Emotional wellness is just as important to our overall well-being as physical wellness. It is the ability to understand and manage one's emotions, as well as being able to cope with challenges and stressors.
In today's fast-paced world, it can be easy to overlook the importance of emotional health. However, by building some simple tips into your emotional wellness toolkit, you can prioritize your mental health and start leading a more balanced life.
Emotional wellness is the ability to understand and manage your emotions in a healthy and productive way. It involves being aware of your feelings and how they affect your thoughts and behaviors. Emotional wellness also means being able to cope with stress and life's challenges in a positive way, rather than letting them overwhelm you.
Taking care of your emotional health is important because it has a massive impact on your general well-being. Emotional health impacts our relationships, our work, and our daily lives.
When we are emotionally healthy, we are better able to handle stress, communicate effectively, and maintain positive relationships. Emotional strength also helps us to be more resilient and adapt to the changes and challenges in our lives, even when they're unexpected.
Some of the most common emotional wellness challenges that people face include stress, loneliness, and feelings of anxiety or depression. It's important to recognize these challenges and take steps to intervene and address them in the present moment before they become more serious.
Self-care is any activity that helps you to take care of your physical, mental, and emotional health. It's important to make time for self-care activities in your daily routine, as they can help to lower stress levels and combat poor emotional health. When we we make taking care of ourselves a priority, we are better equipped to handle life's challenges and manage our emotions.
Examples of self-care activities:
Meditation or yoga
Getting enough sleep
Spending time with loved ones
Taking a relaxing bath
The connections we have with others play a critical role in our emotional wellness. Positive relationships give us an avenue to alleviate stress and increase our overall happiness.
Peer reviewed studies have shown that having strong social connections can help us reduce stress, improve mood, and increase resilience when experiencing difficulties¹.
During times of social isolation, it can be challenging to maintain social connections or expand our social circles. However, there are still ways to stay connected virtually. Utilize video conferencing and social media platforms to converse regularly with your loved ones.
Ways to connect with others:
Join a club or organization
Volunteer in your community
Attend social events or gatherings
Explore your favorite hobby
Stress is a natural response to challenging situations. Whether those situations are large life events or daily work stressors, they can build up to have a negative impact on your overall mental health and mental well-being. Long-term stress is particularly detrimental to staying healthy emotionally.
It's important to note that individuals have different stress triggers, and what may cause stress for one person might not affect another person in the same way. Managing stress effectively involves identifying personal stressors and finding healthy coping strategies to reduce or manage their impact.
Examples of stressful situations:
Major life changes
Personal expectations and perfectionism
Stress can have a significant impact on emotional wellness. It often triggers feelings of anxiety and excessive worry, leading to heightened apprehension and unease. Chronic stress can cause mood swings, emotional instability, and periods of sadness or low mood. It can also create a sense of overwhelm, making it difficult to focus, make decisions, or cope with daily tasks.
Enduring stress may cause feelings of irritability and anger to become more prominent, and individuals may struggle to manage their emotions. Sleep disturbances, reduced self-esteem, social withdrawal, and self-confidence issues are common effects of stress as well.
Recognizing the impact of stress on emotional well-being is important, and seeking more support, practicing self compassion, building a positive mindset, and adopting healthy coping strategies can help us maintain our positive well-being even in the face of stress.
Coping strategies for stress:
Regular exercise or moderate physical activity
Meditation or yoga
Practicing gratitude involves focusing on the positive aspects of our lives and expressing appreciation for them. It is a great way maintain emotional health and teach yourself to have a more forgiving attitude toward yourself and others.
Practicing gratitude shifts our focus from negativity to positivity, cultivating a sense of joy, happiness, and contentment². By acknowledging and appreciating the good things in life, we can promote positive emotions. Gratitude enhances resilience by helping us find meaning and value in challenging situations, enabling us to bounce back from adversity and redirecting attention away from worries and uncertainties to foster a calm and relaxed state of mind.
Expressing gratitude also strengthens relationships and social connections, as it fosters appreciation and warmth, leading to positive interactions. Moreover, gratitude improves self-esteem by encouraging individuals to recognize their own strengths and accomplishments. You could even experience better and longer sleep by incorporating your gratitude practices before bedtime for a peaceful mindset.
Ways to cultivate gratitude:
Keep a gratitude journal
Express gratitude to loved ones
Emotional health is critical to leading a balanced and fulfilling life. By practicing self-care, connecting with others, managing stress, and practicing gratitude, you can prioritize your mental health and emotional well-being. Try to incorporate these healthy habits regularly in order to truly experience the full benefits of a balanced life.
(1) Martino, Jessica, et al (October 2015) The Connection Prescription: Using the Power of Social Interactions and the Deep Desire for Connectedness to Empower Health and Wellness
(2) Cunha, Lúzie Fofonka, et al (March 2019) Positive Psychology and Gratitude Interventions: A Randomized Clinical Trial