Listen to “How Emotions Affect Wellbeing”.
In today’s society, we don’t learn how to work with our emotions. Instead, we learn how to block and avoid them, and we have got quite good at it.
Between alcohol and prescription drug use and screen time, there is a multitude of ways we can avoid our feelings. However, thwarting our emotions is not good for our mental or physical health. It’s like pressing on the gas and brakes of your car simultaneously, creating an internal pressure cooker.
Emotional stress, like that from blocked emotions, has been linked to mental illnesses and physical problems like heart disease, intestinal problems, headaches, insomnia, and autoimmune disorders.
Your body responds to the way you think, feel, and act. For example, when you are stressed, anxious, or upset, your body reacts in a way that might tell you that something isn’t right. However, a more holistic health approach will consider the state of both your mind and body, often referred to as the mind-body connection.
Poor emotional health can weaken your body’s immune system. This makes you more likely to get colds and other infections during emotionally difficult times. Another thing to consider is that when you are feeling stressed, anxious, or upset, you are less likely to take care of your health as well as you should. When we are not happy, we often don’t feel like exercising, eating nutritious foods, meditating or using other stress-reduction practices.
Sorting out the causes of sadness, stress, anxiety, or even trauma can help you manage your emotional health. In addition, once you realize the power of emotions, simply acknowledging them can help immensely.
Here are just some of the many ways to maintain and even improve your emotional health:
1. Get aware
The statement may sound a little odd, but our emotions are messengers trying to tell us something, and their messages can be very valuable if we listen. For example:
- Anger and anxiety show that something needs to change and that perhaps our well-being has been threatened.
- Fear is an appeal to increase your level of safety.
- Frustration or resentment motivates us to change something in a relationship.
Essentially, negative emotions alert us that something needs to change and motivate us to make that change.
Unpleasant feelings are just as crucial as pleasant ones in helping you make sense of life’s ups and downs. So instead of backing away from negative emotions, accept them. Acknowledge how you are feeling without rushing to change your emotional state.
Many people find it helpful to breathe slowly and deeply while learning to tolerate strong feelings or to imagine the feelings as floating clouds, as a reminder that they will pass.
When we think negative thoughts, we physically tense up, which puts us into a greater state of distress. Allow yourself some moments of respite from reality by sitting down, breathing, and relaxing.
If you feel tension in a particular part of your body, do your best to relax it. For example, when you exhale, imagine you’re directing your breath into the area you feel pain, allowing the power of your breath to soften the tension.
When you’re meditating, be still and mentally scan every part of your body, from your head to your feet.
Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative moods and improving your self-esteem and cognitive functions.
You can track your daily activity with the DeepH app. Plus, if you don’t like wearing a fitness tracker, you can manually add info about your workout times and activity types to help you keep on track.
5. Cultivating positive feelings
Noticing and appreciating the positives in our lives is a great way to lift our spirits and provide ourselves with a mental boost. So start practising gratitude by being thankful for all the simple things you have in life.