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How to improve your emotional health

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Most of all, we want to be aware of our emotions and emotional being. We’re not required to be super happy, bouncy and positive all of the time - nor is this possible. It’s okay to feel stressed, anxious, sad, frustrated - but it’s how we navigate and manage those feelings and experiences that really matters. With awareness we can take steps to being more in control of our emotional health and making changes and adapting in small or big ways.

It is worth taking time to notice how we react to things - events, conversations, our own actions and so on - and how our thoughts shape our experience and influence our emotions. It is also worth observing how things vary in different settings, at different times of the day, with different groups of people or individuals.

There are many possible reasons for how we might feel in response to an external happening or to something we have done ourselves. While we might not be in control of all of those contributing factors, we can work to gain control of how we manage our feelings and how we might navigate these different experiences and moments in our lives.

Here are seven things to think about regarding improving your emotional health and well-being.

  • Process and reflect - take a moment to pause and take stock of what’s happened (especially if it’s something negative). Allow a little time to pass instead of reacting suddenly. Give yourself the time to digest your emotional response and to reflect upon why you might feel that way. This processing and reflection can provide you with perspective and this is vital. Use what you’ve gleaned to help you make steps in responding or navigating what has happened.
  • Connect - reach out to those figures in your life who you feel able to speak to, who provide support, who bring you joy, who make you laugh. They might be friends, family, colleagues and so on. Engaging with others and being part of a community plays a crucial role in our emotional health and wellbeing. It enables us to look beyond ourselves and relate to others - again this links back to providing us with perspective on life as a whole.
  • Make space - ensure that you have a little time to yourself during your week, whether it’s to take a class, put on a favourite playlist or read a few pages of a book. It’s important to carve out time and space for yourself and do something that brings a little sense of ‘feel-good’. This can be a small but effective way of boosting your mood.
  • Move - movement is a huge part of our overall health and well-being - including emotional. It could be dance, running, weight-training…. Movement can release endorphins which boost our mood and provide us with a more positive feeling. We can feel more energised and able to navigate the more challenging elements in our lives. Movement is crucial for the health of our fascia (connective tissue) which plays a role in how we store experiences and emotions within our bodies. Movement helps keep things shifting!
  • Eat healthy - what we eat matters and has a significant impact on our mood, how we feel about ourselves and overall well-being. Making sure that you get the right balance of vitamins and nutrients for your body can really make a difference. Perhaps look at your diet and maybe explore some new options to introduce.
  • Find an outlet - the phrase ‘express yourself’ may be well worn, but each of us needs a way to express our feelings and emotions and experience of life events - however small or big. This could be through movement (as mentioned above) or through creative outlets (e.g. journaling, art) or activities such as cooking or gardening. There are any number of options for channelling your energy and feelings into something.
  • Balance - ultimately, it comes down to balance and incorporating all of these things in one way or another. We don’t need to balance things perfectly, but to make sure we do have ways of serving and managing our emotional health and well-being accessible to us.

Jude Evans


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