6 Daily Habits to Support Your Emotional Health
Oct 26, 2022
Your emotional health is about how you think and feel, as well as your ability to cope with challenges in life. It is not about being happy all the time, but rather it is about recognizing and managing how you are thinking and feeling on an ongoing basis. When you are emotionally healthy, you are aware of your thoughts and feelings, you feel in control of them, and you are able to bounce back when life throws challenges your way. Emotionally healthy individuals are typically adaptable, have coping strategies that they are able to implement during challenging times, and they have an overall positive mindset.
On the other hand, individuals who struggle with emotional health may experience more negative emotions (frustration, anger, sadness, hopelessness, or fear). They may also try to avoid or escape from certain life situations, lash out at loved ones, experience mood swings, withdraw, struggle professionally, struggle with relationships, sleep too much or too little, or eat too much or too little. Individuals experiencing these challenges may lose sight of the things that they do have control of, and experience challenges while trying to control things outside of their control.
The good news is that with increased self-awareness and intention, we can always control what we are thinking which ultimately controls how we are feeling. Building positive emotional health does not take a lot of time each day, however, it does require consistency. Implementing one or more of the daily habits below can help you improve your overall emotional health.
- Practice gratitude daily. Your brain will focus on what you tell it to focus on. If you tend to focus on only the negative things that have happened or could happen, your brain will highlight more negative things for you, and will perhaps even blow them out of proportion. When you practice gratitude, you are taking control of your mind and you are telling it that it is important to look for the good things happening each day. As a result of this practice, you will experience a more balanced outlook on life.
- Proactively breathe throughout the day. All day long things are happening in your life that can increase your stress, worry, frustration, anxiety, etc. This can result in your nervous system “revving up” which makes it harder to manage your thoughts, your emotions, and your reactions. Box breathing is the type of breathing my clients find most helpful overall because it both slows down the nervous system and distracts your mind. To do this type of breathing, breath in slowly for a count of four, pause and hold your breath for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, and pause for a count of four. Repeat this cycle ten or more times. While the slow breathing helps you slow down your nervous system, as simple as it sounds, counting to four allows your brain to stop all the other thoughts that may be causing unpleasant emotions.
- Take control of your morning. I know that this is not popular, but don’t start your morning on your phone. When you allow email, text messages, or social media to set the tone for your day, you lose the ability to have full control of doing this yourself. When you take some time (it does not need to be a lot of time) to start your day in a way that allows you to check in with yourself, set an intention for the day, schedule your day, enjoy a cup of coffee, meditate or pray, and/or exercise, you feel more in control. What your morning should look like is up to you but decide to start it with things that help you focus, feel good, and feel in control of your day.
- Have boundaries around what you allow in. Think about what kind of information, opinions, news, people, and social media you allow into your life. Be aware of how the information you consume impacts how you think and feel and if you feel it is not helpful to you, limit it or eliminate it if possible.
- Manage your thoughts. If you notice you have thinking patterns that are unhelpful, these can be changed. If, for example, you tend to think about the worst-case scenarios or you assume others are out to get you, challenge these thoughts. Ask yourself if they are 100% true and what evidence you have that supports them. Then, ask yourself if there is a different way you could be thinking about the situation.
- Control the controllables. When life throws you a curve ball, and it will, identify what things you have control over, versus what things you do not have any control over. Too often we spend a lot of energy thinking about and trying to change things that we cannot control. When faced with a challenging situation ask yourself, “What can I control about this situation and how can I make the most out of it, even if it is not what I prefer to be happening?”.
Being emotionally healthy does not mean that you will always feel good, or that you pretend hard things in life do not happen. It is about being self-aware, socially aware, and feeling a sense of control over your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. If you struggle with your emotional health, consider talking to a coach or therapist. A coach or therapist can help you uncover blocks you may not see, can help give you individualized strategies based on your specific situation, and can help accelerate your progress in improving your emotional health. You don’t have to do this on your own.
Live your best boss lady life!
Karen Vincent Solutions
If you are interested in more information about how to manage unhelpful thinking patterns, you can grab my 5 Common Thought Distortions Guide HERE.
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