By Dr. Peter Klapper Ph.D.
Autumn has begun to roll in, and as the leaves start to change, it’s a good reminder for us to check in on our own mental health. Already the foliage is morphing into various colors, and as the leaves drop it allows us to reflect on the changes we need to make personally. For many, that is to take a breath, slow down and let go. All in which is a perfect way to check in with our emotional wellness and overall physical well-being.
October is Emotional Awareness Month, and for good reason: This month is not time to point fingers or self-criticize but to celebrate how you can control your emotions. Your mental health matters, and we will be helping you with that by providing “A Guide To Cultivating Emotional Wellness.”
Understanding Emotional Wellness
Emotional wellness is extremely important. It’s our ability to successfully handle the stressors that emerge from everyday life and figure out how you can adapt to change and difficult times. It involves recognizing, understanding, and effectively managing those emotions, and it encompasses, self-awareness, self-regulation, and our relationships with others.
Yes, it’s good for people to have their emotions balanced, but that also plays as a large factor in overall health. When a person is in a negative emotional state, it can take a toll on their life both physically and mentally. Those factors include:
- A weakened immune system
- Issues at work or in relationships
- Increased likelihood to contract an illness anywhere from heart disease to psychiatric problems
- Trouble concentrating
Assessing Your Emotional Well-Being
When an individual is dealing with a lot on their plate, they can get to the point where they experience emotional distress that comes in the form of anxiety or depression. It can cause someone to feel overwhelmed, hopeless, guilty which then can turn into sleeping issues, changes in appetite, fatigue, struggles at completing daily tasks, and relying on mood-altering substances.
So, what can you do if you’re feeling anxious, stressed or isolated? Don’t worry; there are ways that you can evaluate your emotional well-being and strategies to tend to your various emotional states. Some great tools and assessments are available online, but sometimes it’s just as easy to ask yourself a few questions to evaluate how you’re doing. Those may be questions such as:
- How am I feeling today?
- What’s been worrying me lately?
- Am I taking care of my body and providing its basic needs?
- What makes me happy? Am I currently doing that each day?
- What people do I have in my life that have my back?
It may feel silly at first talking to yourself, but these tools can help remind you what’s important in life, uncover anything negative you may be dealing with, and to look for the positives and strategies to move forward. One of those strategies being an “Emotional Wellness Toolkit.”
Components of an Emotional Wellness Toolkit
An “Emotional Wellness Toolkit” is a strategy that involves gathering resources and strategies that promote mental and emotional well-being. It allows for you to make small changes in your life and learn how to cope with new challenges. Of course, everyone has different needs, but the following toolkit is a great place to start.
To be mindful is to be aware of your thoughts about yourself and others without judgement. It is a mental state that allows a person to calmly acknowledge and accept their feelings, thoughts, actions, and bodily sensations. So, how do you achieve this state?
There are apps and programs that promote guided meditation that can help you dive deeper into your emotional well-being and let go of past and future thoughts. Another great way is to listen to your favorite genre of music. Music alone can rejuvenate your mood and help you reflect.
Mindfulness can then be practiced in all facets of life. Whether it’s paying attention to how much you’re eating, choosing to be in the moment during a conversation, or focusing on your breathing. By being more mindful, you become more aware of your daily interactions.
Managing your stress is a huge component in achieving a positive emotional state. Management techniques include speaking with a counselor or therapist in order to let go of thoughts and emotions that are building up. Engage in stress relieving activities such as exercising, taking a walk-in nature, or yoga. Carving out time for yourself by scheduling a massage or spa appointment. Maybe it’s even just taking a bubble bath and reading a book. Whatever you need to do to take a breath and let go of unneeded stressors.
Self-Awareness And Challenging Negative Thoughts
Similar to the techniques above, it’s important to check in with yourself mentally. Are you able to have a hold on how you’re feeling? Are you being consumed by negative thoughts? By asking yourself questions such as “how am I feeling,” “Is my mood affecting those around me” allows you to have more self-awareness not only about your emotions but whether those emotions are affecting you or others outwardly.
Practicing Gratitude / Positive Self-Talk
Practicing gratitude and speaking to yourself kindly can greatly improve your emotional state. That can easily be done in the form of writing down a list of positive affirmations to tell yourself each morning as you look at yourself in the mirror to get ready. Another great tool is creating a “gratitude journal” and writing down three things that you are grateful for each day.
Emotional Resilience and Coping Skills
It’s important to develop the skill of adaptability and seeing challenges as opportunities for growth. This mindset not only enhances emotional resilience but also transforms obstacles into steppingstones toward personal development.
This can also be done as you begin to embrace your emotional intelligence. Work toward recognizing, managing, and regulating your emotions. To do this, you need to steer away from impulsive reactions and, instead, respond thoughtfully to various situations. If you typically want to yell at someone for taking too long in line, take a breath and realize that you have no idea what is going on in that person’s life.
Staying Connected With Loved Ones
More than anything, it’s important to stay in touch with your friends and family. It’s also important to have a line of open communication and transparency so everyone knows where they stand and know how you feel. If you are struggling, reach out to your family or friends that are in your trusted circle. Sometimes, we just need someone to listen and to give us a hug when we are feeling down.
There are many resources available that can help achieve emotional well-being, and we have a few recommendations, including a few of our natural mood booster and sleep remedy.
- Calm Mood: Our natural brain performance enhancer blends organic, time-tested, and safe ingredients to sharpen brain function. It is designed to increase focus, attention, concentration, creativity, mental clarity, positivity, and emotional balance. Therefore, helps reduce brain fog and symptoms related to an inability to pay attention.
- Sleep Well: For those seeking an effective natural sleep aid or insomnia relief, our roll-on topical sleep aid represents a wonderful treatment option. It successfully eases restless sleep or insomnia, the nano delivery system goes to work upon application.
- Self-Help Books such as “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” by Stephen Covey.
- Emotional Wellness websites and apps such as Verywellmind and Happify.
Recognizing When You Need Help
Remember, consistent practice of these strategies is key, and you can experiment with different tools and techniques to find what works best for you. However, if you find that you still need help and can’t get out of your emotional funk, it’s okay to reach out to professional help. There are many resources available based on an individual’s needs.
- Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Support
- Veterans Crisis Line
- 988 Mental Health Emergency Hotline: Calling 988 will connect you to a crisis counselor regardless of where you are in the United States.
- Finding a therapist. Great resources include Good Therapy
The Importance of Ongoing Self-Care
Taking care of yourself mentally and emotionally doesn’t just stop after October. It should be something you consistently invest in daily. Maybe you’re at a point where you don’t need your entire emotional well-being toolkit but can still use a few tools to keep yourself in check whether that is continuing to give yourself grace and positive affirmations daily, work on keeping your stress at a manageable level, communicating with loved ones or engage in mental resilience to create new neuropathways when you respond to heated situations.
Regardless, emotional wellness is something that needs to be nourished and worked on to reap the rewards of a more satisfying and meaningful life. It will be a continuous journey, but if you keep making the effort, you will start to see improvements in the quality of your relationships and everyday life.