Do you have trouble making friends, or maintaining fulfilling relationships?
If so, it may be because you are emotionally unhealthy. Most people are emotionally unhealthy because they try to avoid or control their feelings, rather than accept and express them in healthy, assertive ways. If you grew up in a home with parents or caretakers who were not safe to be around due to abuse, neglect, or experiencing traumatic events then your emotional health was effected. The good news is that you can still become emotionally healthy now by providing emotional needs for yourself, or seeking other people and resources to help you. A quality of being an emotionally healthy person is feeling safe and secure with your own emotions and feelings, and providing a safe atmosphere for others to express themselves. In order to be emotionally healthy there are basic emotional needs that when met develop your emotional health. These include:
- Being unconditionally loved.
- Being accepted for who you are.
- Feeling connected to a person, group or community.
- Feeling useful or competent.
- Being acknowledged.
- Feeling safe and secure.
- Being paid attention to.
- Feeling autonomy or control over your environment.
You have the ability to provide several of these emotional needs for yourself. The other needs can be met through interactions with safe people and community resources, so that you become more emotionally healthy. Not having your emotional needs met can result in living an emotionally unhealthy lifestyle.
Some indicators that you are not emotionally healthy include:
- Not feeling in control of your thoughts, feelings or behaviors.
- Not being emotionally available to connect with others.
- Not being flexible with change.
- Using unhealthy substances, such as alcohol or drugs to manage emotions.
- Being unhappy and lacking enjoyment, purpose or fulfillment in your life.
- Staying in an abusive relationship or environment.
- Chronic negative thinking patterns.
- Inability to maintain fulfilling relationships.
- Anger problems.
You can start to enhance your emotional health by incorporating the following daily habits into your lifestyle:
Rest and pace yourself throughout the day. Rushing to complete deadlines can cause stress which decreases emotional well being. Get 6-8 hours of sleep each day. Turn off technology and read inspirational or spiritual literature before going to sleep to calm your mind and promote restful sleep. Exercise 30 minutes a day to combat stress and release endorphin’s which promote emotional well-being. Yoga in particular promotes mind-body connection through breathing, which assists in balancing your emotions. Journal to develop your creative, personal and emotional processes. This helps clear your mind by expressing internal thoughts through writing. It can also be used to deepen self-reflection and to gain more perspective on what triggers your emotions and behaviors.Practice mindful meditation to assist in calming your mind and decreasing emotional intensity. This can actually result in brain changes that may protect against mental illness. Eat foods high in tryptophan (chicken, soybeans, tuna, nuts & bananas) to help regulate your emotions, moods & cognition.
When you get your emotional needs met and practice living an emotionally healthy lifestyle, it can result in benefits such as:
- Liking yourself and practicing good self-care.
- Expressing to others what you need.
- Having a sense of contentment and enjoyment in your life.
- Having long-lasting, fulfilling relationships.
- Feeling that your life is meaningful.
- Regulating and managing your moods and emotions.
- Being able to bounce back from disappointments, setbacks and difficulties.
- Being adaptable and flexible with change and new situations.
In addition to meeting your emotional needs, developing a support network is crucial to maintaining emotional health. Human beings do not thrive in isolation. Choosing people who listen and allow you to express your emotions releases internal feelings. Receiving professional support from mental health experts can assist with developing effective coping skills to deal with life’s difficulties and personal setbacks. The activities you engage in and the daily choices you make affects the way you feel. Be aware of making choices that are for your highest good and engage in activities that grow you as a person. You can be emotionally healthy. It takes commitment to work on it each day. As you become emotionally healthy, the rewards can lead to happiness, fulfilling relationships and a meaningful life.
You are worth it!
Written by Elisabeth Davies, MC
Author of Good Things Emotional Healing Journal: Addiction
*Doris Jeanette, PsyD http://www.drjeanette.com/emotionalhealth.html
**Ally, Prior, BACP http://www.professional-counselling.com/human_givens.html#.U36Qv_ldVHx
***Dr. Shannon Kolakowski http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shannon-kellogg-psy-d/emotional-wellness_b_3722625.html