Create a life that feels good on the inside, not one that just looks good on the outside. – Unknown
How is Your Emotional Health?
We all do our best to take good care of our body and physical health. We try and eat right, drink enough water, and get a good amount of sleep and regular exercise. And when we’re feeling ill, we may even pay a visit to our local health practitioner to help us feel right again. We do all this to take care of our body. After all, we only have one body. If we don’t take care of it, then who will?
Taking care of our body is often our primary concern. When we’re feeling healthy, we naturally have more zest, energy, and clarity of mind. Nobody will argue that taking care of our body should be high up on our priority list.
Having a healthy body will no doubt make us feel better, but is it enough to live a deeply fulfilling life? The short answer to this question is, NO! It’s not enough.
A healthy body will give you ample energy, but it certainly won’t provide you with peace of mind.
You probably know someone who is a total health nut. They treat their body like a temple and do all the right things. However, mentally and psychologically, they struggle. They struggle because they ignore a forgotten component of health and well-being. And that component comes down to our emotional health.
Physical Health vs. Emotional Health
On the one hand, we have physical health. This is biological and tied to the well-being of your body and physiology. On the other hand, we have emotional health. This is psychological and tied to your emotions and state-of-mind.
To live a truly fulfilling life, we must not only nurture health physically through our body, we must also nurture it emotionally through our mind.
Emotional health is, therefore, an essential component of overall health. People who are emotionally healthy are naturally happier and more fulfilled than people who are merely physically healthy. But, what exactly does it mean to be emotionally healthy?
There really isn’t a simple and straightforward answer for this. There are just too many components that go into emotional health for us to define it in a single sentence. Let’s, therefore, piece it together one paragraph at a time.
Let’s really delve deep into emotional health and get a thorough definition and understanding of what it’s all about.
What it Means to be Emotionally Healthy
The Mental Health Foundation defines emotional health as being a positive state of well-being, which enables an individual to be able to function in society and meet the demands of everyday life.
This definition is a great starting point, however, for the purpose of our discussion, we want to delve way deeper and get a definitive understanding of what it truly means to live an emotionally healthy life.
Emotional health and emotional intelligence often go hand-in-hand. What this means is that people who are emotionally healthy are also emotionally intelligent.
A component of emotional intelligence is having the ability to control your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, especially when facing life’s difficulties.
Given this, emotionally healthy people have fantastic coping skills when dealing with setback and adversity. This, of course, doesn’t mean that they don’t feel stress, anger, or sadness. They certainly do! However, they have the necessary emotional intelligence to manage these feelings in helpful ways. In other words, they understand the value of their negative emotions and know how to best reframe them in resourceful ways.
As a result, emotionally healthy people express their emotions in productive ways that serve them in their daily undertakings.
This, however, only scratches the surface of what it truly means to live an emotionally healthy life. Let’s, therefore, break this down into detail.
When things don’t go their way, they try and find meaning in their disappointment or loss. They take the time to learn from their failures and mistakes, then challenge themselves to face life’s setbacks and stressors in optimal ways. It’s as though they draw strength from adversity, criticism, and rejection, and then use that strength to push themselves forward.
People who live an emotionally healthy life have an uncanny ability to maintain a positive outlook despite their struggles and difficulties. This keeps hope alive and encourages them to keep stretching themselves beyond the confines of their comfort zone.
Dealing with adversity is, of course, never easy. However, emotionally healthy people have a very lighthearted nature about them. This lighthearted nature gives them the freedom to laugh at themselves during stressful situations. They understand that some things are just out of their control. Laughter puts them in a more positive and resourceful state-of-mind, which not only helps them handle the situation in more optimal ways but also subdues their critical voice.
In short, emotionally healthy people have the necessary tools and skills that help them cope with adversity and the difficulties that life throws their way.
All this, of course, requires having clearly defined boundaries. Solid boundaries allow emotionally healthy people the ability to protect their energy, emotions, resources, and time. In other words, boundaries provide them with a sense of control over their lives and circumstances.
Given this, you might get the impression that emotionally healthy people are somewhat resilient by nature. And there’s undoubtedly some truth to that. Their resilience comes from a deep level of self-confidence and belief in themselves and their ability to get through life’s difficulties. This, of course, wouldn’t be possible without a healthy dose of self-esteem and a high level of self-worth. All required components of an emotionally healthy life.
You will often find emotionally healthy people living a well-balanced life. They are passionate about their work, but also schedule enough time for family, play, rest, and recuperation.
Emotionally healthy people live with a sense of purpose, a zest and an enthusiasm for life. They take care of their body by engaging in regular exercise and also feed their mind with empowering thoughts, ideas, knowledge, and information. This naturally leads to a strong desire for creative self-expression.
