What is it?
Emotional wellness is closely related to all the other dimensions of wellness, like a vein that that runs through all the dimensions. Your emotional wellness is all about how you manage your feelings and related behaviours as well as being able to realistically assess them. Emotional wellness also lends itself to your ability to cope with and manage stress. An emotionally well person for example is better able to maintain lasting rewarding relationships with others (Social Wellness) Emotional wellness is the cousin of Emotional Intelligence.
Being emotionally well means that you are aware of your own and others feelings.
An emotionally well person has a level of trust in his or her own decisions and choices and is able to manage these in a rewarding and effective way.
“Emotional wellness is striving to meet emotional needs constructively. It is maintaining good mental health, a positive attitude, healthy sense of self-esteem, and a strong self-image. It is the ability to respond resiliently to emotional states and the flow of life every day. It is dealing with a variety of situations realistically and learning more about yourself and how things you do affect your feelings. It is taking responsibility for your own behaviour and responding to challenges as opportunities.” DefinitionOfWellness.com.
Why is it so important for us to be emotionally well?
Now that we know what emotional wellness is all about, let’s look at why it is so important to our state of being and living a well life. Emotional trauma & emotional stress could lead to emotional injury which could lead to disturbed emotions which could result in an un-well state or unstable emotions. We could find ourselves in a state of emotional un-wellness if our feelings and emotions are not managed effectively with awareness so as to promote a state of well being.
Emotional trauma & stress could take the form of a painful break-up or a divorce, losing your job, death of a loved one, severe humiliation, dealing with disappointment, your ex in a new relationship, victimisation at work, being bullied as an adult, abuse which could be physical, verbal, financial and emotional, or a life threatening incident (catastrophic / earth quake) as well as being terrorised. There are varied types of emotional trauma & emotional stress, some of which I haven’t mentioned, but you get the idea.
If you have experienced any type of emotionally traumatic or stressful situations in life then you would have had to have dealt with the emotions and feelings that come with the trauma.
The important part is how we deal with the emotional trauma and emotional stress! Remember not dealing with it may result in emotional un-wellness!
How to deal with emotional trauma & Stress?
Right, so how do we cope and deal with all of these feelings and emotions? The answer, (with the benefit of hindsight) is quite simple. Every action chosen based on one of our emotional responses (i.e. Shock, denial, anger, grief, loss, disappointment, shame, blame, confusion, anxiety, fear, hopelessness, sadness, disbelief, irritability and mood swings ) to the traumatic or stressful event will either take us one step closer to a positive state of holistic wellness and emotional wellness or take us one step further away! This is a matter of your level of awareness.
Here are a few tips from Alice Landry in maintaining a state of emotional wellness, or for moving form a state of emotional un–wellness to a state of emotional wellness and overall well being.
1. Laughter and smiling - Emotional benefits of laughter and smiling include feeling a sense of contentment and joy, shifting your perspective to a positive outlook, giving you more courage and hope, dissolving tense situations, and improving overall mood.
2. Do frequent feelings checks - Determine how you feel when you wake up in the morning. If the feeling is negative, figure out what's causing it and take steps to resolve the unsettling situation. Reorient your emotions with affirmations and confidence to set a new tone for the day. Recognize any physiologic clues your body gives off as evidence of emotional stress.
3. Focus on the positive - Admit any negative feelings you may have, deal with them, and move on. Do not dwell on circumstances from the past or those you cannot control. Say positive affirmations and keep inspirational quotes handy. Put your energy in the right place.
4. Take care of your physical self (physical wellness) - The mind/body connection refers to how your body responds to the way you think, feel, and act. If you are physically healthy & well, your emotions will tend to be high. Avoid the slippery slope of negative emotions which self-perpetuate other physical problems, such as insomnia, upset stomach, and general aches and pains. Respect your body by exercising, eating nutritious foods, and getting proper rest.
5. Perform relaxation exercises’ - Dealing with emotional ups and downs can be exhaustive and confusing. Allow your body and mind to relax so that your intentions to heal the situation can come from a place of clarity, insight, and faith instead of fear or despair.
6. Stay socially connected (social wellness) - Involving yourself in projects and activities with family, friends, or the general community is a strong aspect of wellness at any age. Helping a worthy charity or the less fortunate could be extremely powerful for your own healing.
7. Practice mindfulness - Mindfulness is the state of being fully aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions at any given wakeful moment. Living in the here and now is a powerful self-growth tool. You begin to learn that the feelings you experience are ever-changing, you discover underlying destructive patterns that you may not have noticed before, and you evolve by changing those fixed patterns into more dynamic approaches.
8. Channel your feelings productively - If you feel acutely angered or overwhelmed, instead of harboring negative emotions, release built-up tension through activities such as running, writing in a journal, or transforming stress into motivation to achieve your goals.
9. Avoid all or nothing thinking - Thinking in terms of black and white absolutes instead of shades of grey is a common element of depression. Consider the point that even smart people don't always make the best choices. You can learn from your mistakes and consciously choose a healthier path next time.
10. Begin a personal development journey - If you are ready and willing to heal your life, realize that you are in the driver's seat. Think of ways to improve yourself, your relationships, and your overall life every day. Choose thoughts, feelings, and actions that are aligned with truth, love, and power. Keep a gratitude journal and write down two things every day that you are grateful for.
Oh and last but not least, please avoid self-destructive behaviours, like binge drinking, drugging, and risky sexual activity! Self -defeating behaviours and thinking will only set you off in the wrong direction!
Wellness Practitioner & Psychological Counsellor.