What does it mean to have emotional wellness? Emotional wellness is being able to accept our feelings and manage them in healthy ways. It’s an inside job. If we are not balanced internally, no amount of external success or excess will be able to bring us true and lasting happiness.
When we are not emotionally well, meaning we are out of touch with how we are feeling or are denying how we are feeling, we tend to look to the outside to fill us up. This may manifest by us becoming workaholics, needing to be successful at work in order to feel any measure of emotional sanity. Some may turn to alcohol and drugs, relationships, food, or shopping, using them as a means of finding a way to live within our own skin.
Life just feels different when we are emotionally well. We are able to accept how we are feeling and manage those feelings in healthy ways. Emotional wellness doesn’t just happen to us, it’s something we foster and nurture over time. We adopt habits and attitudes about life that, in turn, lead us down a much more balanced and emotionally sound path. Here are some ways to level our emotional playing field and help us bring our scales into balance.
- Accept how you feel. Don’t tell yourself it’s stupid you’re upset about something or you shouldn’t feel that way. That’s denial, the opposite of acceptance. Acceptance means you honor your feelings, without judgement.
- Manage your feelings. Do you ever just feel the need to cry, no reason necessary? Do it! Are you so upset by something that’s happened and need to just scream out of frustration? Grab a pillow and scream! Accept how you feel, then manage that feeling by finding a way to release it without causing any unnecessary harm.
- Express your feelings. Do you need to let someone know that their behavior has been hurtful? Tell them! This doesn’t mean we lash out. Even if we are angry, take a moment to be mindful if this is the right time to talk about what’s happened or if you should wait until you feel like you’re ready to discuss what’s transpired.
- Be flexible. Emotional wellness means being able to cope with change. Patricia Ryan Madson once said: “If something is not to your liking, change your liking.” Being able to adapt to change lowers your stress levels and keeps you right sized with the rest of the world.
- Make your own decisions. You are the director of your own life. Don’t sit in the passenger seat, watching your own history pass before your eyes. Get in the driver seat. Take charge, listen to your gut, and follow your dreams. You are the star of your life!
- Laugh, laugh, laugh. Laughter is truly the best medicine. When we are laughing we’re not worried about yesterday, a hour from now or tomorrow. We are reveling in the moment; grounded yet simultaneously lifted up into the feeling of lightness and ease of spirit that laughter brings.
- Reach out. If you’re not feeling like you can get a hold on how you’re feeling, reach out! Talk to someone close to you. A good heart to heart with a confidant can do wonders. If that’s not an option, bring it up at your next doctor’s appointment. Or look for a professional that can help you learn to manage your feelings and open the door to your own emotional wellness!