Emotional Health, Wellness and Why They’re Important
No one is credited with introducing the concept of emotional wellness, but we’re glad it exists. It appears that the idea has been brought to public attention in the 50s. Up until then, Western cultures didn’t seem to be too interested in the matter. However, Indian and Chinese cultures have developed rituals and strategies to take care of their bodies and minds as well since ancient times.
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Over the past decades, scientists have become more and more interested in understanding how emotional health can impact one’s overall health and happiness. Taking care of our emotional well-being has become a focal point of the overall wellness movement, and in order to raise awareness, October has become Emotional Wellness Month.
Emotional wellness, which is also known as emotional health or emotional wellbeing, represents one’s ability to handle their emotions and the various experiences they encounter over the course of their life. The National Center For Emotional Wellness defines emotional wellness as “an awareness, understanding and acceptance of our feelings, and our ability to manage effectively through challenges and change.”
How Emotional Wellness Affects Your Life
There are a few areas of your life in which emotional wellness has a direct impact. Let’s see how your ability to handle your emotions can make a difference in these three areas.
When interacting with others it is important to understand that each of us can have a different perspective about certain issues. Sometimes we’ll disagree with other people’s opinions, but in order to keep relationships happy and healthy, we need to learn to disagree in a calm and appropriate manner.
If you can’t manage your own emotions it will be even more difficult to deal with those of others. Our emotional wellness will affect our relationships, be they personal or professional.
Work or school environment
Whether you’re still in school, still deciding what you want to do later in life or already decades into your career, your ability to handle various situations is vital for your success and mental wellbeing.
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Seeing people that you might not even like in your everyday life, dealing with stressful work challenges or feeling obliged to make difficult decisions will slowly consume you if you don’t approach these situations with a positive mindset. Knowing how you feel and being able to face your emotions in a healthy way, will lead to better outcomes in your scholastic or professional life.
As obvious as it may seem, your emotional health is a large part of your overall mental health. However, while this fact applies to anyone, for those who already face mental health issues, dealing with emotions can be even more challenging. Maintaining a positive mindset and seeing a health care professional whenever necessary will help you deal and navigate through your emotions in a more successful way.
What Is an Example of Emotional Wellness?
You realize that you’re in control of your emotions when you respond instead of react
When you respond to a certain situation, that is an exercise of emotional intelligence. To simply react is to be emotional.
So what do you need to do to make sure you consistently respond instead of react? First, begin by slowing down – take a step back, take a deep breath and try to think through what you want to happen next in your current interaction or conflict. Responding means you are composed, thoughtful and you allow creative ideas to enter the process. Reacting is the opposite of responding – it happens immediately without any thinking and it usually leads to negative outcomes.
Benefits of positive emotions
A poor emotional health can lead to major problems in your life, whereas having a strong emotional wellness can help you thrive. Emotional well-being allows you to focus on the positive and manage the negative emotions you may feel in a given situation. Here are some of the major benefits of positive emotions:
Your stress levels will be significantly reduced and this will boost your immune system
You’re more likely to develop healthier and stronger relationships with others
Positive well-being will help you be more productive and accomplish more in life.
How to Improve Your Emotional Wellness
To learn how to take care of your emotional well-being and maintain it, we’ve selected seven tips that will help you manage stress, boost your immune system, stay resilient, and improve your overall mental health.
It’s absolutely normal to be in a bad mood every now and then. You can’t be positive all the time, but having a constantly negative attitude will eventually undermine your happiness. So cut yourself some slack, give yourself some credit for all the things that you do, practice forgiveness and gratefulness, and try to focus on the good in your life as much as possible.
We are social beings and that means we need the company of others from time to time. Healthy social connections have a powerful effect on our emotional health. To maintain and strengthen your social circle, reach out to your friends and dear ones, even if it’s by phone or through social media.
Try to relieve stress
It’s impossible not to feel stressed in certain situations. Ironically enough, stress can also have its benefits as its energy rush can help you get things done in no time.
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Chronic stress, on the other hand, means constantly being on “high alert” and that’s never good for your health. Here are some healthy ways to help you avoid or reduce your stress levels:
Get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night, as sleep affects your overall well being.
Exercise or walk 30 minutes every day. Spending time in nature is associated with lower levels of stress and depression.
Prioritize your tasks. Know what needs to be done immediately and what can wait, and learn to say no to new tasks if you already feel overwhelmed.
Try to remain in the present moment.
The feeling of having too much to do often causes frustration, stress and anxiety. Whether it’s about everyday tasks (as mentioned above) or about people, you need to learn to establish some boundaries. Here are some ways that might help you with this:
Decide what’s actually worthy of your time and energy
Let others know about the things you are not willing to tolerate and don’t feel obligated to say “yes” in order to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. Your feelings matter just as much.
Accept yourself – flaws and all
In our journey to reach perfection, we are usually our own harshest critic. We set some ridiculous expectations for ourselves that we wouldn’t normally set for others.
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But you have to let go of what you think perfection looks like and learn to accept that you’ll sometimes fail and that some things are beyond your control. Forgive yourself for your past mistakes and surround yourself with positive affirmations.
Learn how to cope with loss
The death of a loved one or losing a romantic partner can feel overwhelming. But your friends and family can help you make it through, if you let them. Other ways that will help you cope with loss include:
Avoid bad habits that can put your health in danger (such as substance abuse). Try to eat right, engage in physical activity and get enough sleep.
Moving on after losing someone takes time and it’s only natural to feel roller-coaster emotions for a while. However, if you feel overwhelmed, maybe a grief support group will help in dealing with your feelings.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help
If stress is taking a toll over your emotional or physical health, know that it’s ok to ask for help. You can start by having a conversation with a friend or a family member that you trust. You can also ask others about how they’ve dealt with a similar situation. And if you feel that a simple conversation isn’t enough, you can always seek the advice of a mental health professional.
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