Is emotional well-being one of the goals on your list? Ever notice how, when we try to change to make their lives better, the most popular goals we choose are getting more exercise, losing weight, giving up a vice such as smoking and so on? Don’t get me wrong, those are awesome goals. But perhaps one important goal that doesn’t make the popular list is improving your emotional well-being.
Yet when you consider how essential mental health is and how depression and anxiety is more prevalent today, doesn’t it make sense to aim for a more positive emotional state? The better we are able to understand our emotions, the greater our capability will be to enjoy life, cope with stress and focus on personal priorities.
And if I tell you that in striving for better emotional health, you can make three simple changes that you can start right now. To top it off, you get to tick off some physical-oriented goals like losing some pounds or being more physically active.
If you ask me, that’s a win-win situation right there. Sounds intriguing, right?
But first of all, what is emotional well-being? In my Facebook Live conversation with Daniel Rees Morgan, The Fulfillment Coach, he explained that your emotions are based on your experiences in life. There is no such thing as a negative emotion. Every emotion has a message for us. Some messages we love to receive such as when we feel excited, happy, joy, love, etc... And there are those other messages that we pretend are not there – when we feel depressed, anxious, afraid, etc. We deny those messages are there.
Daniel elaborates that most people think that they can’t control their emotions but actually, they just haven’t learnt to understand the messages those emotions have. And that’s really where the problem lies. The emotion itself is not the problem. The real problem is the mind structure, the belief system or the habitual ways of thinking that creates certain emotions over and over again. And that is what most people need to understand.
Think of your emotions as messages from your unconscious mind. It’s like a child that you have to take along with you every time and everywhere you go. And when this emotion is coming to you, it’s like this child that comes and says to you, “Hey, I’ve got something to tell you, you need to understand this.” And if you deny that message and you push it away, saying, “I don’t want to know about it.” How do you think that child is going to feel? That child is part of you.
Not only are you denying the emotions you have, you are also lowering your self-esteem. Because in denying that part of yourself, you are saying that you are ashamed and do not want anything to do with that part of you. You are putting yourself down by not being open to all of your emotions. If you don’t accept the emotion, you are not accepting yourself.
So what can you do to improve your emotional well-being?
Daniel shares 3 simple ways to do that. And it’s all about going back to the fundamentals.
- Eat. Move. Sleep.
EAT. You can do all the emotional well-being practices you like, but if you don’t nourish yourself well, you’re going to feel rubbish. Consuming a well-balanced diet at regular meal times with plenty of water and vegetables will help you to feel more healthy and happy.
MOVE. Make an effort to move as much as you can. If you’re sitting for hours on end, working on your laptop or watching television, your body will become stagnant. You’re not allowing your energy to flow. Move in between hours. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a power walk or going to the gym for an hour. Just a simple stretch or 2-3 minute squats will do.
SLEEP. Get enough sleep. When you’ve got a busy workload, you might be tempted to get more done by sleeping less, then exercise or eat more to pump up your energy and expect to have the energy to sustain you all day long. Some people might be able to function like that but for most people, they need 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Just get the right amount of sleep and feel better for it.
- Practice Gratitude as your Default Emotion
Daniel says one other thing that you can do right now to practice a healthy emotional well-being is to practice gratitude as your default emotion. Gratitude is such a powerful thing. When you wake up today, think of the things that you are most grateful for in your life. It could be the most basic thing such as sleeping in a comfortable bed last night, living in a free country, having enough food in the cupboard. The most simple things. When you practice gratitude, you strengthen the neural pathways in your brain to becoming more grateful and feeling the emotion more regularly. It becomes easier to get to that emotion. It becomes more powerful and becomes your go-to place.
- Feel the Emotion
There are no negative emotions. You just need to learn to understand them and learn to use them to your benefit. And to remember that all emotions have a positive intention. You have to ask yourself, “What is this emotion’s message for me?” And if that emotion makes you uncomfortable, then it is most likely a call to action. It’s either you need to change how you’re doing something or you change the way how you look at things.
This might sound easier said than done. You might be asking how about situations where things are out of your control such as a death of a loved one or extreme bouts of sadness and depression?
Daniel advises that in situations that are out of your hands is to not deny the emotion. Don’t tell yourself that sadness is wrong, that you shouldn’t feel sadness. Every emotion has a positive intention. If you’re bereaved because a loved one died, that sadness is there to help you grieve. To help you remember how important that person is to you. To help you be grateful for the times you’ve had together.
Feel the emotion. Accept the message the emotion is bringing you. In doing so, it will then pass in its own time. When that emotion sinks in, then you’ll be able to think about what lesson you can take from that emotion and how to move forward.
As you can see, these are very simple and basic ways to work on improving your emotional well-being. So why not add emotional well-being to that list of goals you want to tackle next?
You won’t regret it.