Emotional Agility by Susan David

Mariel Witmond
Mariel Witmond

19 December, 2018

It’s funny because the more you read books of the self-help genre, the more you realise that what’s being said has been said before in some shape or form – and who knows for how long! That said, with over 20 years of research, Susan David PhD (a psychologist and faculty member at Harvard Medical University) does a beautifully eloquent job of addressing emotional adaptability by paying attention to our inner monologue and being in tune with our values and desires in order to make the necessary changes to live our best lives – a life where we “walk our why.”

Susan illustrates how we all encounter the same challenges in life, but how we choose to react to them differentiates the emotionally agile from the rest. Her book is entirely in line with all I learnt through life coaching, reinforcing the importance of being in tune with your true nature, not getting hooked on self defeating thoughts, being compassionate towards ourselves rather than critical, choosing which thoughts to dwell on, looking into the deeper meaning behind what we are feeling, and knowing what matters to us and our values so we can live our lives purposefully and in line with them – aka living intentionally. Teaching you to work with your emotions, she astutely explains that when you know about the things you do care about, you can be free of those you don’t.

One of the areas that most stood out for me was when discussing goals and the impetus behind them, Susan describes the “wagging finger versus the willing heart,” which is essentially goals of free will versus those done out of obligation. It is important to look at what fundamentally drives our goals because they will have a direct impact on their success rate. We need to find the want behind the goal as motivation has a big part to play in whether we stick to them or not.

I found myself regularly taking notes with this book and highly recommend it for those working on their own emotional wellbeing or looking to help others with theirs!

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