary regularly, not just when I was going through a difficult time. It also helped me to understand and learn to manage my emotions more effectively on a day-to-day or maybe more accurately on a moment-to-moment basis (and yes I still journal with it).

An emotions diary is basically keeping a journal or ‘notes’ on your emotions. You can write about the name of the emotion/s, shifts in them, what was going on at the time or leading up to you noticing the emotion, whether or not you thought the emotion/s was appropriate and were any other people present. Also, I chose the word emotions instead of feelings as it resonated with my intention more. Basically an emotions diary is an empowering way to reconnect with your self and explore what is going on within you.


An Example of An Emotions Diary

There are a number of pre-made journals available, for me I like to keep things simple, so all you really need is some paper and pen/pencil. Following are the key aspects I include in my emotions diary –

1. Date / Time:

I include the date and time so I can look back on how I have changed and evolved over time.

2. Description of Emotion:

Trust me, I know naming an emotion can be challenging as learning to identify and label an emotion are skills in themselves, so when I started I just did my best and when required used these “primary emotions“. I then also like to add – does this emotion feel good or bad? Up or down? How intense is the emotion on a scale of 1-10 (1 = low intensity and 10 = high intensity).

3. Event / Situation:

Was there an event or incident that led up to the emotion? If so, I write them down. I include (if relevant), where I was, who I was with and what was going on.

4. Physical Sensations:

What did I notice going on in my body and where did I notice it?

5. Behaviour / Action:

What behaviour and/or action did I take? Was this behaviour / action a reaction or a response? Was this appropriate? What helped me cope with this emotion?

6. Moving Forward:

Is there something I can learn from this? Is there anything I can do in relation to the event / situation and/or emotion? If so, what? How can I move forward and/or release this experience?


Over to You…

Remember, figuring out our emotions using an emotions diary can take a while, It is not something you master over night, it takes time to see results (and I continue to learn). If you choose to start to use an emotions diary, I recommend taking your time, bringing your self-compassion with you and discover what works best for you as we are all unique.

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What Are My Essential Needs?

What Are My Essential Needs?

So a few days ago, I wrote about what’s in my resilience toolkit after a number of people had asked how I had been coping with the world at present. Today I wanted to delve a little deeper and share what my essential needs are and where this concept came from. Let’s get started…


What are Essential Needs?

I came across Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs when I was studying at university. Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) started his professional career as a behaviourist, however moved on to become a psychoanalyst. In 1943, in a paper titled “A Theory of Human Motivation”, he proposed the psychological theory known as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. He suggested we had two different types of needs –

  • the first four levels are needs relating to survival and focusing on deficiencies (D-needs)
  • the final layer and needs relating to psychological growth and focusing on being ourselves and everything we are capable of becoming (B-needs).

Maslow suggested we focus on the first level of motivation and then once that is met, then we can focus on the next level. The Abraham Maslow – Hierarchy of Needs are as follows:

Abraham Maslow - Hierarchy of Needs

What are My Essential Needs?

When I read about this concept it resonated with me, and subsequently I started making small tweaks in my world. By looking at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, I identified a range of essential needs for myself, including  –

  • Biological and psychological needs – some of these include: drinking water each day, eating nourishing food, having comfy clothes), meditating, getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep and moving my body,
  • Safety needs – including living in a safe environment, honouring and listening to my emotions and having a place to live where I feel safe,
  • Belongingness and love needs – again, some of them include having family and friends who understand and listen to me, contributing to the community,
  • Esteem needs – learning new things and taking responsibility for what I can control, and
  • Self-actualisation needs – continuing to grow and evolve.

The above are a quite a few examples of my essential needs. It took me a while to recognise I had essential needs and to take care of them. Subsequently, it continues to be a work in progress for me (even though I lead a pretty simple life) 🙂


What are Your Essential Needs?

If you would like to, feel free to identify your own essential needs, by using the table above 🙂 As you are identifying your needs (if you choose to), remember to identify a need and not a want! What is the difference? Glad you asked! Personally I see the difference as –

  • a need, when filled nourishes you and helps you survive, and
  • a want, when filled entertains you or “It would be nice if..”.

If you confuse or substitute a want for a need, it can drain or deplete you of money, time and energy.

Over to You…

I hope this has give you some insight in to my essential needs at the moment. Over the years, what I have learnt working with clients and from my own experiences is that your deepest needs cannot be met by spending money, eating extra amounts of food or winning awards.

Meeting your essential needs is also an individual thing, something you need to find out for yourself. Kahlil Gibran puts it this way “Your friend is your needs answered.”


Ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards your freedom and opening your heart, why not join our Toolkit?


Reference –

Maslow, A.H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50(4), 370-96. Retrieved from


What’s In My Resilience Toolkit?

What’s In My Resilience Toolkit?

At the moment we are being asked to adapt and change. With change comes uncertainty. And uncertainty, can bring challenges challenges and quite often suffering. Within this dialogue of change, the concept of resilience is not too far behind. Subsequently, today I wanted to share with you a little about resilience, change and what’s in my resilience toolkit at the moment as I navigate the changes within my world. Let’s get started…


What is Resilience?

There are many definitions of resilience, including –

  • “the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.” ~ Google
  • “ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or thelike; buoyancy.”
  • “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.” ~ Google and Oxford Dictionaries
  • “the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens” ~ Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  • “Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress – such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. It means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences.” ~ PsychCentral

Is there anything you would add to these definitions? If so, what?


What is Change?

Change is one of the few certainties in life.

Many of us want to change different things in our lives or about ourselves, but that is not the challenge.

The challenge (or issue) is we criticise and judge ourselves harshly for not making the change. And subsequently end up being in resistance with the present moment, which equates to suffering.

A few years ago, it dawned on me. I realised I had to change on the inside for the outside to change. It was a real lightbulb moment and I developed a deeper understanding of what Aldous Huxley meant when he said – “I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.”

There are many definitions of change, including –

  • “to make or become different” or “an act or process through which something becomes different” ~ Google
  • “to exchange one thing for another thing, especially of a similar type” or “to improve”Cambridge Dictionary
  • “to give a completely different form or appearance to; transform” ~ The Free Dictionary
  • “to become different, or to make someone or something different” ~ MacMillan Dictionary
  • “to become different”, “to make something or someone different” or “to become something else” ~ Merriam-Webster.


Types of Change

There are many types of change you can make in your life. It really depends on a number of factors, why you are wanting to make the change and also what context you are referring to the change in. For example – if you are reading this from an organisational perspective, changes can be made in relation to –

  • the people (i.e. cultural change, personnel changes and social change),
  • the organisation (i.e. leadership, structural or strategic change) or
  • the system (i.e. systems and processes, business expansion or improvement).

From a personal perspective, you can be experiencing change in a number of areas including –

  • your environment (i.e. where you live and your surrounds),
  • your relationships (i.e. meeting new people),
  • your physical health (i.e. the food you are eating and how much exercise you are doing),
  • your mental health (i.e. the thoughts that are continually going on in your head and whether you are reacting to them or choosing to respond),
  • your emotional health (i.e. experiencing your emotions or surpassing them), and
  • your spiritual health.

So, with change continually happening, what’s in my resilience toolkit?


A Peak in to My Resilience Toolkit

Over the years I have learnt a number of tools or resources that I have in my resilience toolkit. Over time, these resources have built up my resilience and resourcefulness, so I can respond to life’s challenges the best that I can at that moment in time. Following are the tools / resources that I continually come back to –

1. Practising Mindfulness

When I first starting learning mindfulness, I was on 3 or 4 “energy” drink a day, trying to be the best version of myself I could be. That made practising a little challenging 🙂 I persisted though and today, I continue to practise. Why? Because as I have so often said, the moment I think I have it is the moment I have lost it. As Sharon Salzberg says – “Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.” 

2. Cultivating Self-Compassion

Unbeknownst to me, I had a very strong inner voice. When I first read Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, by Dr Kristin Neff, I was surprised that I could be kind to myself. As a professional athlete, I learnt to be very critical and in the end realised I had a deep sense of unworthiness and never felt good enough. Therefore, learning self-compassion and continuing to cultivate it in my life has been an absolute gift and one that I will continue to cultivate. Remember – “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” ~ Jack Kornfield.

3. Taking Time Out To Journal

Yep I am an introvert and love being in my own space. I really enjoy taking time out to journal. Reflecting in my journal helps me to develop self-awareness on what is going on in my inner world, which in turn helps decrease my stress levels, sleep better and focus on what I can control. “I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” ~ Anne Frank.

4, Moving My Body

Even though I was once a professional athlete, I didn’t always like moving my body. I had some unlearning to do here as well, in particular around learning to listen to my body, not seeing movement as a punishment or earning the right to eat.  Today I am grateful I have found a variety of movement activities I really enjoy and have fun with. There is no pressure for me to achieve anything – I just have fun. Remember – “Your body hears everything your mind says.” ~ Naomi Judd

5. Eating Nourishing Food

Mmm, yep I had some (un)learning to do here as well. Growing up, I learnt about “good and bad” foods, what “I should and shouldn’t eat” and also a few other beliefs I needed to see and untangle from. Over the years, I am grateful that I have learnt to listen to my body and eat food that nourishes me. I am definitely still “a work in progress” here, however I little by little I continue to remember what Evelyn Tribole reminded me – “If you don’t love it, don’t eat it, and if you love it, savor it.”

