Holistic Health: What is Emotional Wellness?
Welcome to the LAST installment in our Holistic Health series! If you’ve been following along with our Holistic Health blog post series, you’ll have learned about seven aspects of holistic health: sleep, movement, diet, finances, your occupation, your social situation, and spirituality. You would have learned that:
Holistic health means looking at a person as a whole being, not just a part of a being.
Sleep is tied intimately with both physical and mental health.
Joyful movement releases those feel-good chemicals that help our mood.
Intuitive eating can be better for your mental health than rigid, inflexible diets.
Financial wellness is tied to our mental health (financial trauma) and physical health (think housing, meal stability, healthcare).
Occupational wellness impacts both our mental health (quality of life) and physical health (through the work environment).
Your social life improves your mental health through connection and co-regulation, and improves your physical health by combating the impacts of loneliness.
Spirituality can help us be intentional about our physical choices, as well as provide us with connection and coping skills.
In the eighth and FINAL part of this series, we’ll be talking about emotional wellness. We are therapists, after all!
Emotional wellness refers to the state of one's emotional health and the ability to effectively manage and understand their emotions in a positive and balanced manner. It encompasses various aspects, including self-awareness, self-acceptance, and the capacity to cope with life's challenges and stressors.
How does our emotional wellness impact our physical health? What are the benefits to your mental health to develop emotional wellness? Keep on reading to learn the answers!
The Impacts of Emotion Wellness on Physical Health:
In recent years, scholars have established the link between mind, our emotions, and our body. Check out just a few physical benefits below:
Less Stress, Better Physical Health: Reduced stress levels are associated with lower cortisol (stress hormone) production, which, in turn, can lead to improved immune function, lower blood pressure, and a decreased risk of stress-related illnesses like heart disease and certain digestive disorders.
Immune System Effectiveness: Emotions and the immune system are interconnected. Positive emotions and a balanced emotional state can positively impact the immune response, making it more effective in defending the body against infections and illnesses. On the other hand, chronic negative emotions, such as prolonged stress, anxiety, or depression, can weaken the immune system and increase susceptibility to various diseases.
Better Mood, Better Sleep: When individuals are emotionally balanced and experience less anxiety or distress, they are more likely to enjoy restful and restorative sleep. Adequate sleep is crucial for physical health, as it allows the body to repair itself, consolidate memories, and support brain function. Improved sleep patterns can also lead to increased energy levels, better concentration, and a reduced risk of various health issues like obesity and cardiovascular problems.
The Mental Health Benefits of Emotional Wellness:
Why does it matter if we’re in a good mood, anyway? Check out the following benefits of developing emotional wellness:
Improved Emotional Regulation: Emotional wellness involves developing strong emotional intelligence, which encompasses the ability to recognize, understand, and manage one's emotions effectively. Individuals with good emotional health are better equipped to regulate their emotional responses, preventing them from being overwhelmed by negative emotions like anger, anxiety, or sadness.
Reduced Risk of Mental Health Disorders: Emotional wellness plays a crucial role in preventing and mitigating mental health disorders. A strong emotional foundation can act as a protective factor against conditions such as depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. When individuals are emotionally resilient, they can navigate life's challenges with greater ease, reducing the likelihood of developing maladaptive coping strategies that may contribute to mental health issues.
Enhanced Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence: Understanding and accepting one's emotions can lead to increased self-awareness and self-compassion. As individuals become more in touch with their emotions and learn to manage them constructively, they gain confidence in handling life's ups and downs. This enhanced self-esteem empowers them to set realistic goals, overcome obstacles, and maintain a positive outlook, ultimately contributing to a stronger sense of overall mental well-being.
How to Cultivate Emotional Wellness:
How do we cultivate good emotional wellness, in a world where emotions feel so difficult to control? Check out our following tips:
Practice Mindfulness and Self-Awareness: Mindfulness involves being fully present and aware of your thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations without judgment. Engaging in mindfulness practices, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, can help you become more in tune with your emotions and better understand their triggers. Self-awareness allows you to recognize patterns in your emotional responses and empowers you to make conscious choices in how you react to different situations.
Build and Maintain Supportive Relationships: Cultivating healthy and supportive relationships with friends, family, or a community can significantly impact emotional wellness. Social connections provide a valuable outlet for sharing feelings, seeking advice, and receiving emotional support during challenging times. Surrounding yourself with positive influences can also promote a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of isolation.
Express Emotions Constructively: Holding in emotions or resorting to unhealthy ways of expressing them can be detrimental to emotional well-being. Instead, practice expressing your emotions in a constructive and assertive manner. Find healthy outlets for emotional release, such as journaling, art, music, or talking to someone you trust. By acknowledging and expressing emotions in healthy ways, you can prevent emotional bottling up and promote a sense of relief and emotional balance.
Engage in Regular Physical Activity: Exercise has numerous benefits for emotional wellness. Physical activity releases endorphins, which are natural mood boosters that can help reduce stress and anxiety. Regular exercise also improves sleep quality, promotes a sense of accomplishment, and enhances self-esteem. Choose activities that you enjoy, whether it's going for a walk, practicing yoga, or participating in team sports.
Set Boundaries and Prioritize Self-Care: Learning to set boundaries is essential for emotional well-being. It's okay to say "no" to commitments that may overwhelm you and prioritize self-care. Taking time for yourself to engage in activities you enjoy and recharge is crucial for maintaining emotional balance. Whether it's reading a book, taking a bath, or spending time in nature, self-care allows you to nurture yourself mentally and emotionally.
Seek Professional Support when Needed: If you find that your emotional struggles are persisting or significantly impacting your daily life, seeking professional help can be beneficial. Mental health professionals, such as therapists or counselors, can provide valuable guidance, support, and coping strategies to address emotional challenges effectively. There is no shame in seeking help, and it can be a proactive step towards achieving emotional wellness.
We hope this blog post helped inform you about holistic health, and just one element of it: emotional wellness! If you want more holistic help, look no further than Rise and Thrive Counseling. Our holistic counselors can help address all areas of life - especially emotional wellness. Reach out today to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you!