Let’s face it, life is not easy. It takes guts, courage, and determination just to get out of bed in the morning and the day doesn’t always get better from there. But, when the day is long and challenges daunting, the emotionally healthy rely on untapped reserves of resilience, balance, and contentment to keep them afloat and effective.
Emotional health works as a ballast in the hull of a ship keeping the mind and cognitive processes stable in the rough and unexpected course of daily events. Emotional health is also closely connected to social health, mental wellness, cognitive performance, physical health, and just about every aspect of day to day living from eating and sleeping habits to immune function.
Following is a concise overview of emotional health, why it is so important, and how specific actions and habits can promote optimal health. The information contained here can help you identify and activate your capacity to rise above the clouds when feeling emotionally under the weather.
Why Is Emotional Health So Important?
Emotional health is an important component of general health and is sometimes considered an aspect of mental health. The terms mental wellness and emotional health are used interchangeably and the boundaries of these subjects overlap in many areas, but there are some key differences.
Mental health refers to the conditions of the mind and brain that result in cognitive functions, behaviors, thought patterns, and feelings of all types. Mental health observes and addresses the needs of mental functioning from severely impaired, as in the conditions of mental illness, to optimal levels. On the other hand, emotional health is used to refer to the condition in which a person lives an emotionally balanced and mentally resilient life while promoting wellness within their interior and exterior worlds.
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Whether you choose to address your mental wellness or emotional health matters little because by addressing one, you will have an excellent perspective and desire to begin addressing the other –– the two concepts are intrinsically connected. One of the most notable characteristics of mental health is an uncanny resilience to emotional crisis and fortitude that can be extended to those around you.
Experts have referred to emotional health as a state of “optimal psychological functioning” like the upper-crust of the mental health spectrum. Emotional health is achieving a silent spot where thoughts, feelings, and behaviors used to navigate and interface with the internal and external worlds are coordinated and processed skillfully beyond the maddening clamor of stress, anxiety, fear, and negativity.
How Does Emotional Health Affect You?
Having a brilliant mind, powerful skill set, and healthy body is not enough without the emotional health to tie it all together and make a winning combination. Just look at how many areas of your life emotional health affects:
School and Work
The school and work scene is so exciting with all the new people, situations, and things to learn. Emotional health will allow you to keep a good head as you process important information and interact with those around you. Stress and anxiety can also thwart your smooth mental processing without the protective shield of emotional health to rebuff their effects.1
Emotions have the potential to be very powerful and can have devastating consequences when they become beyond your control. But, people dying of broken hearts is the scientifically-proven exception, not the rule.2
Most people will suffer from immune deficiencies and high blood pressure that can come from negative emotions running riot through the mind and body. Stress-related health risks are the most common threat to those suffering from unhealthy emotional states.3,4
Emotional health allows emotions to be experienced and processed so they don’t keep popping up to disrupt your mind and cause recurring bouts with stress. Uncontrollable emotions can make anxiety and depression a more serious threat. Eventually, having a hard time controlling emotions will make it very difficult to establish the strong relationships needed for good mental health. This can lead to more mental conditions like depression and, if left unchecked, dementia.5
If you understand yourself and your emotions, you will have no fear in connecting and communicating with other people because you will also have a deeper understanding of them. Remember the fear and tension that comes from meeting new people or mustering the courage to speak with a potential love interest comes from uncertainty. This uncertainty can be banished with a little more emotional awareness.
Tips for Centering Your Emotional Health
Emotions are ephemeral and must be released so they don’t get overwhelming. Following are a few other practices that can be applied to improving emotional health:
- Begin to get a feel for the emotions you experience. Take note of what makes you sad, depressed or angry. Begin to think about how those things can be addressed.
- Find constructive ways to express what you need to say to the right people. Those close to you make great sounding boards for honest communication about feelings, but still choose your words, tone and volume carefully.
- Don’t bottle things up. It is better discuss feelings and fears than allow stress and anxiety a chance to do hamper with your school or work.
- Learn to detect stress coming on and develop a suitable countermeasure. Taking a quick walk, talking to your goldfish, writing out your feelings or just taking a few deep breaths can dispel the panic and help restore mental order.6
Final Notes on Cultivating Emotional Health
Just like physical health is a lot more than just not being sick, emotional health can provide great benefits to life from cultivation and nourishment. The path to emotional health begins with being able to identify the emotions we experience and learn to feel and experience them fully. All emotions carry with them an important meaning and insight into ourselves and should be examined.
But, this doesn’t mean they should be idolized or focused on. As healthy attention is paid to emotions, it will be possible to properly identify what is being experienced to adjust plans accordingly. Remember, emotions are very powerful and with enough practice they can actually be harnessed for their power. But, now we are discussing another subject, emotional intelligence.7
Photo credits: ESBProfessional/shutterstock.com, GPStudio/shutterstock.com, JoshuaResnick/shutterstock.com, WAYHOMEstudio/shutterstock.com