Complementary Therapy

Emotional health: how fit are you?

In a holistic sense our ‘wellbeing’ as humans refers to all aspects of ourselves, the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Whilst we know that exercise can benefit our physical wellbeing along with many other lifestyle factors; and that practices such as mindfulness and yoga may help to improve our mental wellbeing – how do we measure and improve our emotional health?

Unlike our physical health, our emotional health is something that may not be clearly visible to others and something we are capable of suppressing. However it is intrinsically linked to all other aspects of our wellbeing. For example, it may be difficult for someone who is emotionally fraught to feel physically and mentally well – as each aspect of our wellbeing will impact on another.

Two women friends chatting over coffee at home
Talking about your emotions can have a positive impact on your emotional health

To understand our emotional health relies on us having an awareness of our emotions, which surprisingly many of us stifle under layers of how we think we ‘should’ feel rather than how we do actually feel. To be emotionally healthy we need to acknowledge the importance of our true feelings and listen to our gut reactions, our instincts, and our inner self that may be trying to help or guide us. We need to recognise that our emotions, although they can be transient, play a huge part of who we are as individuals and contribute to our overall quality of life.

As a Complementary Therapist I believe that measuring emotional health is initially an inside job! Take your foot off the pedal and ask yourself how you are feeling? If it’s a negative answer – do something about it! Maybe you need to talk it out with someone, make some time for yourself to relax, try a holistic treatment, or just do something that you enjoy. My message is – give your feelings the respect they deserve and your overall health will benefit.

 Here are my favourite (but not exhaustive) tips for maintaining emotional health:

  • Increase your emotional awareness: Check in with how you are feeling on a daily basis.
  • Make a list of things that lift you emotionally:  This list may include going for a walk, watching your favourite film etc. Refer to the list when you need an emotional lift and remember to add to it when you think of something new.
  • Cultivate and maintain perspective: Find something you can do regularly that helps you to feel grounded and relaxed. Some people find practices such as meditation and yoga can help with this.
  • Surround yourself with a strong network of positive people: They will help boost your feelings of self esteem and enhance your positive energy.
  • Believe in yourself: Try to focus on your achievements, rather than self criticising and beating yourself up over things you can’t change.
  • Live in the present: Try taking life as it comes and stop trying to control every aspect of your life. It’s impossible and a big waste of your valuable energy!

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