Somewhere along the path to securing success and living our best life, we lose sight of our emotional sense of wellness. We get caught up in our hectic schedules and busy lives.
It becomes a delicate balance of staying in engaged with our jobs while taking care of our families.
Somewhere along the way, we sacrifice ourselves, ignoring those things that impact our physical, mental and emotional wellness.
What Is Emotional Wellness?
Emotional wellness plays a significant role in our lives. It provides us with a sense of self-empathy, and it allows us to have an awareness of feelings. This awareness of feelings extends not only to others in our lives, but it starts with self-appreciation. Emotional well-being can serve as a boost to our self-esteem and enables us to be resilient.
Emotional wellness does not mean being happy all the time. Emotional wellness is when a person’s belief of what they are feeling becomes realized into physical manifestations of that belief.
Consider the following, when you feel optimistic and ripe with encouragement; it creates an aura or feeling, triggering the release of endorphins and positivity. Emotional wellness allows us to feel in sync with life’s purpose, family, social life, and work.
Other benefits of emotional wellness include:
- An ability to manage stress
- Self-care skills
- Comfortable in seeking support for others
Emotionally well individuals recognize that to remain in emotional health they must confront even the most difficult of situations. There must always be a sense of control or self-care and self-management.
Each of these perceptions feeds into our overall quality of life. When we have emotional wellness, we are capable of controlling our feelings. We can participate in decision-making activities without the confusion of other influences that may be internal to who we are or from the environment surrounding us.
What Happens When We Are Not Emotionally Well?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), wellbeing is a vital component of mental health. Emotional wellness motivates us to feel happy, take an interest in life, and gives us an extraordinary sense of satisfaction (NIH, 2015). We are productive, and we are positive beings. Unfortunately, emotional wellness is not always our top priority.
Without it, we will have a difficult time coping with the normal stresses of life or being a productive member of society. The ability to regulate our emotions is a critical ingredient for mental wellness. This skill allows us to manage our stress and reduce the risk for psychological conditions such as depression.
Symptoms Of Emotional UnWellness
Emotional distress is the opposite of emotional wellness. This condition may manifest itself in a variety of somatic or psychosomatic symptoms triggering a vast array of issues that mimic health problems.
At one point or another, we all experience somatic symptoms such as a racing heart, stomach butterflies when we are nervous, or body aches when we are angry or stressed.
Recognizing these symptoms may help you to determine if they are genuine problems that signal an actual health problem or if you are in emotional distress.
Other symptoms that may emerge in the face of emotional distress
Many people who experience emotional distress find themselves tussling with insomnia. A lack of sleep can contribute to emotional distress, impacting your day to day interactions with other people. Feelings of exhaustion and fatigue can have a detrimental impact on your capacity to focus or engage with others around you. Sleep is an absolute must for emotional wellness.
Aches and Pains
Unfortunately, emotional distress can burrow itself within our bodies in the form of aches and pains. Headaches, back pain, muscle aches, and other sources of pain can wreak havoc on your quality of life and further complicate your state of emotional well-being.
Lack Of Concentration
One of the most significant problems you may encounter is the inability to concentrate for long periods accompanied by memory loss. In addition to feeling exhausted, frustrated, worried and stressed, you then have to deal with memory problems and concentration issued. Combined this can lead to more stress and even depression.
When we are in emotional distress, our self-esteem suffers, leaving us vulnerable to scars from the field of the battlefield of life.
Depression, Anxiety and Impulse Disorders
Emotional distress can increase the risk for mental illness symptoms and conditions such as feelings that accompany anxiety and depression. Experts associate impulse disorders with an increased probability of risk behaviors such as tobacco, alcohol, and drug use. Each of these things can place our emotional wellness at significant risk (surgeongeneral.gov).
Poor Eating Habits
When we are emotionally distressed, we have a terrible habit of turning to unhealthy foods to help us cope with the situation at hand. Appetites may increase or decrease during difficult times which can coincide with depression.
Sudden Weight Gain or Weight Loss
If you find the scale moving up dramatically or down, it is possible that your body may be responding to factors impacting your emotional health.
