Monday, 9 March 2015

How's My Emotional Health?

Most of us don't realise that taking care of our emotional health is just as important looking after your physical health. In fact, our emotional is more important than the latter. People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their emotions and their behaviour and therefore they can function very well. They are able to handle life's challenges much better; they recover from setbacks much easier and they can manage stress without falling apart. This is why it is vital to have your emotional health in tack. Moreover, improving your emotional well-being can be a rewarding experience, benefiting all aspect of your life including boosting your mood, building your resilience and adding your overall enjoyment in life. Having a good emotional health ables you to enjoy life to the fullest extent possible through productive activities and strong relationships.

Being emotionally healthy doesn't mean you never go through bad times or experiencing emotional problems - we are not perfect human beings and we certainly don't live in an utopian world. At some point in our life we experience obstacles, disappointments, loss, change etc. And while these are normal parts of life, they can still cause sadness, anxiety, and stress.

Here's the difference that people with good emotional health have. They have ability to bounce back from adversity, trauma, and stress. This ability is what we call resilience. People who are emotionally healthy tend to have the tools for coping with difficult situations and maintaining a positive outlook. They remain focused, flexible, and creative in bad times as well as good.

One of the key factors in resilience is the ability to balance stress and your emotions. The capacity to recognise your emotions and express them appropriately helps you avoid getting stuck in depression, anxiety, or other negative mood states. Another key factor is having a strong support network - this is so important. Having trusted people you can turn to for encouragement and support will boost your resilience in tough times.

In order to maintain and strengthen your emotional and mental health, it’s important to pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Don't let stress and negative emotions build up as overtime it will bring down your health. Try to maintain a balance between your daily responsibilities and the things you enjoy. If you take care of yourself, you will be better prepared to deal with challenges if and when they arise.

Here are some simple strategies to help you have a good emotional health.
  • Appeal to your senses. Stay calm and energised by appealing to the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Listen to music that lifts your mood, place flowers where you will see and smell them, massage your hands and feet, or sip a warm drink.
  • Engage in meaningful, creative work. Do things that challenge your creativity and make you feel productive, whether or not you get paid for it -- things like gardening, drawing, writing, playing an instrument, or building something in your workshop.
  • Make leisure time a priority. Do things for no other reason than that it feels good to do them. Go to a funny movie, play a game, take a walk, listen to music, read a good book, or talk to a friend. Doing things just because they are fun is no indulgence. Play is an emotional and mental health necessity.
  • Make time for contemplation and appreciation. Think about the things you're grateful for. Mediate, pray, enjoy the sunset, or simply take a moment to pay attention to what is good, positive, and beautiful as you go about your day.
I know that everyone is different and not all things will be equally beneficial to all people. Some people feel better relaxing and slowing down, while others need more activity and more excitement or stimulation to feel better. The important thing is to find activities that you enjoy and that give you a boost. I love working out, but for others exercise is a drag or boring. So, just do what makes you feel good.

If you have made consistent efforts to improve your emotional or mental health and you still don't feel good or see improvement in your emotional health it maybe then time to seek professional help. Because we are so socially attuned, input from a knowledgeable, caring professional can motivate us to do things for ourselves that we were not able to do on our own.

Here are some Red flag feelings and behaviours that may require immediate attention:
  • Inability to sleep
  • Feeling down, hopeless, or helpless most of the time
  • Concentration problems that are interfering with your work or home life
  • Using nicotine, food, drugs, or alcohol to cope with difficult emotions
  • Negative or self-destructive thoughts or fears that you can't control
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
If you identify with any of these red flag symptoms, consider making an appointment with your family physician.

Sherldine Tomlinson.