As year-end approaches, it’s a good time to reflect on your emotional health. When you’re emotionally healthy, you have good control over your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. You can bounce back from adversity, adapt to change and have confidence in yourself and your own ability to deal with the ups and downs of life. This doesn’t mean life is perfect. It just means that your ability to handle whatever comes up is getting better.
There are several things you can do to improve or maintain your emotional health. Take some time each day to think about what you can do to make your mental and emotional health a priority.
Stay Connected to Other People
Human beings are naturally social, and it can be difficult to stay emotionally healthy in isolation. People need to experience a sense of belonging, and strong social connections can help to reduce depression and anxiety and may also raise your self-esteem.
The people you surround yourself with can make a difference. Cultivate relationships with people who are emotionally healthy themselves, particularly those who offer support, encouragement and a positive attitude. Spend as little time as possible with people who are negative, hyper-critical or toxic in any way.
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Take Care of Your Physical Health
Your physical health can affect how healthy you are emotionally. Pay attention to how you’re treating your body. Choosing nutrient-rich foods rather than those that are processed or sugary is one way to take care of your physical health. Good food choices include whole grains, fish, lean meats and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Exercise regularly and strive to increase the amount of time that you’re physically active.
Getting adequate sleep can also make a difference in how well you handle things that may be stressful or upsetting. Avoid habits that are detrimental to your health such as smoking or relying on alcohol or drugs to numb your feelings or lift your spirits.
No matter how emotionally healthy you are, there will be times that life becomes stressful. When it does, you may have the urge to try to run from the situation or from uncomfortable feelings, but being emotionally healthy means learning ways to manage your stress rather than running from it.
Talk to a trusted friend or therapist about what’s going on and how it’s making you feel. Habits such as meditation and mindfulness can help you to feel less overwhelmed with stress, or you might be able to de-stress by listening to music or exercising.
Know When to Ask for Help
Attaining emotional health can take time and practice, and at times you may experience setbacks. Signs that you may need to ask for help include:
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Experiencing a change in appetite
- Feeling the urge to isolate from friends and family
- Feeling very sad or hopeless
- Feeling anxious
- Feeling extremely angry
- Experiencing mood swings
- Turning to alcohol or drugs to cope with your feelings
- Feeling the urge to harm yourself
Pay attention to things or people that trigger strong emotions, and consider what you need to do to stay in control of your thoughts and feelings. Ask for help if you’re feeling out of control. Keep all appointments with your doctor, therapist or regular support groups.
Recovery from any form of mental illness is an ongoing process. While you may experience some ups and downs, give yourself credit for the progress you’ve made and the things you’ve learned so far. Focus on what’s good in your life and avoid beating yourself up over mistakes. It’s possible to end the year feeling emotionally healthy, and you can look forward to the coming year when you’ll continue to grow, change and make progress in recovery.
If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health challenges, please call us at (310) 455-5258 or submit the form below to learn more about our treatment programs in Los Angeles.