Feeling Temperamental or Obsessive
Sometimes our emotions get the best of us in a difficult situation, but we are especially sensitive to emotional conditions. If big things and small things alike trigger your temper, it is possible that you may be in the throes of emotional distress. We often spew anger when under attack or the weight of stress.
When we, are without emotional wellness, we become insecure or sometimes look for other ways to establish control. Some people may find that they exhibit compulsive behaviors such as “neat freak” behaviors that exceed the norm or excessive hand washing.
A significant change in your behavior or in the way you treat others can be telling sign of emotional distress.
Difficulty Making Decisions
Emotional distress can cause us to waffle a bit in our decision-making process or even lead us to make bad decisions that are built on emotion rather than intellect.
Signs Of Emotional Wellness
The University of New Hampshire identifies the following as signs of emotional wellness:
- Being able to relax
- Feeling good about who you are
- A state of being content
- Saying “no” when you need to say “no” without feelings of guilt
- The ability to speak with others about your emotional concerns and;
- The capacity to share your feelings with others
25 Ways To Develop Emotional Wellness Skills
With practice, you can promote healthy emotional wellness skills bestowing a sense of awareness, mindfulness, and clarity. You may have to make a lifestyle change to get there, but there are small things you can do in your day to day existence to improve your state of emotional wellness. Here are twenty-five ways to create emotional wellness.
#1 Maintain Healthy Relationships
We have a terrible habit of minimizing the importance of relationships. We must look for ways to express our needs without creating too much chaos and confusion in the process of communicating with others. Look for opportunities to be there to lend support or a helping hand to friends and members of your family. Become a listening ear and offer encouragement.
#2 Make New Friends
One might think that we have enough friends in our lives but introducing new relationships into our world can add a new dimension to positivity and a happier mood. New friends can offer new perspectives and create a new world of optimism. Take the time to expand your circle of support.
There are proven relationships between physical fitness and emotional wellness. Physical fitness can deliver a wide array of positive side effects that we tend to ignore including natural mood elevation. Regular exercise improves our mental health and reduces symptoms associated with anxiety and depression. While exercise is great for your body, it’s also beneficial for our emotional wellness. No matter how busy you get, make time for adequate exercise.
#4 Practice Mindfulness
Create opportunities to quiet your mind and achieve awareness. Mindfulness is deeper than meditation. Although we equate the term mindfulness with meditation, it is more about gaining a recognition and perception of self.
Sure, it entails sitting in a quiet space, carefully managing your breathing and appreciating the clarity of a moment but, it can serve as a lens into self-acceptance. With self-acceptance, we get to reap the benefits of being compassionate and accepting of others.
In addition to improving your emotional health, the practice of mindfulness meditation provides a bevy of benefits including:
- Stress management
- Immune system boost
- Confidence builder
- Improves concentration
- Reduces symptoms associated with anxiety and depression
- Slows aging
- Reduction in blood pressure
For meditation to be effective, consistency is key. Mindfulness prompts us to live our lives in the present.
#5 Embrace Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
When you can see yourself clearly –moods, thoughts, flaws, strengths, and weaknesses, you begin to identify how it is each of these aspects can have a positive and negative impact on your emotional beliefs and reactions. Practicing emotional wellness can assist us in training our minds to make better decisions and readjust how it is we respond to others and situations.
#6 Stress Management
Stress is unavoidable. We cannot escape it or prevent it from making an appearance in our day. We cannot neglect the impact it may have on our lives or how we handle problems. Practicing emotional wellness enables us to make better decisions about the foods we eat, examine our relationships, and other aspects of our chaotic world on a daily basis so that we become more methodical in our approach of problem-solving
Visualization can be an excellent way to examine your issues and set a goal for resolving them in a way that promotes emotional wellness. Visualization is a mental practice that challenges us to use our mind. Close and imagination to visualize a specific outcome in our lives.
If you find yourself struggling with a particular problem or making a decision, try visualizing the result. This action may require you to imagine yourself within one or more scenarios to produce the final decision or outcome.
