Emotional health is an important part of overall health. People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. They are able to cope with life’s challenges. They can keep problems in perspective and bounce back from setbacks. They feel good about themselves and have good relationships.
Studies have shown that emotional wellness leads to happiness. Here’s how.
Being emotionally healthy does not mean you are happy all the time. It means you are aware of your emotions. You can deal with them, whether they are positive or negative. Emotionally healthy people still feel stress, anger, and sadness. But they know how to manage their negative feelings. They can tell when a problem is more than they can handle on their own. They also know when to seek help from their doctor.
October is Emotional Wellness Month and emotional wellness is critical to our well-being and health. Mental health is one of today’s major health challenges, as approximately one in five individuals suffers from a mental health episode each year.
Emotional wellness is a term often used in spiritual circles, and it can often serve to fend off mental challenges, but what is it, and what does it mean to be emotionally well?
According to the National Center for Emotional Wellness, the term refers to an awareness, understanding, and acceptance of your emotions, and your ability to manage effectively through challenges and change. When you’re tuned into your feelings, then you can more easily become aware of your bodily sensations.
The more you act on your feelings and emotions, the more reliable they become. Remaining in the present moment and adhering to a sense of mindfulness, without looking back too much into the past or the future, is also very important for your emotional well-being.
Being emotionally well encourages you to slow down and fosters the practice of mindfulness.
Being emotionally well doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re happy all the time, but rather, that you’re self-aware and able to shift as a way to feel better. Being emotionally well leads to a happier and more blissful life, and also allows you the opportunity to attain your full potential.
For the most part, being human means having challenges and problems; however, it’s all about how you deal or cope with those issues that determine your emotional wellness. It’s also about embracing all the goodness in your life and looking at your glass as half-full rather than half-empty.
Path to improved well being
Emotional health is an important part of your life. It allows you to realize your full potential. You can work productively and cope with the stresses of everyday life. It helps you work with other people and contribute to society.
It also affects your physical health. Research shows a link between an upbeat mental state and physical signs of good health. These include lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease, and a healthier weight
Here are some questions to help you ascertain if you’re maintaining a sense of emotional wellness:
- How do you treat others in your life, both personally and professionally? Those who emotionally well tend to be more sensitive and compassionate about the needs of others, and in general, are more spiritually generous.
- Are you grateful? Emotionally healthy people feel gratitude for their lives and for all the goodness they experience. They’re appreciative of what they do have rather than bemoaning what they do not have. They usually count all their life’s blessings, and this does not always pertain to money or material objects, but rather, relates to more spiritual aspects of their lives.
- Are you happy with the person you are? Those who are emotionally healthy are usually content with themselves. They might feel as if they’re living the lives they’ve always wanted to live. They also take care of themselves physically and psychologically by doing what is beneficial for them. And, they’re rarely complainers, but instead, might be seekers who are often trying to become better people and help those around them do the same. They might also engage in positive self-talk.
- Are you open-minded and flexible? This means that you’re self-aware and listen to the thoughts and musings of yourself and others. Also, you do not feel attached to any particular dogma or philosophy but are willing to hear the viewpoints and musings of others.
- Do you have a life purpose? Those who do generally have a well-developed sense of well-being because they have a reason to wake up in the morning. They also have a tendency to see life’s bigger picture. They tend to know their core values, what’s most important to them, and how to focus on those values. Their purpose gives life meaning, whether it’s professional, family-oriented, or community-oriented.
- Do you have ways to manage your stress? Those who are emotionally stable have their own ways of navigating the stressors in their lives, whether it’s meditation, exercise, talk therapy, or creative pursuits such as art, music, or writing. They’re able to maintain a balance between work and play.
Signs of Emotional Wellness
- Having the ability to talk with someone about your emotional concerns and share your feelings with others
- Saying “no” when you need to without feeling guilty
- Feeling content most of the time
- Feeling you have a strong support network i.e. people in your life that care about you
- Being able to relax
- Feeling good about who you are
- In general, maintaining a sense of well-being in our everyday lives can relate to both the positive and negative activities in our daily routines (Garling, Gamble, Fors, Hjerm, 2014). Positive well-being leads to happiness, whereas negative well-being tends to lead to depression and mental challenges. If we all try to maintain a good sense of emotional wellness, then this world will definitely be a better place, but it takes a group effort, and there’s no time like the present to begin.
There are many ways to improve or maintain good emotional health.
- Be aware of your emotions and reactions. Notice what in your life makes yu sad, frustrated, or angry. Try to address or change those things.
- Express your feelings in inappropriate ways. Let people close to you know when something is bothering you. Keeping feelings of sadness or anger inside adds to stress. It can cause problems in your relationships and at work or school.
- Think before you act. Emotions can be powerful. Give yourself time to think, and be calm before you say or do something you might regret.
- Manage stress. Try to change situations causing you stress. Learn relaxation methods to cope with stress. These could include deep breathing, meditation, and exercise.
- Strive for balance. Find a healthy balance between work and play and between activity and rest. Make time for things you enjoy. Focus on positive things in your life.
- Take care of your physical health. Your physical health can affect your emotional health. Exercise regularly, eat healthy meals and get enough sleep. Don’t abuse drugs or alcohol.
- Connect with others. We are social creatures. We need positive connections with other people. Make a lunch date, join a group, and say hi to strangers.
- Find purpose and meaning. Figure out what it is important to you in life, and focus on that. This could be your work, your family, volunteering, caregiving, or something else. Spend your time doing what feels meaningful to you.
- Stay positive. Focus on the good things in your life. Forgive yourself for making mistakes, and forgive others. Spend time with healthy, positive people.
Things to consider
People who have good emotional health can still have emotional problems or mental illness. Mental illness often has a physical cause. This could be a chemical imbalance in the brain. Stress and problems with family, work, or school can trigger mental illness or make it worse.
Counseling, support groups, and medicines can help people who have emotional problems or mental illness. If you have an ongoing emotional problem, talk to your family doctor. He or she can help you find the right type of treatment.