Emotions are present in every stage of your life, playing a key role in the way you think and behave. No matter if you have the tendency to hide or express your feelings, they drive your thoughts and behaviors. Naturally, emotional health is very important. Have you been keeping track of your emotional health recently? If the answer is no, you might want to think about taking look into the problem. Everything you do is connected in some way to an emotion, which is why you should prioritize your emotional health. Fulfillment in your emotional life contributes to leading a satisfying life, where you can walk on your own path without fear of judgement. Here are 5 practical ways in which you can emotional health in shape.
1. Understand and accept your emotions
The ability to understand your emotional experiences (1) and accept them is paramount when it comes to emotional health. When you feel good, you are able to overcome the most difficult of challenges. On the other hand, when you are feeling down in the dumps, you barely have the strength to cope with what life throws at you. Describing what you feel is the first step in dealing with emotions in an effective manner. When you are feeling excited or angry, stop for a moment and see if you are able to describe in words what you are feeling.
It can be difficult if not impossible to characterize a tone or feeling. Since a big part of emotional health implies understanding and accepting your feelings, you have to make an effort. The more specific you are about your mental state, the better you are prepared to accept it. Recognize your feelings, do not ignore them, and accept them in a constructive way (2). Acceptance means letting go of control. Emotions cannot harm you, although they may be unpleasant.
2. Manage and reduce stress levels
Everyone experiences physical, mental or emotional stress from time to time. This is a natural reaction when you are confronted with a situation that you cannot control. Stress is the body’s way of telling you that you need to rise up to the challenge. So, it is not always a bad thing. When you experience stress and worry, you should meditate. Mindfulness meditation prevents stress, triggering a relaxation response. Meditation practically elicits a positive bodily reaction. Your body enters a deep stage of relaxation in which the breathing, pulse rate, and blood pressure are decreased.
Pay attention to your breath and remain in the present moment. Meditation requires patience and music. Music will calm your physiology and eliminate stress from your mind. It is like medicine for the mind. All you have to do is listen to the music with full attention. If classical music is not your cup of tea, then do not choose it. Select songs with lyrics that are not distracting. While you are listening to the tunes, you will discover what is happing inside yourself. The minimum amount of time for meditation is 20 minutes. You can start with less, though. Try meditating for a few minutes in the morning.
3. Go on a holiday
Go on a vacation and calm your mind. This will give you temporary relief from everyday worries. Simply pondering about what destination you are going to visit and what you will do the moment you get there will take your mind off pressing issues (3). The fresh air and sunshine will do you good. Consider taking a trip around the world. Being away from home will offer you the chance to reflect on your life objectively. You will get a fresh new perspective on what you want and expect from life. When you come back home, you will no longer feel the tension on the air.
4. Connect with others
Nothing can be lovelier than forming connections with the people around you. True connection happens when you do not even know it. You need positive connections in your life. They provide much-needed support during tough times, not to mention that positive relationships encourage growth. Good friends are always willing to lend a helping hand. Make sure that you are surrounded by positive people. Smile more often. Science says that you should smile at strangers (4). So, the next time you are taking a walk, remember to put on a happy expression. What is more, try to make eye contact when you are passing by on the street. Keep doing it until it feels natural. Keep in mind that it is very important to have a support system of friends. Whom are you going to call and talk to about what is bothering you?
5. Eat and drink healthier every day
Eating well is associated with feelings of wellbeing. Consuming more fruits and vegetables can make you a happier person. The relationship between healthy eating and higher levels of satisfaction is notorious. More precisely, everyone knows that a well-balanced diet leads to reduction in depression and stress levels. Making changes in the way you eat will enhance your mood, give you more energy, and help you think more clearly. It is essential to make healthy choices regarding what you drink as well. Whenever you find it impossible to focus, resort to teas and juices. These are the drinks that can help balance your mood:
- Water with lemon – Lemon consumption is believed to reduce stress and improve the mood. If you drink water with lemon for about a week, you will definitely notice an improvement.
- Chamomile tea – This drink improves alertness, in addition to the fact that it has a calming effect. You can add heated milk to the mix, if you like. Milk increases blood flow to the brain, so why not?
- Green tea – Green tea has strong effects on mood and cognition. It boosts cognitive function, improves mental clarity and promotes relaxation. Do not drink coffee all day long. Better sip green tea.
If you are feeling blue, your diet is most surely to blame. Foods that can really make a difference are chocolate, salmon, blueberries, spinach and yogurt. Make sure they are not missing from your diet. They are important for your physical and emotional health.
(1) The Complete Guide to Understanding Your Emotions
(2) How Accepting Emotions Can Improve Emotional Health
(3) Why Traveling is a Good Method to Release Stress
(4) What Happens When You Smile At Everyone?
by Cara Lucas