How to Practice Visualization
For visualization exercises, you will need to find a quiet space. Sit or lay down. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Imagine a serene place such as a beach, staring out into the ocean at sunset. Hear the sounds of the waves. Smell the scent of the sea. Feel the sand between your toes.
#8 Learn from Your Mistakes
It’s cliché, but the adage stands the test of time. Learn from your mistakes. Mistakes may evoke feelings of failure but putting your emotions aside and taking your lesson from the error can prove beneficial long-term. It opens your eyes to those things that are within your control and those things not in your power. Finding the path to acceptance can do wonders to boost your motivation to try again.
#9 Push Forward
It’s easy to sulk after an infuriating event, however, stewing in all that is wrong will do nothing for your mental health. Find a way to push forward by doing something that redirects your thoughts and attention elsewhere. What’s done is done. Read a book. Watch a favorite movie or listen to your favorite music, but find something to help you get past a disappointing experience.
#10 Define Your Self-worth
Self-worth is an absolute must for emotional wellness. None of us are perfect, but we each do something well. Find value in yourself. Take the time to celebrate your successes –professional and personal. Acknowledge your positive attributes and their importance in your life and the world. Self-worth can lead to self-empowerment.
Stare down your limitations and weaknesses and find the confidence to be who you are as an individual.
Teach yourself to care for and value who you are as a human being. Steer clear of self-criticism and self-destructive behaviors. Instead, focus on your strengths and what it is you do well.
#11 Establish Emotional Wellness As A Priority
Make your emotional wellness a priority. Take your emotional wellness seriously. It will require you to make a conscious effort to self-reflect and make decisions that prioritize you and not others. Develop healthy coping techniques that allow you time to think and regain a sense of self.
#12 Ask For Help
The next skill requires us to be proactive in seeking help. This suggestion can be in the form of professional support, or it can be in the way of friends and family. Friends, sometimes make the best listeners as they can be objective and offer advice. Also, friends can help us with everyday tasks that might otherwise seem overwhelming in the face of other problems creating emotional distress in our lives.
Do not shy away from help. Seize opportunities to share your feelings with others who can offer practical advice. Do not isolate yourself from the world or support system around you. Sure, it may be appealing to handle everything yourself, but it’s not good for your emotional wellness. Accept the support of others.
#13 Express Yourself
Tell people around you when you are upset about something. Do not hold it all inside and allow it to swell. Bottling up your feelings can trigger symptoms of stress. Learn to find safe and constructive ways to express yourself. Look for ways to manage your anger and find forgiveness when possible.
Forgiveness can help you to manage your stress and reduce the sentiment behind your anger or resentment.
#14 Positive Attitude
Find a path to positive thinking. Establishing a positive outlook does not necessarily mean you can eradicate negativity from your life. Instead, it enables us to grow and usher in new ideas and positive feelings.
Positive thinking does not require you to ignore all of the bad things that are happening around you but instead allows you to approach life productively and positively.
Rather than dwelling on all of the bad things that may occur, you can shift your thoughts to believe the best may emerge in a problematic situation.
Self-talk is one facet of positive thinking. It forces us to take control of all of those negative thoughts running through our mind and convert them into positive thoughts. An optimist is an example of individuals who regularly practice positive thinking.
The Mayo Clinic cites several health benefits that accompany positive thinking:
- Lower levels of distress
- Decrease in rates of depression
- Increased life span
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Better coping skills
Emotional wellness requires us to squash negative emotions and recover from negative experiences. This quality also enables you to bounce back faster from difficulties.
Characteristics Of Negative Thinking
Sometimes we may not recognize negative thinking. The Mayo Clinic states there are four characteristics of examples of negative thinking.
- Polarizing – When we polarize, we only see things as being good or bad. There is nothing in the middle, and we tend to believe that perfection is the only way.
- Filtering – Filtering takes place when we magnify the negative parts of our life but ignore or filter out all of the positive facets of our life. We all have done it at one point or another. You complete 20 tasks amazingly in a single day but those three things you execute poorly on that same day override your thoughts.
