Nationally renowned author, Paul Bird, speaks at a Blackburn Youth Zone event

Paul Bird, author of, “Emotional Fitness…changing the way you think and feel”, recently spoke at a Blackburn Youth Zone event. An unquestionable highlight of the event – Paul spoke about ‘Emotional Fitness’ – a concept very relevant to the work we are doing at Blackburn Youth Zone. We asked him to elaborate on some of the ideas he covered in his talk, and how we can relate them to our work with young people in Blackburn…

Paul Bird

At Blackburn Youth Zone’s November Supporters’ Event – I spoke about the need to focus on Emotional Fitness. With 20% of young people suffering some form of mental health problem each year, and 25% of adults reporting stress, anxiety or depression each year – the need to put Emotional Fitness, the ability to choose how we think and feel, as a number one health priority has never been greater.

We need to teach people, young and old, how to choose how they think and feel so that they can take personal responsibility for their own actions rather than being driven by instinctive emotions and thoughts. People who are emotionally fit are more resilient to life’s knocks, more self reliant and more resourceful when it comes to achieving what they want. People who can’t or won’t choose how they think and feel fall victim to external events and cite circumstances beyond their control as the reason for not fulfilling their potential.

In my book – available from my new website www.emotionalfitnessgym.co.uk – I explain that choosing how we think and feel is not as easy as it sounds. Our emotions and thoughts are often triggered so fast that we do not always have time to choose them. The reason for this is that our instincts, which monitor our most basic needs, automatically trigger emotions to motivate us to satisfy our needs. When our needs are satisfied we feel good and our thinking is calm and rational. When our needs are not met however we can be overwhelmed by a strong desire for satisfaction which triggers our fight or flight response and irrational, defensive or aggressive thinking. This is why people often resist help when emotionally overwhelmed or seek addictive short term relief in the form of food, drink and drugs. Choosing how we think and feel is how we master Emotional Fitness. It involves learning how to overcome the physical symptoms which accompany emotional overwhelm and also understanding the message behind our emotions so that we can choose positive ways to satisfy our instinctive needs rather than allowing instinctive feelings and thoughts to define our behaviour.

Blackburn Youth Zone has an outstanding opportunity to provide not just excellent recreational facilities, but also first class coaching support for young people who might be struggling to choose how they are thinking and feeling. Part of the planned training for the team at BYZ will involve Emotional Fitness training to help the team better understand their own emotions and those of the young people they support.

For further information on Emotional Fitness training and coaching please contact Paul direct on 07976 327377 or visit his website www.emotionalfitnessgym.co.uk