Read an Excerpt
Based on Georgia's book
Taking Out Your Emotional Trash
Take some time for reflection and rank the following areas from 1 to 10. Circle the number where you best fit on the scale, with 10 being "I generally handle well" and 1 being "I need lots of improvement in this area." Under each potential problem area, I've given you two examples (at either end of the scale) to help define what needs improvement or what is emotionally healthy.
Potential Problem Areas
Needs improvement I generally handle well
Relationships with Family and Friends 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 - 3 I have many broken or strained relationships.
8 - 10 My relationships are usually loving and real.
Spiritual Health 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 - 3 I ignore this part of my life. God seems remote and distant.
8 - 10 I regularly spend time nourishing my spiritual well-being.
Unrealistic (or Unfulfilled) Expectations   1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 - 3 I'm demanding of myself & others, seeking perfection and what I want.
8 - 10 I realize there are people and areas I can't control. Good enough is good enough.
Anger and Resentment 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 - 3 I'm controlled by anger. I've hurt and harmed others with my angry feelings.
8 - 10 I find constructive ways to handle my anger. I don't hold onto resentments.
Grief, Loss, and Hurt 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 - 3 I have not processed or grieved my shattered dreams, deep hurts, or unwanted changes.
8 - 10 I give myself permission to grieve. I accept my sadness and anger. I'm willing to face the pain of loss.
Fear and Worry 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 - 3 I?m paralyzed or easily trapped by fear and worry. Some days I have trouble focusing on the task in front of me.
8 - 10 I can trust God. My fear and worry do not negatively affect my daily life.
Guilt and Shame 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 - 3 I'm overwhelmed by or feel stuck in guilt and/or shame. I spend lots of energy dealing with these thoughts and feelings and try to hide them from others.
8 - 10 I can identify when my guilt is valid (I didn?t meet a standard I set) or false. I have at least one person with whom I can share my insecurities and shame or guilt.
Appropriate Boundaries 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 - 3 I'm a people pleaser at the expense of my own well-being.
8 - 10 I realize I can't do everything for everyone. I prioritize my time and energy and can tell others kindly when I'm not able to do something.
Self care (sleeping, exercising, eating well, etc.) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 - 3 I don't get enough sleep, eat junk food, and rarely exercise.
8 - 10 I understand how my emotional well-being is affected by lack of food, sleep, and/or exercise). I am intentional about protecting my physical health.
Tally the number of "1s" you circled. Then tally the number of "2s" you circled, and so forth. Now count how many circles are at 5 or below. Where do you fall in the three categories below? This indicates your general level of emotional well-being.
One or two circles at 5 or below: You are probably dealing with some of the normal struggles of managing your emotions. We all have emotional trash. . . the question is what are you doing with yours? Taking Out Your Emotional Trash can help you handle your junk in a timely and healthy way.
Three to five circles at 5 or below: Your health and relationships are probably being impacted by negative thoughts and feelings you are ignoring or denying. Taking Out Your Emotional Trash helps you to identity what is hindering your closest relationships so that you can move toward the joy of intimate loving connections.
Six or more circles at 5 or below: You need to address these areas before a crisis develops. You have two choices: (1) you can change; or (2) wait for that crisis. Taking Out Your Emotional Trash can save you years of pain! You also might want to find a pastor or Christian counselor who can guide you as you remove the thoughts and feelings that are toxic to your health and relationships. It's never too late to learn how to handle your emotions constructively.
Look again at your self-assessment. Any area that has a number 4 or lower is an area you can choose to improve. Start with one area. For example, if you have a 4 on "guilt and shame" and a 1 for "anger and resentment," focus on anger. What would be the next step for you? Start by seeking God's wisdom and godly counsel. For constructive ways of handling your frustrations, irritations, and anger you would want to read chapters five and six in Taking Out Your Emotional Trash (available from Barnes & Noble and other bookstores nationwide). You'll learn how you can reduce those blowups and the fallout of your pent-up emotions.
Later, you could read chapter nine in my book Taking Out Your Emotional Trash. It addresses guilt and shame and will give you practical suggestions. Each chapter in the book provides tools to help you tackle various emotions.
It's the awareness of where you are emotionally (which this questionnaire helps you identify) along with the commitment to change that enables you to begin reversing any tendencies to react rather than respond to your emotions. What would motivate you to take action?
• You want to be a good role model for your children or grandchildren.
• Growing emotionally and spiritually is extremely important to you. You aren't having any serious relationship problems but you are feeling stuck.
• Your closest relationships are deteriorating and your friends are distancing themselves from you because of your moodiness, insecurities, jealousies, or anxiety.
• You've become aware how your negative emotions are affecting your performance at work.
• You've put off dealing with some of your negative thoughts and feelings because you figured everything will work out on its own. You now realize that's not going to happen.
It's time to bag up that junk!
I want to take action and dump my junk because __________________.
The first step I need to take is ______________________.
The person who could help me with this or hold me accountable is ____________________.
Decide now to have a better life?free of constant emotional stress, miscommunication, pent-up anger, and out-of-control responses. In Taking Out Your Emotional Trash, Georgia Shaffer provides mentally healthy choices and a workable plan of action. Whether you have your own emotional clutter or live with people who are stuck in the rut of unforgiveness and unfulfilled expectations, this book is the tool you need to move into emotional and spiritual health.
Speaker and Author of A New Kind of Normal & Between a Rock and a Grace Place
As our level of emotional stress rises, so does the need for Georgia Shaffer?s Taking Out Your Emotional Trash. Whether we hoard our feelings or unload them on those closest to us, we can all benefit from this excellent resource. If you are a parent, counselor, pastor, life coach, or simply want to strengthen your closest relationships, I highly recommend this book.
Executive Director of Christian Coaching Alliance, Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach
About author: Georgia Shaffer is a PA licensed psychologist, certified life coach, and the author of Taking Out Your Emotional Trash: Face Your Feelings and Build Healthy Relationships. She writes and speaks frequently on the subjects of relationships, growing emotionally and spiritually, dating, grief, and rebuilding after loss. Her book for singles is entitled How Not to Date a Loser: A Guide to Making Smart Choices. For more resources, visit: GeorgiaShaffer.com.