- Catastrophizing – Anticipating the worst in every situation is catastrophizing behavior. One bad event in your day can lead you to believe that the rest of your day is sure to be horrible.
- Personalizing – Do you assign blame to yourself for every bad thing or make “what if” assumptions? If so, you may be personalizing things that are not your fault. This act can contribute to negative thoughts and behaviors. How can you integrate positive thinking into your daily practice? Don’t No one expects you to become a born-again optimist suddenly or to see the world through those perpetual rose-colored classes. Ignoring what is real can have an adverse outcome as well.
Becoming A More Positive Thinker
Try one or more of the following steps to become a positive thinker
- Find Humor
- Look for humor in even the most difficult of situations.
- Identify the Fuel of Your Negative Thinking – Something in your life may be triggering negative thoughts. Take some time out for reflection to better understand why this area of your life is proving to be so complicated. Examine what steps you need to take to take control and turn things around.
- Awareness – Practice awareness. Make a concerted effort to be aware of negative thoughts as you confront complex situations.
- You must become resilient and find a way to wellness.
#15 Confront Stress
Stress can create a feeling of fight or flight, enabling us to rise to the top in even the most difficult of environments and situations. Long-term stress, however, can become exhausting. You must establish healthy coping mechanisms for resilience and emotional wellness (National Institute of Health).
#16 Get Some Sleep
Never underestimate the need for sleep. Adequate rest can give us a great deal of perspective and support our mental and physical health. Sleep enables us to make better decisions, think clearer and have better focus.
Sleep replenishes our energy levels and permits us to navigate even the most difficult of tasks or events.
#17 Find Your Work-Life Balance
Work! Work! Work! Be careful not to allow work to rule your life. Remember to take time off for yourself and your family. Remember, you have to invest in your relationships. It is a balance that will require you to set clear goals and make efforts to stick to the plan without creating too much additional stress in your life.
#18 Don’t Be Afraid to Make a Change
Emotional wellness is an ongoing process. It requires us to be willing to adapt to change or create the change. You must continually evaluate your life and what is happening in your life. Be ready to make the necessary changes that are within your control to help you to maintain or potentially expand positivity and keep negativity at bay. Pay attention to what makes you happy, angry or sad. Address those things and make a change as necessary.
#19 Step Outside Of Your Comfort Zone
There is a lot to be said about stepping outside of your comfort zone. It removes the fear of the unknown and increases our knowledge in ways we never thought possible. New knowledge reduces fear and opens a new world to our mental health and emotional wellness.
Here are seven ways to jump out of your comfort zone.
Choose something that encourages you to stretch without breaking your spirit. Sometimes we have to start small to experience big things.
Try not to think about all of the things that might go wrong as you step outside of your comfort zone. Instead, close your eyes and imagine success. Picture the end result. What is the one thing that will equate to success in this exercise?
Ask For Help
Sometimes stepping outside of comfort zone requires the assistance of another person –or even expert. Pick their brain and leverage tips to get you through the experience.
Get Ready to Be Uncomfortable
Leaving your comfort zone will be uncomfortable. Greet it with a handshake and keep going. If it were comfortable, you wouldn’t be leaving your comfort zone.
Recon Your Journey
Don’t be afraid to perform a bit of research or reconnaissance work to determine what it is you are getting yourself into with leaving your comfort zone.
Treat Your Journey as a Learning Opportunity
Learn what you can from stepping outside of your comfort zone. Laugh at your mistakes and take away what you can from this experience.
Prepare for Battle with Fear
Identify what it is that is creating a sense of ear and make a plan for how you will confront each of those things head-on during this process.
#20 Healthy Diet
The foods we eat can impact our emotional health. A healthy diet promotes emotional wellness. Indulging in the wrong foods can wreak havoc on your emotional welfare. Studies demonstrate that those who follow a healthy diet have lower stress levels and better mental health outlook.
