Health and well being is multifaceted. While we may generally have a good understanding of our physical health, we may not be aware of our emotional well being. In this article Dr. Naomi shares some information about emotional wellbeing and provides practical advice to incorporate into your daily life.
What is Emotional Wellbeing?
When we think about what health means, for many of us, the first thought is usually regarding our physical wellbeing. That is our ability to maintain a healthy quality of life and partake in our daily activities without pain, fatigue, illness or stress. While a healthy body is vital for our overall health and wellbeing, another equally important aspect of our health is our emotional wellbeing.
Emotional wellbeing promotes resilience and self awareness. It refers to our ability to cope with the ups and downs of life and involves our ability to manage and express all feelings – whether they be pleasant or unpleasant ones. Emotional wellbeing is not about feeling happiness and love all the time. It is about being aware of our emotions, including the ones we find unpleasant such as anger, grief, fear and sadness that come with the bundle deal of being a normal human being. Unpleasant feelings usually are short-lived, and with healthy emotional wellbeing we are better equipped to manage them.
How to Improve Emotional Wellbeing
There are many ways to improve and maintain your emotional wellbeing. Here are some ideas and strategies you can use as a guide to implement into your daily routine
1. Self Awareness
Being in tune with our feelings, strengths, weaknesses, thoughts beliefs, motivations etc.
Meditation is a well known practice that helps create a sense of internal calm and awareness. It has been practiced over thousands of years by many different traditions, primarily Eastern traditions, however is now widely practiced in Western society. Meditation comes under the umbrella of ‘mindfulness’. ‘Mindfulness’ is a board term that simply means being aware of the present moment. Types of formal meditation practice include breath work, use of mantras or phrases, guided meditation and body scan. Studies have shown changes in areas of the brain concerned with stress and anxiety of people who have meditated over the long-term. If you are new to meditating, know that it is completely normal to have a wandering mind and to find it tricky to ‘switch off’. You could simply start by taking a few moments and focusing on your breath a couple of times a day. If you need some assistance to get started, try following a guided meditation video such as this one.
2. Self Acceptance
Accepting oneself fully. This means embracing not only the traits and qualities we perceive as good about ourselves, but also the less desirable parts.
Action: Journal daily
Journaling is the activity of writing down our thoughts and feelings. It allows us to track and reflect upon what we are experiencing. There are absolutely no rules when it comes to journaling, you can write, draw and use your entries however you feel serves you best. However, it is advised to journal daily to get the most out of it. To support our emotional wellbeing, it is beneficial to write about both the positive and negative aspects of our lives to improve our self acceptance. For example, you may write about what makes you happy, stressed, sad or otherwise, your energy levels, productivity, how you feel about your relationships with others and yourself, your values and how you live by them, what went well during the day, what didn’t go so well, how we can improve etc.
3. Self Care / Stress Management
Activities we engage in to promote health, enhance energy, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability.
Action: Make a commitment to do something for yourself every day and stick to it.
Being mentally healthy is important for everyone – we all deserve to lead fulfilled enjoyable lives. A self-care routine can help to enhance your health and wellbeing. There are many facets of self care, including but not limited to physical, relationship, spiritual and personal. Making the commitment to do something ‘nice’ for yourself every day can be a great way to honour your mind and body in one, or more of these facets. The commitment can be as big or little as you please, the main message is that you set your intention and stick to it. Some examples may be taking a 10 minute walk alone before the kids wake up, adding an extra vegetable or fruit into a meal, finding alone time with your partner, organising a regular catch up with friends and family, connecting with someone who shares your philosophy, ruling out an evening to have some ‘down time’ to rug up and watch a movie or turning off the phone an hour before bed to wind down and debrief with a family member or friend.