Last time was all about the social. This time it is all about the emotional well-being. This doesn’t mean tears and tribulations. It means how do we ensure we are balanced emotionally to cope with everyday life?
The better you are at mastering emotions, the greater your capacity to enjoy life, to cope with the stress and focus on important personal priorities
Emotional well-being definition
Here are a few definitions I found useful when doing a handy Google search:
Emotional well-being is not the absence of emotions but is the ability to understand the value of your emotions and use them to move your life forward in positive directions. – belongto.org
Emotional well-being includes having resilience, getting up when life breaks you down rather than living a problem-free life, emotional health means we can bounce back from setbacks and thrive despite problems.
I can’t remember where I saw this quote, I wrote it in my notebook a few months ago but never wrote the source. It is a fitting quote though. No one has a problem free life, not even those who show one to the outside world. We all have challenges, some just face them with more of a battle plan than others.
What emotional well-being looks like
Taking care of our emotional well-being doesn’t mean we have to be happy all the time. That’s just not possible and it is unrealistic to expect this. It simply means we have the resilience and stamina to take on life in a positive way. Roll with the ups and downs as best as we can.
How can we take care of our emotional well-being?
We are largely responsible for our own actions and our own reactions to life, challenges, emotions, thoughts and choices made. Often it is how we react to our emotions that either fuels or extinguishes the fire. We can let our emotions rule our mindset and headspace or we can let them lie in peace.
Friends can be a ray of sunshine, leaning on a close friend, crying on their shoulder, joking, being in their company, doing something you both enjoy together can help stabilise our emotional well-being. They can also drain us. It is important to recognise when this is happening and take a step back. Sometimes a listening post is what we need, other times a distraction. A friend that doesn’t sugar coat things is refreshing and can give us the kick we sometimes need to drag ourselves back up again. Even though it can sometmes be hard to listen to.
Writing is something that can help, a journal is a release of everything, even if we don’t find out the answers. It is there on paper and not in our head anymore. Celebrating our achievements and accomplishments, no matter how big or small has a positive effect on our emotional well-being.
Turning our emotions around
Our emotional wellbeing has a lot to do with ourselves, we are responsible for changes. No one else can do this for us. We can choose to change our paths or how we react to something. How we choose affects our emotions. We also have to remember that feelings are fickle, emotions can lie and we can’t depend on emotions to be truthful.We can also lie to ourselves and convince ourselves of something that isn’t true.
Something small can shift our emotional well-being. It can be a kind or a flippant remark from a stranger, it could be the feeling of the sun on our backs, it could be something we hear on the news, it could be an unexpected conversation with a friend you haven’t heard from in a while, it could be being late for work. These small things have the power to shift our emotions from one extreme to the other. If we let it. Shifting our attitude from the negative to the positive can instantly have an effect. This also works the other way as well!
It’s just a bad day. Not a bad life
What happens when we don’t take care of our emotional well-being?
I will put my hand up here and say I have been known to not deal with emotions very well. I have used all sorts of numbs and distractions. Alcohol, sex, drugs, unhealthy abusive relationships, you name it! I’ll let you in on a little secret. These things don’t work, they just mask the pain.
There is a little thing I have coined the Ostrich Approach. You know? When you bury your head in the sand and hope your problem will go away? Yup, that. Here’s the thing. That doesn’t work either. The problem, feeling, decision, whatever it is that is putting your emotions into turmoil will still be there once the sand blows over. Only there will less time to deal with it. Often we mask emotions, put on a brave face and pretend they are not there. However, the real problem is still there, pretending doesn’t fix anything and affects people around you
HOW we respond to emotions can affect the emotions themselves. If we react negatively to something then we are more likely to feel negative emotions. Not dealing with our emotions positively can exacerbate mental illness and we can start spiralling downwards. Walling in self-pity is harmful.
Depression and our emotional well-being
I went through a very bad phase in my life where my emotional well-being was at rock bottom. I was diagnosed with “severe chronic depression”, seeing a therapist weekly and put on a cocktail of medication. Mood stabilisers were tried as all the anti-depressants I had tried failed. While the mood stabilisers did help prevent the lows getting too low, they also stopped the highs of life. I felt like a zombie. I was present in life physically but mentally and emotionally I was just going through the motions. Happiness and sadness were erased. I was just existing.
I came to appreciate the natural ups and downs of life, without them life isn’t really experienced.
Depression can feed our emotions and as a result, we often feel emotions differently than we normally would. My personal experience is either feeling emotions too much or not enough. No in between is found when I am in a depressive state. I found that a combination of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, mild anti-depressants, exercise and friends have helped stabilise my depression.
Click here if you want to read my story, I wrote a guest post over at uninspired about my battle with depression
A positive sense of wellbeing which enables an individual to be able to function in society and meet the demands of everyday life; people in good mental health have the ability to recover effectively from illness, change or misfortune
Mental Health Foundation
Emotional well-being links to other facets
Tips and tricks to take care of our emotional well-being
Sometimes, all we can do is put one foot in front of the other and make the best of the situation we find yourself in. Here are some tips and tricks to take care of your emotional well-being. In a handy infographic, you can pin for later. Handy huh?
“I once asked a 102 year old man on how he was so sprightly and full of beans, here is his answer:
Son, friendship, honesty, loyalty, trust and love is what got me through, and if you have a good amount of these things in your life, you won’t go far wrong”
You are who you are and if you don’t like who that person is, only you can change things.
Once again, I am not an expert. However, I am an observer and a listener. In order to write this post, I sat down with a range of people and had conversations. I asked questions. I listened to the answers, both spoken and unspoken. Your thoughts and viewpoints are more than welcome. In fact, they are encouraged.
How do you take care of your emotional well-being? What tips and tricks would you share?
- Depression this website is a wonderful source if you think you are suffering from depression or you know someone who is.
- Positive Psychology Program has a huge range of resources including worksheets for cognitive behaviour therapy
- Mental Health Foundation is a charity that works towards awareness and support for people suffering from mental health illnesses