The general definition of emotional health is “A person’s ability to accept and manage feelings through challenge and change” (positivepsychology.com, 2020); essentially, our ability to deal with every day’s life challenges through positive responses. There is a difference between emotional and mental health. Mental health is how well our mind comprehends experiences while emotional health is how we manage our emotion in response to those experiences.
The two can be mutually exclusive – while maintaining good mental health, you may experience emotional health problems, and vice versa. One may manage to improve mental health by, for example, keeping depression under control, but still being emotionally volatile. On the other hand, one’s anxiety may be unstable while feeling emotionally at ease.
Tips for maintaining Emotional Wellness
Like all matters of the psyche, there are no hard and fast rules on how to develop and improve emotional health. However, we can take several helpful steps:
Regular physical exercise is an all-round excellent tool for stress management. People who exercise frequently achieve an enormous sense of well-being – feeling more energetic, less stressed and sleeping better at night – that leads to reaching a state of greater emotional comfort.
Support systems from family and friend are useful in achieving emotional wellbeing. We all need people with whom we can share trials and tribulations but also joy and excitement. Support groups can fulfil that role and provide the context for getting things off our chest. Feeling that we are not alone is essential to boost our emotional state.
A healthy diet. Indulging in food may seem like a good stress reducer but we all know the impact that an unhealthy diet can have on our mind and spirit. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for our physical and emotional health. Overeating and binge drinking do not help.
A hobby or passion can aid our emotional stability by enhancing our self-esteem. We should all have at least one hobby, whether it’s gardening, collecting books, or listening to music. The secret is identifying an activity that brings you some genuine enjoyment, an intrinsic passion that no one can ever take away.
Self-care is also important
Refrain from taking on too much by saying ‘no’. Doing more than we can handle inevitably leads to a greater amount of stress and, in turn, upsets our emotions. The feeling of not achieving something can generate frustration, another sensation that can unsettle our quest for internal stability. Planning of our weeks and months allow us to identify what we absolutely cannot fit in our schedule and turn down the request to do something, as long as we explain the reason kindly but firmly.
Getting enough sleep helps us maintain energy and increase emotional wellbeing. If we are overly tired, every task and responsibility can appear larger and more daunting. For sleep-deprived people, ven small problems could feel like insurmountable issues. Sleeping well is both the result and the cause of a healthy lifestyle and, on the same vein, lack of sleep should be investigated as it can affect our emotional health.
Nurturing our emotional health helps us identify the positive in situations and work on developing your strengths instead of focusing on any perceived weaknesses. This is a fundamental skill in making us more resilient at handling life.