Pay attention to the foods you eat and how they make you feel. Clean eating can help to boost your emotional wellness. Take steps to limit your alcohol intake. Alcohol can be a means of numb ourselves from what is happening around us or serve as a stimulant to more significant problems.
Take control of your diet by choosing foods that boost your mood but do not cause the scales to tip.
#21 Set New Goals
Set goals for yourself at the beginning of each new week. These goals might be professional goals, personal goals or academic goals. Write these goals down in a journal or goal book. Determine what steps you need to take to achieve those goals.
Here are a few tips to remember when setting goals.
Make Your Goals SMART
Goals must have the following characteristics:
Specific: Goals must be clear, not vague or ambiguous.
Measurable: Your goals must have a specific metric.
Attainable: The goal you set must be achievable or within reach. If you set the bar too high, you may increase the risk for failure.
Realistic: Keep your goals grounded in reality. This requirement means that the goal we choose must be somewhat in step with the reality of our lives. Yes, you can set goals that challenge you to grow, but it also has to be realistic.
Time: You must attach a timeframe to your goal. A deadline will help to hold you accountable and challenge you to get to work if you fall too far behind in moving closer to completion.
Remember to make the time to evaluate and reflect on your goals. Permit yourself to make adjustments as you conquer your goals. As you complete each one, celebrate your successes no matter how big or small.
#22 Say No Without Regret
For some of us, it is a natural reflex to “say yes” even when it is in our best interest “to say no.” The art of saying no is a “must-have” skill for emotional wellness. You must learn to recognize what you can or cannot handle. Be prepared to provide justification as necessary and even offer solutions to how someone else might be able to assist with “the ask.”
Here are a few additional tips for saying no:
- Separate the person you are refusing from the physical ask itself.
- Provide a compromise or alternative
- Buy time to formulate your “no” response
- Practice saying “no”
- Justify, but do not overexplain the “no”
- Be gracious and respectful to the recipient of your “no”
#23 Take Up Journaling
You can use journaling to capture your thoughts and feelings. It’s an excellent way to document your life experiences and your reactions to various events. You can record your fears, your hopes, and all of those things that generate positive vibes.
Psychcentral.com identifies that journaling provides the following benefits:
- Clarify your thoughts and feelings
- Get to know who you are as an individual
- Reduce stress
- Disagreement resolution
Other health benefits of journaling include:
- Improved immune system
- Enhanced liver functions
- Decrease in blood pressure
- Healthy lung functions
The practice of journaling does not require much time in our day. You can take a few minutes out the day to jot down how you are feeling and who is the driver of those feelings. Need help with getting started? Here are a few tips for journaling:
- Start your day and end your day journaling
- Do not censor your thoughts
- Don’t just focus on the negative. Include the positive
- Be consistent in journaling
#24 Listen To Others
Listen to the opinion of others. There are often things within ourselves that we don’t always recognize or accept to be true. Honest opinions can steer us in the right direction of emotional wellness. Find ways to process what is being said and adjust as necessary.
Sometimes we need honest opinions from reliable people around us. So, take time to listen on what they have to say about you, and allow yourself to process ways that you can change and improve your life based on those observations.
#25 Live Your Life
Don’t forget to get out there and live your life. When we are not emotionally well, it can cause us to lose our real sense of purpose. Find your purpose and meaning in life and hold on for the ride. With purpose, we can achieve positivity and improve self-esteem.
Having the opportunity to achieve big and small things can be rewarding. Purpose gives us pleasure and pleasure feeds our overall psychological health. Look for opportunities to grow, and consciously find joy in each day. Stop complaining about your problems and solve for X instead.
We must take steps to prioritize our emotional wellness. Failure to make our emotional wellness a top priority can contribute to a variety of physical and mental problems ranging from insomnia, pain, high blood pressure and poor concentration to anxiety and depression.
There are multiple steps we can take to begin to move closer to emotional wellness. Each of the skills identified in this report can be useful in helping you to achieve greatness.
Remember to be open to change and aware of those negative factors in your life that may be causing you emotional distress.
Take action today to improve your emotional wellness and remember to seek help as necessary to support you in your efforts.