Emotional wellness is important at any time, but it can become particularly difficult to maintain after certain life events, like a death in the family, a disruption in your daily life like social distancing, or battling sickness. Whenever we feel lots of emotions, even pleasant emotions, it takes a toll. The key to emotional wellness is being as proactive about promoting it as we are physical wellness.
How to Increase Your Emotional Wellness
Be Intentionally Positive
Negative thoughts and emotions always pull at us harder than positive ones. It’s easy to roll an event or something a person has said over and over in our minds, focusing on just one aspect until we can only see the negative. While it’s certainly important not to be naïve and get taken advantage of, for our own mental health we need to practice intentionally assuming the best when the situation isn’t clear.
Seek a Healthy Balance
Many of us want to do more than we can. We want to promise the boss we can do that thing by Friday; we want to be able to stay out late with friends again this weekend; we want to say yes to babysitting for our sister. But your mental health will suffer if you’re not practical about what you can feasibly accomplish.
Set realistic goals, tackle what needs to be done first, and don’t be afraid to say no when necessary. You’re not doing anyone any favors if you overextend yourself all the time. Eventually, your mental health will suffer, and you’ll find it hard not to be frustrated and angry, assuming others are deliberately taking advantage of you. Remember: only you know how much something is taking out of you! No one else knows until you tell them.
Accept That You Make Mistakes
We all make them. No matter how hard we try, every single person makes mistakes regularly. If you can’t accept that you’ve erred in some way, two important things happen that can tank your mental health.
First, you become angry and defensive. When that happens, it’s easy to start brooding on the “sins of others” or assume that because someone pointed out your mistake, they must think they don’t make any themselves. That’s probably not true, but it can fill you with harmful negativity and hurt your relationships. Second, refusing to accept mistakes wastes your time and causes you stress. As soon as you accept the mistake, you can move forward and get past it. The longer you wait, the more stress it causes.
Find Ways to Manage Stress
Stress is inevitable, but it’s physically and mentally destructive. Without an outlet, you can easily become overwhelmed by it. Your stress-management techniques might look different from those others choose, but you should have such techniques in place. Consider:
- Daily workouts
- Hobbies that make you feel calm
- Massage dates
- Guided relaxation
- Getting a pet
- Luxurious, relaxing baths
- Occasional dinners out
- Starting a fun book series
Good Mental Health Is Possible
Protecting your mental health now could help you avoid more serious depression and anxiety in the future. It takes just as much intention to protect mental health as physical, but by managing stress, accepting mistakes, refusing to be trapped in a cycle of negative thoughts, and seeking balance, you can protect yourself while still being available to others.