Did you know that one in four people suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder each year? October is Emotional Wellness Month and this year, it’s particularly important to improve your emotional wellness. COVID-19 has brought on enormous life changes, including job loss, limited social interaction, virtual learning and remote work, not to mention the death toll and lingering health troubles brought on by contracting the virus itself. Emotional wellness can impact both your physical and mental health, and amidst a global pandemic, we need all the help we can get.
What does emotional wellness mean?
Emotional wellness doesn’t mean that you don’t feel negative emotions. Instead, emotional wellness is tied to how you approach these negative emotions, problems and other bumps that come up along the road, as well as your appreciation for the good things in your life. Simply put, it’s a “glass half-full” attitude.
And, there isn’t an end point for emotional wellness – you’ll continue to fine-tune the traits that support it throughout your life. Here is a list of ways you can improve your emotional wellness starting today.
- Name 3 things you like about yourself.
This might sound simple and obvious, but it’s a great way to begin your emotional wellness journey. Being happy with the person that you are is a hallmark of being emotionally healthy. It doesn’t mean that you’re perfect, but that you’re mostly happy with who you are – quirks and faults included!
- Tell someone today why you’re grateful for them.
Do you feel appreciation for the people and things in your life? It’s easy to get caught up thinking about the things you don’t have, but an appreciation for the things you do have is key for your emotional wellness. Don’t stop there. Make sure to show and verbalize to your family and friends your gratitude toward them; it’s a surefire way to uplift everyone involved.
- Show compassion towards others.
Whether strangers, family members or coworkers, treating people well is a critical trait for those who are emotionally healthy. With social interaction being limited due to the pandemic, you can’t rely on holding a door for a stranger or smiling at someone you pass on the sidewalk, so finding unconventional ways to connect with others is important. If you have a friend going through a hard time and you’d normally sit at a coffee shop for hours talking about it, try sending them a gift card for a cup of coffee at their favorite spot. Or, better yet, drop off a coffee on their doorstep and chat through the door or over FaceTime.
- Embrace your emotions.
A range of emotions – happiness, excitement, fear, anger and sadness are part of life. Emotional wellness means that you allow yourself to feel all these emotions, but the negative ones won’t prevent you from doing things you enjoy or that need to be done. For example, if you’re afraid of heights but are on the trip of a lifetime to Paris, you won’t let it stop you from joining your family at the top of the Eiffel Tower. You can also bask in your positive emotions, enjoying every bit of happiness that comes your way.
- Be flexible.
Life doesn’t go according to plan, and the ability to adjust in both professional and personal situations is the key to emotional wellness. Be willing to change course at work when your original idea isn’t working or agree to order from a restaurant with cuisine you haven’t tried. Be open-minded when listening to others – you might find that what they know or have experienced is in line with your own values more than you realized.
- Find a stress reducer.
Do you have a go-to activity when you feel stress coming on? Having a few ways to manage your stress instead of letting it consume you is an important aspect of emotional wellness. You might choose to exercise, listen to music, practice meditation, read a book or (gasp) clean!
No matter how highly you rate your emotional wellness, mental health issues can still arise – and they often have physical causes. Talk to your doctor to find out what type of treatment might work for you.