6. Connecting With Family and Close Friends

Now this is in no particular order, just how they came to mind as I was writing! Even though I am an introvert, each day I connect with different family and close friends to check-in to see how they are going. Yes there is a lot of evidence about the importance of connection, so I suggest finding people whom you can trust and continue to create strong loving relationships. “A loving relationship is one in which the loved one is free to be himself – to laugh with me, but never at me; to cry with me, but never because of me; to love life, to love himself, to love being loved. Such a relationship is based upon freedom and can never grow in a jealous heart.” ~ Leo F. Buscaglia.

7. Cultivating Gratitude

Yes I am big fan of counting my blessings. I have so many things to be grateful for in my life and continue to cultivate gratitude daily. There is a lot of research on gratitude, just in case you needed some extra insights in to the benefits. “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson.


Over to You…

I hope this has given you some insight in to what is in my resilience toolkit! Yes, there are other skills and tools, however that might be for another day 🙂 What is in your resilience toolkit? Please know, I have invested a lot of time and effort to learn and develop these skills. I also continue to cultivate, maintain and grow these resources as they help support my own well-being (so be kind to yourself as you learn and grow). Do you have any questions or comments? If so, feel free to share them below!

Ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards your freedom and opening your heart, why not join our Toolkit?

Continuing to Be Courageous in My Life

Continuing to Be Courageous in My Life

One thing I have learnt in my life is that if I want my life to change, I need to do the work – no-one else can do it for me. Yes, it can be challenging. However, when I am in these challenges, I remember to read and re-read the following quote by Brené Brown –

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

Today, I wanted to share with you one way I am continuing to be courageous in my life, even though it is uncomfortable at times. However, before I do that, I just wanted to make sure we are on the same page about courage.


What is Courage?

There are many definitions of courage including –

  • “the ability to do something that frightens one; bravery,” and “strength in the face of pain or grief.” ~ Google
  • “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.” ~
  • “the ability to control your fear in a dangerous or difficult situation” and “to be brave and confident enough to do what you believe in” ~ Cambridge Dictionary
  • “The ability to do something that frightens one; bravery” ~ Oxford Dictionaries
  • “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty” ~ Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  • “The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession,confidence, and resolution; bravery.” ~ The Free Dictionary
  • The Latin origin of cor means ‘heart’ and middle English denotes the heart, as the seat of feelings.

So looking at the definitions of courage, would you agree it would be useful to have some courage in your toolkit for your life, career/business and your relationships?


One Way I Am Being Courageous In My Life

A few years, ago I made a promise to myself to be my own best friend. Part of that process was to tell the truth about where I was in my life and where I wanted to be. Yes it was (and still is) uncomfortable, however I know it is important if I want to continue to commit to my purpose. Over the years, I have started to see there is a difference between honest and truth. Honouring these differences, has helped me to continue to be courageous in my life.


What is the Difference Being Honest and Telling the Truth?

Normally, when I discuss differences between words, I look up a dictionary. However, when I looked up honest in the Cambridge Dictionary, this is what I found –

“telling the truth or able to be trusted and not likely to steal, cheat, or lie.” 

Obviously, this presented a little challenge as they truth was in the definition of honesty. So to clarify, for me, I see them as –

  • Honesty – relating to me (i.e.. my thoughts, feelings, judgements, opinions about a situation) and expressing each of these things as accurately as possible, and
  • Truth – the accurate facts (i.e. data) representing the reality of a situation.

An example of how I have used honesty and telling the truth in my life follows –

  • Honesty – I am feeling guilty about spending so much on groceries this week,
  • Truth – I spent $90.80 on groceries and $8.00 of that was on cookies.

Once I develop awareness around these differences in my life (with my self-compassion of course), I can then consciously choose which steps to take in my life, so that they move me towards my dreams 🙂


Over to You…

I hope this post has given you some insight in to one way I continue to be courageous in my life. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

Ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards your freedom and opening your heart, why not join our Toolkit?


How Do I Want to Express Myself as a Woman?

How Do I Want to Express Myself as a Woman?

This is the question I have been pondering of late – “How Do I Want to Express Myself as a Woman?” It is very real and raw as I continue to meet deep beliefs within.

