Words of Wellness

February 15, 2009 | The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner

A New Kind of Stimulus Package

There is much talk about the economic stimulus package right now.† Is it enough?† Is it too much?† Will it work?† Was the process that produced the package and the vote on the package flawed?† Even the strongest backers of the package are telling us that it will take some time before we will begin to see positive results. †

†††† So in this time of anxiety and fear (drum roll and trumpet fanfare please) I am delighted to announce a new stimulus package that I boldly guarantee will show positive results immediately!†† This plan is not an economic stimulus package, but an Emotional Stimulus Package.† This Emotional Stimulus Package may not effect your financial bank account, but I guarantee that it will have positive effects on your emotional bank account and the emotional bank accounts of those around you.

†††† Here's the idea behind the package:† First, think of yourself and everyone you know as having an "Emotional Bank Account (EBA)."†† Many others have talked about this idea and so while I'm not claiming to be original with this concept, I am saying that we need to be more aware of this than ever right now.† This EBA exists inside all of us.† Like any bank account, deposits and withdrawals are made in our EBA everyday.† We make deposits in one another's EBAs when we give compliments freely, or sent a note, or make a phone call, or make time to be with someone important to us.† We also can make deposits in our own EBA by practicing good self-care.† Getting enough rest, eating well, taking time each day to reflect, pray, and/or meditate all add to a positive balance in our EBA.† Of course we also make withdrawals in the EBAs of others and ourselves as well.† Irritation, impatience and criticism of one another make withdrawals and it doesn't even have to be verbal--just a look or tone of voice can have the same effect.† And each of us has an inner critic that can easily overdraw our† own EBA if we're not careful.

†††† That's the idea, now here is the Emotional Stimulus Package I am proposing:† Make five deposits for every one withdrawal in your EBA and the EBAs of the people that are closest to you--your friends, your children, your spouse, your colleagues and everyone with whom you have regular contact.† A deposit can take many forms so be creative in how you express positive regard for others.† A withdrawal is when you need to ask someone to change a behavior or you need to express frustration with something they are doing.† The challenge is to keep the ratio of deposits to withdrawals at five to one.† If you want to be reckless why not go for a ten to one ratio?!† There is one other rule for this package.† You cannot harbor any expectations regarding "pay back" from the people with whom you are practicing this.† They simply may not have yet heard of this Emotional Stimulus Package, or may not have embraced it.† But if you stay true to these principles, I guarantee that in time, they will. †

†††† Perhaps the best part of this stimulus package is that it will not cost you or me a dime.† I must say though, in light of full disclosure, it may cost us in some other ways.† We may have to give up some other things, like our "need to be right," or our need to be in control, or negative thinking, such as,† "I'll give positive regard when they deserve it!" or our need to be detached.† And while this Emotional Stimulus Package may not add to your financial bottom line, it will definitely enrich your life and your relationships beyond measure. †

††††† Have fun, and visit our blog in a couple of days (see below on how to get there) to let us know how it goes!

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