Emotionally healthy people tend to value experiences and people more than material things. Yes, they pursue material possessions, but not at the expense of their memories and relationships. In other words, they strive to live life with no regrets and make the most of every experience and interaction.
Emotionally healthy people consistently strive to build strong, healthy, and supportive relationships that are mutually beneficial — relationships that help each person grow and expand their inherent potential.
With the high value they place on their relationships, they go to extra lengths to treat people with kindness and compassion. They understand that by treating others with respect, they are likewise likely to receive the same in return, which, of course, adds an extra layer or fulfillment to a purposeful life.
When it comes to their long-term happiness, emotionally healthy people understand that in the end, it’s all a state-of-mind. Their happiness is entirely dependent on their perspective, expectations, and interpretations of the events and circumstances of their lives.
Emotionally healthy people understand that happiness is not purely derived from money, from physical possessions, or from being in a loving relationship. Relationships are, of course, important but they don’t take away from the satisfaction and happiness they derive from living their life. Their happiness is tied to their state-of-mind. Therefore, they are responsible for how they feel at any moment, and nobody can take that away from them.
Finally, emotionally healthy people find ways to practice self-compassion and self-love through the practice of daily rituals that nourish their mind, body, and soul.
I know, it all sounds terrific, right? But, at the same time you might be wondering, how do I get started? Where do we begin this process of growing our emotional health? What one thing will get the ball rolling?
Well, it’s not one single thing, it’s instead a combination of things that you will need to progressively work on over time.
How to Boost Your Emotional Health
What follows are several guidelines and suggestions that will help you grow your emotional health over an extended period of time.
As you begin to incorporate these things into your life, you will naturally experience a deeper level of happiness and fulfillment. As a result, your self-confidence will skyrocket, and you will feel more empowered and self-assured as you move through your day.
However, bear in mind that this is a process. You will need to apply yourself over an extended period of time.
Emotional health is very much like physical health. You can start exercising today, but you won’t see immediate results. Results come with consistent practice and application.
Do keep all this in mind as you work through the following guidelines for boosting your emotional health.
Guard Your Mind
Emotionally healthy people do not quickly succumb to fear, worry or stress. Yes, they indeed experience these emotions on some level, but not to the degree where their emotions overwhelm them. This is because they have trained themselves to detach mentally from their experiences.
Emotionally healthy people understand these pitfalls and therefore regularly practice mindful detachment. This is where they detach emotionally from their experience so not to get caught up in the experience. They, instead view their experience as an outside observer, and this helps them to gain an objective perspective on the situation.
With a more objective view of what’s going on, they are better able to work through their problems and circumstances in more optimal ways.
This process of detachment is a means for them to guard their mind against the negativity and uncertainty that they are confronted with daily.
Feed Your Mind
Emotionally healthy people take time to nourish their mind every single day through a commitment to lifelong learning. They feed their mind with new knowledge and information. This helps them gain new insights and perspectives that they previously may not have considered.
They feed their mind through reading books, through exposing themselves to new people, ideas, perspectives, places, and information. As a result, they have more worldly knowledge, which helps them view their life and circumstances in more objective and helpful ways.
And as they feed their mind, they develop new skills and strengths that serve them as they progress through each new chapter of their life.
Nurture Your Body
Emotionally healthy people understand that their body and mind are intrinsically connected. The health of one directly impacts the health and vitality of the other.
With this in mind, they regularly take the time to nurture their body. They do this by eating healthy, by getting enough sleep, sunlight, and through partaking in regular exercise. This helps lift their mood and relieve stress while keeping their energy high and their mind primed for the obstacles and challenges that life throws their way.
Emotionally healthy people also avoid getting caught up in food and drinking addictions that steal their energy and cloud their mind.
Nurture Your Relationships
Emotionally healthy people regularly take the time to nurture their relationships. They understand that healthy relationships provide them with the mental, physical, and emotional support needed to get through life’s toughest challenges.
The relationships they nurture are, of course, mutually beneficial. They support other people’s growth and development as much if not more than what they typically get in return.
They understand the power of giving, and of regularly making deposits into other people’s emotional bank accounts. As a result, each and every relationship and friendship has meaning and purpose — supporting both parties along their journey of self-discovery.
Maintain a Work-Life Balance
Emotionally healthy people understand the importance of maintaining a work-life balance. Yes, they have their passionate pursuits, and work is no doubt an essential component of their life. However, work isn’t everything.
They understand that to live a happy and fulfilling life that they must balance work with family, with rest, with play, with education, and with recreation.
Regularly engaging in creative pursuits allows them to express their passions in unique ways. However, balance is always needed to help refresh and reset their mind and perspective.
