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Find Contentment Through Emotional Health


If somebody asked you if you are healthy, where do your thoughts go to evaluate your answer? For most of us, we think of our physical well-being. Are you eating nutritiously and exercising regularly? Could you be doing a better job with vitamins or spending less time in front of the television? Yet that is only one part of the picture of your overall health.


Many of us spare little time or thought for our emotional health. This pertains to the ability to recognize and manage your emotions, both negative and positive. People with good emotional health have developed strategies to deal with their daily emotions or even larger emotions for traumatic events, such as losing a job or the death of a loved one.


What is it and why is my emotional health important?


Those with good emotional health share some characteristics. You will have strong coping skills and use various techniques to deal with your emotions. These may include meditation, spending time with friends, or mind work to learn to accept that some things are out of your control.


Positive emotional health will allow you to be dexterous with your emotions: this manifests as being able to handle new and negative emotions, understanding your feelings and adapting to them, and showing resilience despite being uncomfortable. You will also be able to manage your stress positively.


Coping mechanisms for stress may include the obvious, such as good nutrition, getting enough sleep, therapy, or exercise - but also may look like using your PTO at work, volunteering for a cause that brings you joy, or exercising forgiveness.


Emotional health is extremely important because it affects many parts of your life. Learning how to properly manage emotions and reactions greatly impacts the interactions you have with other people. It also affects the way you read and interpret others during an interaction.


Your response to criticism or feedback will also depend on how well you can handle your emotions. When you have healthy emotional responses, you will thrive and be successful because it increases your self-awareness, resiliency, and self-control. Feeling in control also positively impacts your self-confidence and overall sense of well-being.


How do I know if I have poor emotional health?


Unfortunately, most people usually do not realize that they might be struggling with this until it’s already happening. There are a few warning signs which could indicate unhealthy emotional health maintenance. Be on the lookout for these symptoms:


• Often feeling anxious or irritated

• A noticeable increase in conflicts with those around you

• Regularly feeling drained or burned out

• Low energy

• Eating too much or not enough

• Sleeping too much or not enough

• Decreased self-esteem or confidence

• Decreased work performance

• Lower standards for health and hygiene

• Isolating from friends and family

• Increase in substance use

• Even physical manifestations such as increased blood pressure or palpitations


How can I improve and maintain good emotional health?


If you find that you identify with many of the items on this list, don’t despair! You are not doomed. There are many ways to regain positive emotional health. These include:


1. Keeping a positive mindset - start a gratitude journal, try meditation (even just five minutes a day), and don’t forget to smile and laugh

2. Live intentionally - find a sense of purpose, make reasonable goals, avoid living randomly

3. Keep balance - examine your life and determine if an area is getting too much of your attention (like work) or is not receiving enough attention (maybe your physical health could use work)

4. Connection! - find supportive people to spend your time with, join a club or support group, volunteer

5. Take care of your physical needs - eat a well-balanced diet, get regular exercise, maintain a healthy amount of sleep

6. Be honest - be honest with yourself and those around you because being your authentic self allows you to feel at ease and identify areas that may need work

7. Find a hobby - this may help you redirect negative feelings in times of stress

8. Be willing to ask for help - sometimes we need help from others, perhaps even a counselor, to identify a positive way to cope with our emotions, especially the big ones involved with trauma


As with most things, emotional health is a work in progress and our handle on it will fluctuate over time. Being mindful and willing to develop new strategies is the best thing you can do to develop good emotional health. Throughout life, you should try to keep balance and strengthen your emotional skills to help your feel happy and fulfilled. Remember that we are ever-changing beings, ebbing and flowing with the rhythms of life.


“Big emotions—like anger, fear, and sadness—can be really uncomfortable. But even uncomfortable feelings are okay. In fact, all emotions are okay. It just takes practice to manage uncomfortable emotions so you can respond in a healthy way.” ― Jessica Speer


As with most things, emotional health is a work in progress and our handle on it will fluctuate over time. Being mindful and willing to develop new strategies is the best thing you can do to develop good emotional health. Throughout life, you should try to keep balance and strengthen your emotional skills to help your feel happy and fulfilled. Remember that we are ever-changing beings, ebbing and flowing with the rhythms of life.


“Big emotions—like anger, fear, and sadness—can be really uncomfortable. But even uncomfortable feelings are okay. In fact, all emotions are okay. It just takes practice to manage uncomfortable emotions so you can respond in a healthy way.” ― Jessica Speer


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