Every thought, behaviour and feeling affects our emotional well-being…
Most of us put in a lot of efforts to take care of our physical selves. We eat healthy, exercise and visit doctors, when not well. On the other hand have we ever wondered about our emotional well being? Emotional well being is an ability to connect with our feelings and understand our emotions. When we understand our feelings it is easier to deal with difficult emotional conditions like stress, anxiety and depression. People who are emotionally healthy are able to control their emotions and actions well. Good emotional well being helps us understand our needs, work towards our fears and put in efforts in order to confront our emotions while working towards meeting our goals. It also helps us believe in ourselves which in turn increases efficiency in work as well as enhances our relationships. When we experience reduced emotional well being it gets tougher on us to cope with our emotions which could lead to stress, anxiety, depression and general low energy levels, among other difficulties. It helps us adapt well in our social sphere, confront day to day challenges and also overcome mental physical difficulties. Exercising of mind and heart is as important as the exercise for your body. Counselling would help you develop skills in order to enhance emotional well being.
Absence of mental illness is not equal to having an emotionally healthy life. If you do not feel that you are going through some kind of stress, anxiety, conflicts, depression or other negative emotions, it is not similar to having positive emotions like contentment, excitement, happiness, hope, etc; Emotional well being is also about being able to develop positive emotions in order to enchance your well being, productivity and relationships.
How would emotional well being help?
Coping with negative emotions: It helps us understand our feelings, needs, likes, dislikes, fears in depth. Only once we start understanding ourselves we would have the strength to cope with negative feelings that might be a part of us. For example we might be experiencing feelings of anxiety due to a difficult phase in our relationships, work or health. At the same time as it might be difficult to cope with the real experience of difficulty we avoid acknowledging the feeling of anxiety. Once we start understanding emotions and the root cause of our feelings it is easier to cope with them and work towards eliminating them. Most of us avoid our difficult emotions and try to live with the day to day living. This causes the negative emotions to grow alongside our difficult experiences. We fail to recognise the source of it. Giving attention to our feelings helps us handle difficult situations better.
Better relationships: A lot of us struggle with anxiety and intimacy issues in our relationships. This could be due to the fact that we lack awareness of ours and our partner’s needs. We also fail to notice a lot of likes, dislikes, discomfort, fears, and goals on both sides. This increases anxiety. Bringing into awareness true feelings would help you express them and increase the chances of them being validated and supported. It is also a significant aspect towards emotional well being. Human brains are social brains who crave for company to thrive in this world. Even if you are shy or distrustful of people your heart and brain craves to be heard, acknowledged, encouraged, understood and appreciated. Hence you should develop good relationships where you and listen as well as speak regularly in order to develop emotional well being.
Experiencing a range of emotions: When we are not able to experience the negative feelings like hurt, distress, grief due to avoiding them it is tough to experience happiness, joy or contentment as a lot of our experiences are repressed. When we work towards our emotional well being we experience more happiness as the blocks on the negative feelings are removed. For example when we are irritated with our partner as we are unaware of our needs we withdraw or express anger while not being able to express our true feelings. When we understand ourselves better there is more self control as we are aware of the patters of our relationships.
Enhanced physical well-being: When our emotional needs are met we end up having better attitude towards life and ultimately improved physical health. There are chemical changes in our mind which improves our immune system. Like boosting and balancing of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, etc; It also helps us release hormones like endorphins that has a positive effect on both emotional and physical health. All of us have challenges and difficulties in life. An emotionally healthy person can cope with his problems fruitfully. On the other hand when our physical needs are met we can cope with our emotions strongly. Hence we should try to take care of getting optimal sleep, light exercise of 30mins, moderating addictive substances, increasing nutrition in our diet, getting enough sunlight i.e. for a few mins everyday will help you have a stronger body, mind and heart.
Emotional Resilience: You will learn to handle your problems and resolve your conflicts with others. You will also be able to understand the share responsibilities with others in order to adapt to your surroundings. Flexibility in your ways helps you build resilience. Being emotionally healthy does not mean that one would not go through bouts of negative emotions like stress and anxiety. What it means is that developing a capacity to bounce back. When one understands his emotions and is able to constructively express them then a person will not be left in the negative emotional phase for long. He will bounce back soon enough.
You would know you are emotionally healthy when:
- You can adapt to the changes in life, i.e. flexibility
- You feel you have the ability to love and care for others
- You feel you can independently get most of your needs met
- Manage stress while not having constant negative thoughts
- Self confidence
- Feel you are enjoying your life
- Ability to have fun and laugh
- Balance between work, recreation and relationships
Reasons due to which we develop an emotionally unhealthy self:
There are several genetic, environmental; childhood and social factors that together or individually lead us to living an emotionally unhealthy life. It could range from difficult childhood in terms of lack of stable attachment figures, pressure or criticism, loss, abuse, illness, acquired feeling of helplessness that as an individual you are weak and have no control over your life, etc;
Keep looking out of signs that you need to develop better coping skills:
It ranges from feeling sad, hopeless, helpless, lack of discipline or self control, unhealthy eating patterns or substance abuse, difficulty in sleeping or excessive sleep, fatigue or restlessness, in decisiveness or concentration issues, constant negative thinking, thoughts of destruction towards self or others.
How to move towards emotional well being
- Understanding the value of your emotions, while being able to let them steer you towards a positive lifestyle
- Try to recognize your strengths and build up upon them, rather than focusing on your weaknesses
- Understanding your desires and needs while looking at ways to fulfil them
- Believing that everyone deserves to live a secure and balanced life
- Understand your responses and perhaps reactions to situations and people around so that helps you understand the sources of your distress and happiness better while you chose to work towards the latter
- Reflection that helps you understand your thoughts and feelings better so that you are aware of your underlying patterns and work consciously towards your well being
- Should be able to make time for recreation and developing interests, as well as time for rest, while also making time to spend with loved ones
- Should learn not to be scared of experiencing negative and positive emotions at the same time should be able to balance it out in order to not let them effect the functioning of your life
- Looking at your problems with your attitude to look at solving and accepting them
- Learning communication and conflict resolution
- Being independent as well as depending on others when required
- Working towards realising your full potential
- Looking at controlling your impulses
- Developing support in terms of strong relationships bonds
- Trying to be useful to someone else
- Expressing yourself creatively
- Spending time in nature
- Discovering and learning new things
- Positive thinking
- Self discipline and control while you can delay gratification
Counselling: The longer you neglect your emotional health the more rigid and toxic the patterns become. Trained counsellors possess active listening skills that help you feel heard and understood. The process of counselling helps you understand your experiences better, cope with your emotions and out things into perspective. It helps you unearth your true feelings while making you feel lighter. Your emotions are put into context so that you express them and cope with them while giving way to positive emotions. This is also a part of preventive counselling while you do not want to wait till you have severe problems in your life.