The National Center for Emotional Wellness defines the term as “an awareness, understanding, and acceptance of your emotions and your ability to manage effectively through challenges and change.” Emotional wellness impacts virtually every aspect of your life. If you practice developing and improving your emotional wellness, you can improve your mental and physical health as well as your ability to weather the circumstances of your life and work effectively toward achieving your goals.
How Emotional Wellness Impacts Your Life
Mental health is a major concern in the U.S. today, with about one in five people each year suffering a mental health episode, and almost everyone nowadays either knowing someone with a mental health issue or having one themselves, or both. Mental well-being can help foster emotional well-being and vice-versa. In other words, improve your mental health, and your emotional wellness is likely to improve too. Likewise, improve your emotional well-being, and you can help improve, or at least better manage, your mental health. In the same way, mental health issues or concerns and poor emotional well-being are mutually linked.
With the awareness of mental health issues spreading and how they affect everyone everywhere, there’s also been a widespread and growing awareness of its impact on physical health. Most people now realize that mental wellness and physical wellness influence each other in a sort of feedback loop. This means that an improvement or concern in your thoughts can yield an improvement or concern in your body and vice versa. Less commonly known or discussed, however, is the relationship between people’s emotions and their physical state. But the fact is emotional wellness has a similarly mutual influence on physical wellness.
By tuning in to your emotions, you’re able to tune in to the physical sensations in your body as well. This physical awareness can help you assess the health of your body and identify any physical problems or causes for concern that need attending. If you act on these observations and address these concerns, you can make improvements in your physical state. The more you act on the messages of your feelings and emotions, the more reliable these messages become. In this way, emotional wellness can help you become more physically well.
Emotional wellness allows you to interact more effectively with others. It gives you a sensitivity to the emotions of others that allows you to treat them with greater kindness, compassion, and empathy. It also allows you to disagree with others without becoming upset or provoking anger in others. In these ways, emotional wellness is essential to connecting with others and building caring, mutually respectful, and enduring relationships.
Working and Learning
Emotional wellness affects every workplace. How employers, employees, clients and customers, partners, and vendors manage their emotions will influence their abilities to perform their jobs and work well with others. Likewise, it affects every school, with the emotional wellness of instructors, students, and administrators influencing how effectively students learn.
Effects of Positive and Negative Emotional Wellness
To summarize, then, poor emotional wellness, or the inability to function in a positive emotional condition, can produce stress mentally, emotionally, physically, and in life, including:
• Weakened immunity and increased illness
• High blood pressure
• Trouble focusing
• Problems in relationships and at school or work
Contrarily, positive emotional wellness empowers you with both the drive and abilities to thrive. Your relationships and performance at school or work can fulfill their potential. This allows you to be more productive and you are then able to achieve your goals in life. You also feel stress less intensely or often, and your ability to resist and combat illness increases.
What Determines Emotional Wellness
Everyone has challenges in their lives. Everyone feels all sorts of ways about those challenges, and not all of those feelings are pleasant. The measure of emotional wellness, however, is not how many negative feelings you have but rather how you deal with them. To be emotionally well is not only having positive thoughts; it’s recognizing however you’re feeling in any given moment, honestly and without judgment, so that you can act on those observations accordingly.
If assessing your emotions at any moment you like what you discover, it can give you the encouragement to keep doing what you’re doing. If you don’t like how you’re feeling at any moment, however, the honest and non-judgmental awareness of those feelings can empower you to take appropriate action to address and change them.
Does Emotional Wellness Make You Happier?
Studies link emotional wellness with happiness and, conversely, a lack thereof with depression. But that doesn’t mean emotional wellness automatically makes you happy. Rather, it gives you the tools you need to achieve that happiness. However, you still need to apply them. Emotional wellness arms you with the awareness of your current state, which empowers you to take action to improve it to better meet your desires.
For emotional wellness to improve, physical wellness requires action. The same applies to emotional wellness building upon itself. By the same token, negative emotional well-being can prompt negative actions. This can, in turn, perpetuate and exacerbate that negative well-being and even lead to a decline in physical wellness.
Ways to Assess Your Emotional Wellness
You can gauge your state of emotional wellness at any time by asking yourself and answering certain questions.
How Do You Treat Other People in Your Life?
Consider both your personal and professional lives as you examine your interactions with others. When you’re emotionally well, you’re generally more able to be sensitive to the needs of others and treat them more compassionately.