Last week the tennis season started. Yes, I have been watching it on TV and was lucky enough to watch two days live with friends at the QLD Tennis Centre. I grew up in the world of tennis and the sport helped to shape who I am today.

However, I have also noticed a limiting beliefs reappear when I was at the tennis about being a woman and continue to do the work to release it. Subsequently, today I wanted to explore that idea about beliefs, so you can then choose to make conscious choices about how you want to express yourself as a woman. Let’s get started…


What Are Beliefs?

Let’s start with having a look at some definitions on beliefs. Beliefs are –

  • “an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof.” ~ Google
  • Belief is the state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case, with or without there being empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty.” ~ Wikipedia
  • “Assumptions and convictions that are held to be true, by an individual or a group, regarding concepts, events, people, and things.” ~ Business Dictionary

Now let’s have a look at limiting beliefs.

“If what you believe is actually true, you don’t need to believe it.” ~ Ron Smothermon


What Are Limiting Beliefs?

A limiting belief is something you believe to be true that limits you in some way. The limiting belief could be about you, other people or the world. These beliefs may –

  • hold you back from making different choices in your life,
  • keep you from seeing the different opportunities presented to you each day,
  • prevent you from seeing you own gifts or accepting the gifts offered to you, or
  • keep you stuck focusing on the negative aspect of your circumstances.

One of the challenges with limiting beliefs is most of us don’t think we have them and they can be hard to spot.


Where Do Limiting Beliefs Come From?

Limiting beliefs can come from many places, including – family members, teachers, coaches, media, society and culture. They are formed by repeated thoughts and are mostly created in childhood from interactions with the people around us (N.B. this is not about blaming anyone, particularly our parents).

As children’s brains are not fully developed, they can take on many limiting beliefs from their immediate environment as they do not know the difference between what is real and what is not. For example – a situation occurred in childhood, interpretation about the situation was made, which led to making meaning, that lead to a thought. That person then believed that thought (whether it was true or not), kept thinking it as other similar situations occurred over time, Subsequently, it became a belief.

“Nothing binds you except your thoughts; nothing limits you except your fear; and nothing controls you except your beliefs.” ~ Marianne Williamson


Some Limiting Beliefs About Being a Woman

There are many examples of limiting beliefs. They can be general or specific. Specific limiting beliefs relate to specific areas of life – including money, family, friends, work, health and fitness and general beliefs are more global and can relate to many different areas.

Following are a couple of limiting beliefs I have had as a woman –

  • “Feminine means weak”,
  • Asking for help is a sign of weakness“,
  • “It’s not safe to show my feminine essence”,
  • “Expressing emotions are a sign of weakness”, and
  • “The masculine is more productive and gets the job done more effectively.”

Maybe you can relate to some of these? For me, I continue to untangle from these beliefs as I do not see them as true. I imagine a different woman now and am very clear on how I want to express being her. It is similar to the woman in the following poem – ‘Imagine a Woman’. Maybe the following poem will inspire you to imagine a different type of woman, like it did for me.


‘Imagine a Woman’ by Patricia Lynn Reilly

“Imagine a woman who believes it is right and good she is a woman.
A woman who honors her experience and tells her stories.
Who refuses to carry the sins of others within her body and life.

Imagine a woman who trusts and respects herself.
A woman who listens to her needs and desires.
Who meets them with tenderness and grace.

Imagine a woman who acknowledges the past’s influence on the present.
A woman who has walked through her past.
Who has healed into the present.

Imagine a woman who authors her own life.
A woman who exerts, initiates, and moves on her own behalf.
Who refuses to surrender except to her truest self and wisest voice.

Imagine a woman who names her own gods.
A woman who imagines the divine in her image and likeness.
Who designs a personal spirituality to inform her daily life.

Imagine a woman in love with her own body.
A woman who believes her body is enough, just as it is.
Who celebrates its rhythms and cycles as an exquisite resource.

Imagine a woman who honors the body of the Goddess in her changing body.
A woman who celebrates the accumulation of her years and her wisdom.
Who refuses to use her life-energy disguising the changes in her body and life.

Imagine a woman who values the women in her life.
A woman who sits in circles of women.
Who is reminded of the truth about herself when she forgets.

Imagine yourself as this woman.”


Over to You…

How do you want to express yourself as a woman? I hope this post has helped you identify a few limiting beliefs that some of the woman I work with also have about being a woman. Do you have any questions or comments? If so, feel free to share them below!

Ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards your freedom and opening your heart, why not join our Toolkit?


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