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Emotional wellness

Mental Health Matters

Last month we explored physical wellness, the impact of sleep hygiene, nutrition, self-care, physical activity and how adopting a balanced lifestyle may influence our physical health and reaching our full potential. Now we will be investigating emotional wellness and how cultivating emotional health supports our ability to adapt to challenging events and moderate stress.

The National Center For Emotional Wellness defines emotional wellness as, "an awareness, understanding and acceptance of our feelings, and our ability to manage effectively through challenges and change."

Emotional wellness, refers to how well people manage their emotions and cope with challenges throughout life by providing awareness and acceptance of feelings, rather than denial or repression. Having an optimistic approach to life, despite occasional frustrations and disappointments, enhances self-esteem, increases a strong sense of self and improves the ability to recognize and share a wide range of feelings with others in a constructive way. Emotional wellness also allows us to learn and grow from experiences, encourages autonomy and improves decision making skills.

Emotional wellness affects personal and professional relationships. The more emotionally healthy we are the more support and care we can offer those we love and respect and the better equipped we are to connect with and relate to others. Examining how you feel and navigating life challenges with a positive mindset leads to better outcomes in personal, scholastic and professional life.

Challenges with emotional well-being may have a negative effect on a person's mental and physical health. There are several ways that not having the ability to maintain a positive emotional state can hinder success and contribute to negative outcomes, particularly because a negative emotional state is a stressful one. These ways include:

• Lower immunity: stress weakens the immune system.

• Hypertension: long-term stress worsens blood pressure.

• Increased illness: stress degrades health, including cardiovascular issues and psychiatric problems.

• Relationship issues.

• Difficulties at work.

• Trouble concentrating.

Options to improve emotional wellness include practicing mindfulness, managing stress and practicing self-compassion. Mindfulness is about being present in the moment and encourages us to fully participate in life and can improve both physical and emotional well-being. By intentionally discussing our feelings with others and asking them about their feelings, we can learn to understand them and experience different perspectives.

Managing stress helps us stay emotionally and physically healthy. A stress management plan allows us to experiment with different activities to see which will help us feel better. Engaging in activities that increase endorphins, one of the "feel-good" chemicals produced by our bodies, improves our emotional wellness. Endorphins can be increased through numerous activities from dancing to laughing, going for a walk, listening to music, taking a bath, practicing yoga, deep breathing or experimenting with simple meditations on YouTube or mindfulness apps.

Practice compassion by forgiving yourself and others, and give yourself credit for your accomplishments at the end of the day, instead of focusing on any deficits. Identify what is important in life, such as professional goals, family, friends, or volunteering, and spend time doing those things.

Working with a professional for additional guidance to learn how to effectively identify and process emotions can be beneficial and supports emotional wellness, goal setting and navigating stressful transitional life events. At Healing Solutions Family Therapy Center, a team of qualified professionals is waiting to support your wellness journey. Please call our office at (661) 903-8822 if we may be of service to you. We accept most major insurance plans.

Carla Cook is a Clinical Supervisor at Healing Solutions Family Therapy Center.