Having just seen the beautifully inspiring movie Mao’s Last Dancer, I feel an analogy coming on! I am irresistibly drawn to make the comparison between dance training and (of course :-) emotional mastery practice. As dancers train their bodies daily to build the strength and control they need in order to execute their movements with the desired ease, we can train our minds and bodies to generate positive feelings, feelings of appreciation, joy and love. Doing this for our own growth and stress management, we also build the strength to generate the feelings easily and quickly when we need them to help or relate to others. I recall my days (too, too long ago!) as a dancer and teacher of dance, and the self-discipline required to achieve even the basic skills - the enthusiasm I felt before any success was achieved helps put the practice of emotional mastery in easy perspective – like building any muscle, it requires enthusiastic, repetitive practice!
Some people identify more with the analogy of a savings account in the bank; practicing generating positive emotional states is like putting money in the bank; after a while, when you need to call on it (or you need ‘funds’), you have it there to draw on, rather than draining the overdraft!
Whichever way we see it however, whether it's as daily practices or daily investments, such frequent attention can only lead to good results. Mao's Last Dancer is just a particularly beautiful example!