It can be hard to enjoy life if your emotions are weighing you down. Here are several strategies you can put into use to improve your emotional wellness, starting now.
It’s okay to not be okay.
Have you heard that phrase before? With all that is going on in the world today between a global pandemic, war, and inflation on the rise, it is not surprising to feel not okay.
Add that to a fast-paced society where there are always demands placed upon us, and this can lead to a lot of stress and pressure, all of which can take a toll on our emotional wellbeing.
Putting on a poker face and pretending all this stuff isn’t affecting you isn’t much good for your wellbeing either. Your emotions are valid and shouldn’t be suppressed or ignored. Instead, look for ways to help feel less overwhelmed.
It is necessary to be accepting of your feelings and emotions, no matter what they are.
What is emotional wellness?
According to the National Institutes of Health, emotional wellness is the ability to successfully handle life’s stresses and adapt and change in difficult times. It is an awareness and acceptance of your emotions. It is living fully in the present moment and seeing your glass half-full rather than half-empty.
Why is emotional wellness important?
It is extremely important to balance your physical health and emotional health in order to improve your overall wellbeing. People who are emotionally healthy generally have control of their thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. Because of that, they can cope in stride with whatever curveball life throws at them. They’re able to keep any issues in perspective and bounce back from adversity.
Lay the Groundwork for Emotional Health
In order to start working on our emotions, we need to make sure we have a healthy foundation to work with.
Rule Out Depression
Before discussing how to improve emotional wellness, you need to determine if what you are dealing with could be depression. Are you battling through some low points, or are you are showing signs of depression? With symptoms such as loss of appetite, too much or too little sleep, moodiness and irritability, and the inability to concentrate—you should seek out help from a mental health provider.
Engage Your Support Network
A great foundation for emotional wellness is having a healthy support network. A strong support system will aid in coping and overcoming your challenges. Being surrounded by a close group of friends and family that you can count on is priceless.
Using that support base to talk through your unpleasant feelings, instead of internalizing or ignoring them, will help with your emotional wellness.
Our mindset produces the thoughts we have. Achieving mental wellness is much easier to sustain when our mindset is positive. This attitude will shape our thinking and control our behaviors and feelings. Becoming optimistic isn’t something that happens overnight, but the power of positive thinking will help build your emotional strength.
Your mindset can be adjusted; it is the driving force behind how you view failures and setbacks and how you persevere toward your goals.
If you are able, speak with those around you that have been able to turn negative situations into positive learning experiences. Find out how they were able to shift their emotions and mindset to a positive outlook. See my positive mindset toolkit for in-depth exercises and practices for releasing negative thoughts and embracing more positivity in your life.
Work Your Mind
When your mind is kept active, it leaves little room for negative and depressing thoughts to creep in. Even during the toughest times, an active mind is likely to stay engrossed with healthy thoughts.
Try your hand at a favorite pastime or a new hobby that mentally engages you. Perfecting a craft will help to develop emotional wellness and a sense of achievement. Or, become involved with a charitable organization where you focus your energy on giving hope to those in need. These are just some ways to keep your mind busy, find something that works best for you.
How to Improve Your Emotional Wellness
It is normal to feel emotionally drained once in a while. After all, many of life’s ups and downs are out of our control. However, there is a lot that is within our control and things you can do to increase your emotional wellness—especially when that emotional drain seems to be happening more frequently.
Improving your emotional health doesn’t cost anything, won’t require a great deal of time, and is something you can start on right now.
6 ways to boost your emotional wellness:
1. Address your problems
When it comes to facing our problems, there are only three options to take:
a) Worry about them
b) Ignore them
c) Address them
I am sure you can see how options A and B would be problematic on your emotions. Endless worrying about something is never good and ignoring a problem certainly doesn’t fix it, it usually just manifests into something even larger. If you have an issue that is challenging you, whether it be financial, relationship, or work-related, for example, it is time to work on a solution. Face it head-on and come up with a plan to address it as soon as possible. This doesn’t mean the issue will be resolved, it may even take years for that to happen completely, but working toward a resolution of the problem with a plan will calm your emotions.
2. Get enough sleep
All of us have different sleep requirements. Some of us function very well on minimal sleep, while others need a full eight hours to be productive. The trick is to know what you need and be sure to get that amount of sleep each and every night so that you wake up each morning feeling rested and ready for the day. Don’t miss my tips for improving midlife sleep habits if you find you aren’t getting consistent, quality sleep.
3. Get moving
Your body and brain are connected and therefore your emotions can be felt throughout your body. When you move your body more, it will become better attuned to your situation. By not being regularly active, you increase the likelihood of feeling depressed and stressed.
Even taking regular walks will have a big impact and benefit your mind as well as your body.
4. Make the most of your time
Completing your required tasks in a timely fashion eliminates the stress of deadlines and feeling rushed. A good adage to remember is, the more you get done, the less you leave undone. Allow yourself a greater opportunity to feel calm and relaxed by making the best use of your time. It is a great habit to develop and something you can benefit from for the rest of your life.
5. Focus on gratitude
Spending time each day being thankful for the blessings in your life goes a long way in assisting your emotional wellbeing. There are so many wonderful benefits of embracing gratitude and how to practice every day by showing appreciation and returning kindness. Once it becomes a habit for you, it can lead to some amazing results.
6. Learn to say no
Keep your life simple by avoiding a commitment to obligations that don’t serve you. It is okay to say no to someone, especially when saying yes may damage an already fragile emotional state. It is not possible to be all things to all people.
Make yourself a top priority and limit your obligations.
Stay away from the things that can have a negative impact on your sense of wellness. For example, if the sight of war and people suffering is too much to handle, avoid watching the news or scrolling through social media. Get enough rest, keep your body moving, and stand up to the challenges that you can control.
When your emotional wellness is strong, it gives you a solid foundation to enjoy many other areas of life. It’s okay to not be okay, as long as you continue working on your wellness and don’t give up.
I’ll leave you with an affirmation. Say it out loud and repeat it whenever you need a reminder that your emotional wellbeing is important:
I make choices that help me lead a happy and healthy life. I treat myself with kindness and love. I will achieve wellness by taking care of my mind and body.