Good health in the area of your moods and emotions is when you are able to manage your feelings and deal with problems. This does not mean you need to be completely on top all the time but indications of good health are being able to recover after a time of difficulty or make decisions based on taking good care of yourself. Here are some things for you to think about:
Make space for rest and relaxation. Remember the elastic band which is designed for comfortable stretch. This is the normal routines of life and work, with ability for an extended stretch but stretch for too long and too far and you will feel the consequences. Make space in your schedule for regular rest and relaxation. If you have trouble relaxing take a mindfulness course or get a regular massage. Along with rest know what brings you pleasure and top up your emotional tank by doing things you love, your soul will thank you for it.
Acknowledge emotions. That hurt me, that made me angry and I have been feeling sad about; are all phrases you could use to explore some of your feelings. Emotions are a cue to well- being and taking note of these is a great self regulation tool. When you feel a mood or an emotion take the appropriate action e.g. feeling overwhelmed – take a break, feeling emotional – have a cry (sad movies help with this) or feeling angry – talk it out with a friend or make the changes you need to resolve strong feelings.
Don’t let worries and fears get out of control. If you find yourself worrying excessively you can develop a worry box. Every time the worry comes up either write it down and put it in the box or metaphorically put it in the box for later. Confine the worry to a certain time of the day and when the worry comes up remind yourself of the worry time. This way you distract yourself from excessive rumination which will do nothing to help the original source of your worry. (See Worry Management)
Decide your limits to a great sustainable life and live within them. Take some time out to journal your hopes and dreams for life. Write an epitaph for the end of your life and decide now what you would like your life to stand for. Think about what elements you need to include in your daily/weekly/monthly life to make this a reality. This will help decide what is most important to you and eliminate the non essentials.
Accept the pasts influence on the present. There is no such thing as a perfect life and avoiding emotional pain will only get you so far. If you are struggling with or suppressing strong emotions about past or current events try talking to someone trustworthy. You could also journal about it, have a cry and allow yourself to feel the feelings associated with what you experienced. The process of grief e.g. sadness, low mood and tears are a pathway to help you move on. Take your time with this but avoiding grief altogether will not help long term. If you get stuck read a self help book about the topic you are struggling with. There are many excellent books in the library.
Most of all Love and accept yourself. Many of the ideas we have about ourselves came from our childhoods and if the messages we heard were not great then it’s time to start giving yourself the encouragement you need. Try writing down some compliments and giving them to yourself everyday for a week. Get used to looking at yourself in the mirror and practice accepting your warts and all self. Put a photo of your younger self in a journal and give that young person some encouragement. Put a loved photo of your current self in there too and give that person some amazing support. Develop a gratitude list and keep reminding your brain about even the smallest thing you are grateful for. You will probably need to remind your brain a lot but try seting a small goal of one week of compliments/gratitude and see if it makes a difference to how you feel. I find writing things down helps with this.
This is by no means an exhaustive list but hopefully there is something here to help you reflect on your current mental and emotional functioning. Remember if you get stuck get some professional help.
Mentally & Emotional Healthy
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