We all experience challenges in life, some of us major and some minor. How we manage our emotional health during these periods and beyond is what affects our overall well-being. Do you think positive emotions improve your health?
It may be useful to view emotions as the experience and flow of feelings.
These can include (but are not limited to) happiness, joy, contentment, sadness, anger, or fear and can be triggered by something external (from watching a movie, to seeing an accident) or something internal (recalling an unpleasant memory).
While emotions are universal, each person may experience them and respond to them in a different way. Furthermore some people may struggle with understanding what emotion they are experiencing.
People who have good emotional health are aware of their behaviours, feelings and thoughts. They have healthy relationships and they feel good about themselves.
Albert Ellis the psychologist, an important contributor to the ideas behind cognitive-behavioural therapy and founder of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) said that emotions don’t come from what happens to you (as we all assume) but from your thoughts about what has happened.
So what can you do to improve your awareness for emotional wellbeing, building resilience, strengthening your relationships, improving your mood and getting more enjoyment out of life?
Social Interaction For Emotional Wellbeing
Social interaction is vital to human health, both mentally and physically. Humans are social beings, with an overriding emotional need for relationships and positive connections to others.
People with strong and broad social relationships are happier, healthier and live longer.
We’re not meant to survive, let alone thrive, in isolation. Therefore an important factor in improving emotional health and building resilience is having supportive people around that you can talk to on a daily basis.
Social support not only helps improve a person’s well-being, it affects the immune system as well, where the lack of social interaction can negatively lead to first signs of depression and anxiety.
People with supportive friends and family generally have better mental and physical health than those who lack these networks. The same is true for those who take part in churches, clubs and voluntary organisations.
Having a network of social connections or high levels of social support has been shown to increase our immunity to infection, lower our risk of heart disease and reduce mental decline as we get older.
Strategies For Connecting To Others For Emotional Wellbeing
- Catch up with friends and family.
- Meet new people.
- Join a club. Join networking, social, or special interest groups that meet on a regular basis. These groups offer wonderful opportunities for meeting people with common interests.
- Attend a Meet up group. Meetups are gatherings of like-minded people, often at a bar or restaurant or walk, who get together to just chat and get to know each other.
- Join a class.
- Volunteering has a positive effect researchers have discovered that the greatest benefit of social connection stems from the act of giving to others. When measuring hormones and brain activity when people are being helpful to others, researchers have discovered that being generous delivers pleasure.
- Limit screen time. We all love our smartphones and devices but;
- Get out from behind your smart phone, computer or TV screen. Spending too much time staring at a screen denies you the face-to-face interactions that can meaningfully connect you to others.
- Screens have their place but communication is a largely nonverbal experience that requires you to be in direct contact with other people, so don’t neglect your real-world relationships in favour of virtual interaction.
Avoid Isolation That May Adversely Affect Emotional Wellbeing
Living alone or in a limited social circle due to relocation, aging, or decreased mobility can lead to isolation and an increased risk of depression.
Whatever your situation, try to schedule regular social activities with friends, neighbours, colleagues, or family members who are upbeat, positive, and interested in you.
Manage Stress For Better Emotional Health
Many of us spend so much of our daily lives feeling stressed, we’re no longer even aware of it. Being stressed feels normal. But when stress becomes overwhelming, it can damage your mood, trigger or aggravate mental and physical health problems, and affect your quality of life.
While social interaction and exercise are excellent ways to relieve stress, it’s not always realistic to…
You can read the FULL version of this article in our quarterly eZine, ‘Holistic Living Magazine,’ look for Edition 7 on this archive page. There’s many more articles about emotions waiting for you too!
Irene Vervliet – Naturopathic Doctor