Disengage from Negativity
We all have people in our lives who make mountains out of molehills. Their negative attitude and overwhelming energy can quickly affect our mood and influence our perspective and positive outlook on life.
Emotionally healthy people don’t allow themselves to get caught up in the negativity of others. More specifically, they don’t allow other people to influence them in destructive ways.
They instead guard their self-esteem by distancing themselves from people whose primary objective is to drag them into their problems and dilemmas.
Develop Your Emotional Coping Skills
Emotionally healthy people are just like everybody else. They experience setbacks, adversity, difficulties, and problems. However, unlike most people, they don’t allow these things to overwhelm or dishearten them.
Where other people succumb to the difficulties of life, emotionally healthy people rise to the occasion. They rise because they fully understand how to handle their emotions when facing challenges or uncertainty. In other words, they have strong emotional coping skills.
Emotional coping skills help them to handle themselves in a calm and steady manner when difficulties arise. They don’t allow negative emotions to persist or to affect their mental state-of-mind. In other words, they don’t allow their negative emotions to influence their decisions or to affect objective thought.
Where other people get caught up in emotional overwhelm, emotionally healthy people use mindfulness techniques to bring their attention to the moment. This helps them to detach from their current circumstances. As a result, they are able to think things through more clearly and objectively, which helps them deal with the situation at hand in more optimal ways.
Develop Nurturing Daily Rituals
Emotionally healthy people have empowering daily rituals that help them play to their strengths. Moreover, these daily rituals help them to stay grounded, focused and emotionally in control.
They partake in daily rituals such as meditation, gratitude journaling, goal setting, visualization, self-reflection, exercise, and reading. Each one of these rituals helps them to connect deeper with their core selves.
All these rituals likewise help them to explore their passions, strengths, attitudes, and beliefs at a deeper level. As a result, they are better able to adapt to changing conditions and circumstances simply because they know and understand themselves at a core level of awareness.
Practice Self-Control and Self-Discipline
Emotionally healthy people understand the pitfalls of falling prey to instant gratification. The momentary pleasure that is often derived from such temptations is no doubt desirable but certainly doesn’t make up for the long-term pain that often results.
Just like everybody else, emotionally healthy people face their own temptations and demons. However, unlike most people, they don’t allow themselves to get caught up in these temptations.
Emotionally healthy people don’t get caught up in temptations because they practice self-control and wield self-discipline. They understand that to be emotionally healthy they must maintain control over their behavior at all times. Moreover, they must discipline themselves to stay focused on the things that matter most — the things that help them achieve their desired goals and objectives.
Strive to Make a Difference
Emotionally healthy people make a concerted effort to make a positive impact on others. They go the extra mile to contribute and help other people. This, of course, stems from their positive energy and outlook, which is extremely contagious and infectious.
Whether in a big or small way, they desire to make a difference in this world. Life isn’t just about them. It’s instead about the people they serve and about the positive impact they choose to make.
Sharing their knowledge, skills, and abilities with other people give their life more purpose and meaning. This likewise, infuses them with enthusiasm and energy that nourishes their mind and strengthens their emotional health.
It’s time now to pose the ever important question of whether or not your emotional health is where it needs to be to help you handle life in optimal ways?
Do you typically get overwhelmed when dealing with setbacks, obstacles, adversity, and uncertainty? Do you get distraught when making mistakes or when facing failure? Are you resourceful in these moments, or do you struggle emotionally?
Do you have the ability to handle difficult people and circumstances without losing touch with objective thought? And, do you have the emotional intelligence needed to handle yourself effectively during stressful times?
Given all this, would you consider yourself an emotionally healthy person, or is this an area that you still need to work on?
Emotional health, as with physical health is an ongoing process that we need to work on consistently over time. We can’t expect to be physically healthy after one session at the gym. The same is true when it comes to your emotional health.
To be emotionally healthy, you need to apply yourself. You need to work on building and growing your emotional health progressively over time. Only in this way will you develop the mindset required to live an emotionally healthy and vibrant life.
Time to Assimilate these Concepts
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Gain More Knowledge…
Here are some additional links and resources that will help you learn more about this topic:
- 5 Habits that will Improve Your Emotional Wellness @ Huffpost
- 10 Ways to Boost Your Emotional Health @ Everyday Health
- About Emotional Health @ American Psychological Association
- A Cheat Sheet for Boosting Your Emotional Health @ Psychology Today
- Building Better Mental Health @ HelpGuide
- How to Grow Your Mental Health @ Psychology Today
- How to Protect Your Mental Health and Avoid an Emotional Breakdown @ Mercola
- The 7 Habits of Highly Emotionally Healthy People @ Psychology Today