Modern life is difficult. Family, financial and societal pressures constantly keep mounting and its but obvious that we feel suffocated under such endless expectations. There is a lot to juggle and not all of us have the mental or emotional capacity to do it all at once. But just as we look after our physical health, taking care of our mind is as important. We’re all guilty of putting more focus on having a balanced diet, exercise and living a healthier lifestyle while forgetting to pay attention to our minds and the troubles it’s going through. Mental health encompasses our psychological, social and emotional health and wellbeing. We often forget that there’s a strong connection between the body and the mind.
If our emotional health and wellbeing is out of balance, we are at risk of suffering from high blood pressure, ulcers, chest pain and more such physical symptoms. When we feel good about ourselves, we are better equipped to deal with life’s ups and downs or even larger events like divorce or death. Emotionally healthy people are in better control of their thoughts, feelings and behaviours. They are self-aware enough to keep problems in perspective and bounce back better.
Research has proven that emotional health and wellbeing is a skill. And that’s why we’ve put together 5 simple ways you can be emotionally healthy and happier.
1. Grow your support system
It’s very important to have a support group of friends and family. Having people to share your joys as well as sorrows with can feel emancipating when you need to get some things off your chest. It will help you realise that you’re not alone, there are people who will love and support you no matter what. We, as humans, also thrive by connecting with others, we are social creatures after all. Having strong and healthy relationships with others will help develop a sense of community in you.
2. Don’t fear the unknown
Uncertainty is a part of life, and if anything, a global pandemic has surely taught us that. Some people bloom during uncertain times while others become emotionally paralyzed. Feeling like you don’t have enough information to make decisions can cause anxiety. Instead, try and educate yourself about the problem you’re facing. The more you know, the less you’ll fear the unpredictability of life.
Another way to escape this fear is to stay grounded in the now. List down all the factors that you have control over in the present and take one step each day to make a difference, small or big. This can ingrain a sense of responsibility and control over your life.
3. Get physically health
Since we’ve already established that physical and mental health are connected, it’s no surprise that being physically active can vastly improve mental and emotional health and wellbeing. Exercise can reduce feelings of stress and depression and in turn boost our mood. Apart from exercising regularly, maintaining good physical health also requires sleeping at least 6-8 hours every night and following a healthy diet. Try and include foods that improve your mood and decrease anxiety and stress such as foods that are rich in vitamin B-12. A well-balanced diet can help you get the nutrients you require to stay healthy.
4. Develop a hobby
It’s great to have a hobby, it helps us reconnect with our inner selves. Either taking care of plants, playing hockey or even listening to music, indulging in hobbies can bring us some real joy, a passion that’s only ours and that no one can take away. It’s a great way to boost self-esteem as well. We’re so focused on doing things for others, we often forget how important it is to do some things that are just for us.
5. Practice stress relief
Meditation is a mind and body practice where you learn to create awareness of yourself, your body and your thoughts and emotions. It serves as a focused form of guided thought. Yoga is also a wonderful way of managing stress. Movement-oriented exercises like yoga and tai chi produce your body’s natural relaxation response, slowing down breathing and reducing muscle tension and stress. Managing your stress will help you control your response to uncertain events and react in a balanced way.
Nurturing the mind is as essential as nurturing your body. It will help you cope with the umpteen situations life throws at you better. However, emotional health and wellbeing problems are serious and should be taken that way. Consider getting help if they’re extremely hard to tackle and always remember that you’re not weak for seeking help. You’re, in fact, stronger for knowing exactly what you need.
Read more: Creating a Mental Health Crisis Plan