Just as important as our physical health, emotional wellbeing is often overlooked. Yet our mental and emotional state play a huge role in our overall health. It makes sense then to give it the same priority.
Emotional wellbeing isn’t just the absence of mental illness. How we feel about ourselves, having a sense of purpose and control, being able to contribute to society and being happy with life overall are all elements of emotional wellbeing.
1. Prioritising emotional wellbeing can give us the skills to cope with life’s challenges
Everyone has problems. Challenges in life are inevitable.
A good sense of emotional wellbeing can help us to build resilience. This means being able to adapt in difficult circumstances, believing in ourselves and knowing our inner strengths and resources to find a way forward. This doesn’t mean not experiencing distress but being able to “bounce back” more quickly.
2. Managing our emotions doesn’t mean suppressing them
Emotions can be intense. Managing them isn’t about suppressing them but paying attention to them constructively without being overwhelmed by them. Emotions aren’t bad but can affect our judgement. Often, we react impulsively when we are upset which can affect our parenting, friendships, work and health.
3. Our perspective affects our mood
When something happens, we tend to interpret it in accordance with our mood. Thoughts, feelings and behaviour are all linked. Imagine that you are at work and your colleague passes your desk and doesn’t speak to you. You may find yourself wondering if you have offended them or perhaps they don’t like you? As a result you may feel resentful and annoyed. Consequently, you avoid them or act in an offhanded manner when you see them later. Actually it could be that they have had a bad morning and were distracted.
4. Emotional pain can manifest itself physically
Our emotional state has a significant impact on how our body reacts physically. Excessive worrying, perfectionism, people pleasing, low self-esteem, repressed feelings, can all cause internal stress. The physiological reaction can play havoc with our body which can result in headaches, digestive issues, problems sleeping and increased appetite.
5. Prevention is better than cure
We tend to separate “mind” and “body” but total wellbeing depends on caring for both. Poor mental health can negatively impact on physical health. And poor physical health can increase the risk of mental health problems. Of course, there are some things we are outside of our control.
Being proactive means focusing on what we can change, and a holistic approach to wellbeing includes both our physical and emotional health. Knowing our limits, making time for self-care and being aware of when we need extra help are all ways we can begin to take control.
Investing in our emotional health can help us to overcome, and give ourselves a better chance of beating, or maybe even avoiding, depression, anxiety and stress.
But if it doesn’t, being able to recognise that there is a problem and get help earlier means the recovery period is likely to be shorter.
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