October just happens to be Emotional Wellness Month. Maintaining a generally positive outlook and learning to express and manage emotions can help people grow. It can also help you adapt through life’s challenges and enjoy healthy, supportive relationships. When you achieve and maintain emotional wellness, it’s easier to recognize opportunities for stability and growth in many situations.
What is Emotional Wellness?
Emotional wellness involves the ability to express feelings, enjoy life, adjust to emotional challenges, and cope with stress and traumatic life experiences. Emotional stability helps an individual to recognize conflict as being potentially healthy and enhances self-acceptance and contentment.
Self-Reflection and Interpersonal Connections
Self-reflection means taking time to look inward at the feelings experienced and considering why those emotions are there. Think about what impact they might have. This is something to practice not only when people “feel bad” but also when people “feel good”. Depending on the person and situation, self-reflection can happen during, after, or even before (in preparation for) an emotional reaction.
By practicing self-awareness and self-reflection, emotional reactions can teach people a lot about themselves, including how to better cope with feelings. When people can understand their reactions to certain events, they can become empowered.
Relationships and connection with others
Studies show that being part of a social network can influence emotional well-being in a few ways:
- Learning from and being influenced by members of an individual’s social network
- Connecting with others may increase positive emotional states, such as a sense of purpose, belonging, and safety
- Being part of larger social support systems, such as community organizations, can improve access to a wider range of social supports
Trust is essential as it allows a person to feel safe enough to express and process their feelings. Keep in mind that practices like self-reflection and connection with others will be different for each individual served.
Managing Emotions and Adapting to Change
One of the many benefits of mind-body practices, like breath work and meditation, is an increase in mindfulness or awareness of one’s surroundings and self. Some effective methods for enhancing emotional wellness include positive self-talk and replacing negative thoughts and habits with positive ones.
A simple rule for practicing positive self-talk, is to avoid saying anything to or about yourself that you would not say to or about someone else. When thinking negative thoughts, it can be helpful to think of a positive thought, helping to train the mind and generate positive emotions. For example, instead of “I can’t do it,” one could think, “I don’t know how to do this yet, but I can learn!” This is an example of a tip a provider can offer to promote emotional wellness.
Enhancing emotional intelligence
Providers can assist individuals with emotional wellness. They can encouraging you to practice four interrelated abilities that are part of emotional intelligence. These strategies can help promote growth and overall well-being through management of difficult emotions:
- Perceiving emotions
- Using emotion to facilitate thought
- Understanding emotions
- Managing emotions
Supportive Self-Regulation and Co-Regulation
Emotional regulation refers to a person’s ability to regulate their emotions. This is the ability to notice a feeling, consider it, and adjust an emotional reaction or behavior. All while in the moment of the experience to realize particular goals or outcomes. It does not mean ignoring or not dealing with challenging emotions. It may mean taking a few deep breaths at and picking the feelings up later on for further processing.
Effective emotional self-regulation benefits mental health. Moreover, the inability to effectively regulate emotions poses serious risks to a person’s mental health and…enhancing effective emotion regulation skills is a promising way of fostering or restoring mental health.
Co-regulation is two (or more) people managing emotions together or a form of interpersonal emotional regulation. Examples of this during research include infant-parent relationships and intimate partner relationships. Each person in the relationship balances emotional stability. One potential benefit of co-regulation is that it may reduce the impact of accumulated stress on the body for the people in connection with each other.
Studies on fostering self-compassion to support self-regulation show that interventions aimed at increasing self-compassion [in young adults] may help promote positive health behaviors. Positive attitude and confidence in one’s abilities to manage their health are valuable aspects of self-regulation. This can promote healthier intentions and behaviors.
These findings demonstrate that, with more opportunities to practice and grow self-compassion, individuals with intentions can see real change. When you focus on yourself in this way, you may be more likely to engage in self-care practices. Or set healthier intentions, and develop healthier habits for improving emotional wellness.
Connecting Emotional and Physical Wellness
Emotional wellness is closely related to physical wellness. Positive physical health habits can help decrease stress, lower risk of disease, and increase energy. Evidence suggests that physical activity, when part of the treatment protocol for diseases, like depression and schizophrenia there are benefits. It’s important to support healthy physical habits, like proper nutrition and hydration, regular exercise. As well as sufficient sleep, these can enhance emotional wellness while simultaneously improving physical health.
Remember: the wellness approach to recovery offers a holistic framework in which people are viewed as whole human beings. Whether working toward effective prevention efforts, treatment planning, or service delivery, honor the value of emotional wellness in your life.