October is Emotional Wellness Month. What a year 2020 has been! If there was ever a time to check in on your emotional wellness, it’s now. We will dive into why emotional wellness is so important, our own emotional wellness, and how to become emotionally healthy. But first:
What IS Emotional Wellness?
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. Emotional awareness can be likened to a check engine light on a vehicle. If you do not pay attention to the warning light, you may soon be on empty without a way to re-charge. Paying attention to your feelings helps you understand where they come from and hopefully accept that they are valid. Feelings are better treated as indicators, rather than dictators. Feelings do not get to 100% rule decisions, yet they can teach you what's going on inside. Dismissing or avoiding your feelings can keep you stuck in unhealthy patterns--mentally, emotionally and relationally.
In our fast-paced world, it's hard to slow down and be in the moment, yet emotional wellness requires this practice--often referred to as mindfulness. Emotional wellness does not mean that you only feel positive emotions, rather it means accepting how you feel and then being able to cognitively engage the thinking patterns that may influence those feelings. This is a big step in helping you reach your full potential.
Importance of Emotional Wellness:
- Resilience to stress. ResearchTrusted Source shows that emotional distress makes you more vulnerable to physical illness by impacting your immune system.
- Deeper relationships. When you’re equipped with the skills to manage your emotions, it’s easier for you to connect with others and show more empathy and compassion. You’re also better able to hold arguments and talk through your feelings.
- Higher self-esteem. Your thoughts, feelings, and experiences influence the way you feel about yourself. Good emotional health helps you see the best in yourself despite challenges.
- More energy. Having a positive outlook makes you feel more energized and helps you focus and think more clearly, whereas poor emotional health depletes your mental resources and leads to exhaustion.
Check in With Yourself and Your Emotional Wellness:
- Are you comfortable with who you are?
- Are you adaptable and resilient?
- Do you have positive relationships with the people in your life?
- Do you have a sense of purpose?
- Do you take care of your physical health?
- Are you comfortable saying “no?”
- Do you make time to relax?
Emotional wellness - we know what it is, why it’s important, and we have checked in with ourselves. Let’s finish with tips on becoming emotionally well.
5 Tips for Becoming Emotionally Well:
- Practice Emotional Regulation - Emotions can and sometimes will get the best of you, but learning coping strategies to temper them can help you respond instead of react to upsetting situations. Some coping strategies include: meditation, journaling, mindfulness, listening to music, and talking to a therapist.
- Exercise - If you’re overwhelmed with stress at work or at home, getting regular exercise can feel impossible. But taking the time for physical activity can nourish both your emotional and your physical health. Aim to set aside 30 minutes a day for some kind of physical activity. If you’re short on time, find 10- or 15-minute chunks of time to go for a quick walk.
- Strengthen Social Connections - Your links to others can have powerful effects on your emotional and physical health. Staying connected with loved ones can provide a buffer when you’re going through challenges. Foster these connections by spending time with close friends and family, either in person or over the phone.
- Be mindful - A growing body of research links mindfulness with less emotional reactivity and greater relationship satisfaction. Mindfulness can be as simple as focusing on one thing at a time, trying a social media detox, or turning household tasks into a mental break. The point is to be consistent with your mindfulness practice and dedicate even just a few minutes to something you enjoy.
- Get Quality Sleep - Sacrificing sleep makes you more vulnerable to stress and anxiety. One 2018 study found that being sleep-deprived leads to more repetitive negative thoughts. Being overly tired can make you more emotionally reactive. That emotional reactivity can negatively affect your outlook, performance, and relationships. Make sure you’re being consistent with your sleep and waking times as well as optimizing your bedroom environment so that you’re getting enough rest.
- Develop Your Emotional Vocabulary--Looks up a feelings chart (could link one) and practice identifying specific emotions you've experienced in the last week. You could also grab a spiral notebook or journal and keep a feelings log. The best way to build awareness of your feelings and still remain in control of them is to write down what you felt during the course of any given day and also details that surrounded the feeling.
Parkridge provides professional counseling for free--for a variety of mental, emotional and relational challenges. Parkridge also offers free pregnancy and STD testing. Call Parkridge today at: 806.794.8555 to get more information about our services or book an appointment. No hassle, no judgment. Just free and confidential.
How to Build Good Emotional Health. Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/emotional-health#benefits Accessed on: October 20, 2020.
What is Emotional Wellness. Psychology Today. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-empowerment-diary/201910/what-is-emotional-wellness Accessed on: October 22, 2020.
7 Signs of Emotional Wellness. Bach Remedies. Available at: https://www.bachremedies.com/en-us/emotional-health-blog/7-signs-of-emotional-wellness Accessed on: October 22, 2020.