The concept of Emotional Health comes to us largely from the field of positive psychology. It can be thought of as an extension of mental health; it’s the “optimal functioning” end of the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that make up both our inner and outer worlds. It is a state or the degree to which individuals feel secure, stable and relaxed in everyday life. It refers to our sense of well-being.
Emotional health is a skill, and takes work. Some ways to get started are:
Start with the basics – take care of your physical health. Healthy body and healthy mind are interconnected. Our physical well-being has an impact on our feeling good and emotionally competent. Get enough sleep, eat healthy meals, and exercise regularly.
Manage stress. Strive for balance – between work and play, between activity and rest. Also learn relaxation methods to cope with stress. These could include deep breathing, meditation, and exercise.
Develop healthy self-concept. Improve self-esteem by identify personal strengths, and being with people who boost you, instead of bringing you down.
Cultivate adequate and appropriate ways of expressing your feelings. Keeping problems or feelings bottled up adds to stress, and can also cause problems in personal as well as professional relationships.
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Build and maintain positive connections with other people. Maintain a social network, even if it’s small.
Enhance your emotional awareness. Notice what in your life makes you sad, frustrated, or angry, and try to address those aspects in a constructive manner.
Learn healthy and constructive coping mechanisms. These can be done by introspection, observation, and even professional assistance like psychotherapy. Whatever it takes, hone resilience – the ability to learn from and bounce back from setbacks.
Find a sense of purpose in life, and spend time doing what feels meaningful. This could be doing an art-work you find meaningful, to giving your time or resources to a charity you believe in. This also includes making time for things you enjoy, making time for hobbies and leisure.
If undergoing overwhelming stress, or other emotional problems, reach out for support. It could be leaning on family or friends for support, or it could be professional help such as counseling, or at times even medicines.
Emotional health is vital to living a life of wholeness, balance, and contentment. It is worth the effort it takes to cultivate it.