Health is so much more than an absence of disease. It’s the result of several components together to create an overall sense of wellness.
Emotional wellness is an important part of health and wellness because it helps us deal with all the other factors related to health by providing us with the ability to understand how we feel and act and cope with the stress associated with life’s challenges.
If you’re emotional health is suffering, you’ll likely see other aspects of your life begin to suffer, too. So what is emotional wellness and how can you use it to build a better life? Keep reading to find out.
What Is Emotional Wellness?
Emotional wellness and health suffers from one big myth: happiness. But being healthy doesn’t mean experiencing contentment or happiness all the time. Rather, it’s a reflection of the way you experience and cope with your thoughts and feelings and how those coping mechanism turn into behaviors.
Researchers believe that emotional wellness is less a state of being and more akin to a skill. Instead of outlining a list of feelings emotionally healthy people feel, it is better to outline how healthy people deal with both positive and negative feelings. They:
- Recognize their feelings
- Acknowledge their feelings
- Manage their feelings
- Recognize that some feelings require additional help to handle
- Understand when feelings may be linked to an illness or something greater
All of these are skills, and anyone can learn and practice them. In fact, there are steps linked to improving these skills.
Emotional Health Is Linked to Your Overall Health
Why is it important to recognize, acknowledge, and manage your emotions? It helps you become the best version of yourself and reach your full potential. When you’re in control of your feelings, you’re more likely to deal with the stressors life throws at your – big or small. Controlling your emotions improves your productivity at work, at home, and in your relationships. It also helps you contribute to the world
Emotional health is also linked to your overall wellbeing.
The ways emotional wellness is linked to your overall being is best described in the 7 Dimensions of Wellness.
The 7 Dimensions of Wellness
The idea of wellness is best associated with physical help, but in reality, it has multiple dimensions that interact with each other to contribute to the way you feel.
Think about a time in your life when you felt physically strong and healthy, emotionally settled, fulfilled at work and at home, and in touch with your spiritual sense of self. It’s a very different feeling only feeling physically health.
The 7 Dimensions of Wellness theory recognizes each of the different factors impacting the way you feel. These seven sides of health are:
Those who neglect one or more of these dimensions begin to see how interconnected they are to each other.
Let’s dive deeper into each of these dimensions.
Maintaining your physical health requires self-care. It requires eating a nutritious diet, avoiding toxic habits like substance abuse, taking care of disease when it’s recognized, and avoiding injuries by living safely (wearing a seatbelt, etc.).
For most people, their physical health fluctuates. They get the flu, are ravaged by food poisoning, or struggle with chronic issues like allergies. But working hard to
Emotional wellness refers to understanding one’s own emotions in the face of life’s ups and downs. It means not only acknowledging but sharing those feelings in a way that’s constructive.
Learning doesn’t begin and end in the classroom. Your whole life is a learning curve and there’s a whole world out there to explore. New ideas and experiences are an important part of maintaining your intellectual wellness because they allow you to learn and apply new knowledge to your life.
By challenging yourself to learn something new, you’ll see how these new things improve your existing skills and help you achieve both personally and professionally.
Spiritual wellness doesn’t necessarily refer to religion but instead the spiritual side of ourselves that looks for inner peace and comforting harmony. Religion can play a role in spiritual wellness, but only if it helps you look for the connection between your behaviors and your values as a way of making sense of the world.
Environmental wellness recognizes the role of the environment we live in on our overall wellbeing. The environmental aspects of wellness include both the global and local environment. Air quality, clean water, and healthy land each lend a hand to wellness.
Occupational wellness refers to our careers or jobs. It requires you to strike a balance between your impact goals at work and your life outside work to find balance in your life. For many, it also means working within an organization that has a positive impact not only on our lives but the lives of our co-workers, neighbors, and local, national, and global communities.
Social health and wellness is related to your ability to connect with others. A healthy social dimension means that you’re able to make connections with people you know – and even people you don’t.
Maintaining a healthy social life is a lifelong process, and many find it difficult because it sometimes means shuffling relationships to remove negative or toxic relationships, even if you’ve been in them for a long time.
Striking a Balance for Emotional Wellness
As you can see, each of these seven dimensions of wellness is interconnected with the others. The result of these ties means that striking a balance between them is essential for maintaining balance as a whole.
For example, if your occupational wellness is suffering because you work for a company that you know has damaged your community, you might see your spiritual, environmental, emotional, and physical wellness suffer in tandem because of the knock-on effects of wellness.
Because of this, building a life where emotional wellness is acknowledged and balanced takes work that will last the rest of your life.
Are you ready to build platform of emotional health to build your life on? Here’s how to get started.
How to Improve and Preserve Your Emotional Health
Improving and preserving your emotional health is a lifelong process – and it is hard work. It requires personal investment and support from those around you. You’ll need to go beyond your gut feelings and reactions to attend to the feelings and thoughts that make up the core of your feelings. Addressing the root of your mental wellbeing is key.
Thankfully, there are definable actions that anyone can take to help keep a balanced perspective on their own emotional health even on the most trying days.
Here are some tips for living an emotionally-aware life:
Find Your Personal Strength
You are strong, but your strengths are unique to you. Find what your personal strengths are and build on them. They’ll provide you with a solid foundation upon which you can build a strong life.
Focus on Resiliency
Resiliency means turning obstacles into challenges and stress into opportunities. Building your resiliency or hardiness allows you to not just survive but thrive even when life isn’t going your way.
Building resiliency means finding a personal emotional strategy to take on.
Build a Foundation of Friends
Your social wellness is important to your emotional health because positive relationships provide connection and build self-esteem. There’s no prescription for a strong social circle – it may include one or one hundred friends.
The most important thing is to focus on removing toxic relationships from your life whether they’re friendships, work relationships, or even family members.
Develop a Positive Self-Concept
We spend much of our lives worrying about what others think of us, but what do you think of yourself? A positive self-concept contributes to your emotional wellness by recognizing the things that make you valuable and treating yourself kindly and respectfully regardless.
How Do These Tips Help?
Each of these tips help you develop what’s called emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence refers to the skill of identifying your emotions and then using them in a way that’s positive or constructive. Learning intelligence allows you to better regulate your emotions so that you see a previously debilitating mood coming and avoid it.
See a Professional
Being emotionally intelligent means recognizing when you can’t work through an issue on your own.
For some people, seeing a psychologist is an essential step to finding a balanced emotional state. Whether it’s the result of trauma, mental disorder, or any other scenario, psychotherapy may be an option. Even if you’re working towards emotional health and wellness on your own, a psychologist can help you reassess your work and overcome roadblocks you encounter along the way.
Emotional Wellness Is a Skill
Emotional wellness is something you’ll spend your whole life working on. Thankfully, it’s not something some people are born with and others aren’t: it’s based on skills everyone must work on as they grow physically, spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally.
Are you ready to begin a better life based on wellness? Visit these resources to get started.
Feature image via Mendham – Borough Library