Do You Experience Gratitude?
Gratitude is a central quality of emotional wellness. When you feel emotionally well, you tend to feel grateful for the good things in your life. You’re more able to appreciate what you have and avoid feeling bad about what you don’t have. Gratitude arises from emotional wellness, and it can also give rise to emotional wellness. In other words, by counting your blessings, you can boost your emotional wellness.
Are You Happy With Who You Are?
When you’re emotionally well, you’re generally content in yourself. You may have challenges you wish to overcome, but you at least feel like the right person for the job. A lack of emotional wellness, by contrast, can lead to and result in being unhappy with yourself and wanting to be different or even be somebody else. When you’re happy with who you are, you’re more likely to take better care of yourself, use more positive self-talk, and work to improve yourself further, building on the foundation you’ve already got. When you’re unhappy with yourself, you’re more likely to let your physical and psychological health slide, complain a lot, and let your life and aspirations go by the wayside.
Do You Have an Open Mind?
To be emotionally well, you need to be emotionally aware, and for that to happen, you need an open mind. Without that, you can’t honestly or nonjudgmentally notice your feelings or take the appropriate action to change or build upon them accordingly. If you’re too fixed in your beliefs, you’re less likely to accept the messages your emotions are conveying to you and make the changes necessary to effectively and proactively address them.
Does Your Life Have Purpose?
People who have a strong sense of who they are and why they’ve been put on this Earth also tend to have a strong sense of well-being. Whether their purpose is professionally related or family or community-related, this sense of having a purpose in life gives their lives meaning and gives them a reason to get out of bed in the morning. It imbues them with the ability to see the bigger picture of their lives and of life in general rather than get mired in the weeds of little, insignificant frustrations. They know what’s important to them, what they value the most, and how to concentrate on actualizing those in their daily lives.
Do You Have Means of Managing Your Stress?
Everyone experiences stress now and again. Like life’s other challenges, stress itself does not determine your emotional wellness, but what you do with that stress does. Emotionally well people at least arm themselves with the tools to handle stress when it occurs and not let it overwhelm them. Whether it’s therapy, exercise, meditation, or creative endeavors, stress management tools and the wherewithal to utilize them when necessary help you to maintain balance in the structure of your daily life. In turn, this can help you to further maintain your emotional wellness.
Tools to Improve Emotional Wellness
Emotional wellness isn’t a fixed condition or a state beyond your control. Rather, it’s something you can foster and improve with certain actions. The more of these actions you employ, the faster and more powerfully and effectively you’re likely to achieve greater emotional wellness.
Mindfulness is a key element of emotional wellness. It is a state of awareness of the present moment. It requires an active and open attention to now, eschewing all thoughts of the past or future. In this state, you observe your thoughts and emotions without judgment.
By clearing your mind of the past and future, you can experience the present moment fully and gain a clearer perspective on what’s so in the moment. This moment, not the past or future, is also the place where you have the most power to affect change. So mindfulness enables you to both understand your current condition and, if it’s unsatisfactory to you, do something about it.
Without mindfulness, then, it can be difficult to hone in on your current feelings and emotions. At the same time, emotional wellness lets you slow down and become more mindful. In this way, emotional wellness is as much a key component of mindfulness as mindfulness is of emotional wellness.
While small amounts of stress can boost energy and prompt positive action, sustained, extreme or chronic stress can harm your emotional wellness, your health, and your life. To reduce stress:
• Improve your sleep and exercise more often
• Develop and strengthen your social support network
• Establish your priorities
• Treat yourself with compassion
• Set time aside for intentional relaxation and activities that promote it
• Seek therapy or other professional aid
• Learn and practice strategies for coping with disappointment and loss
Improving Your Outlook
People with high emotional well-being tend to have robust resilience or the ability to stave off negative emotions and recover from setbacks and disappointments. Likewise, emotional well-being promotes the ability to sustain positive feelings and appreciate the positive aspects of your life.
To improve your outlook:
• Do good deeds for others every day, and remind yourself of those acts
• Forgive yourself for mistakes you’ve made
• Give gratitude for what’s good in your life
• Spend more time with people you care about and get along with well
• Examine the meaning and purpose in your life
• Practice healthy habits like exercising and eating and sleeping well
For more on how to develop greater emotional wellness, contact us at Defining Wellness Centers today.