Emotional wellness is like happiness, it comes and goes. To make it last longer, live your life with intention, healthy behaviors, and forgiveness.
Emotional wellness comes and goes depending on your life circumstances and what types of stressors you face. Just like happiness, it is found when you take stock of the little things, give yourself license to let things go, and find pleasure in small victories.
There is not a person on earth who can be emotionally well all the time. But, there are behaviors that you can implement in your life that lead to overall wellness and less emotional downs or bad times.
A road map to emotional wellness
Emotional wellness comes from basic ways that you see the world, your relationships, and the things you can and can’t control. To find an overall healthy emotional status, try to live your life by the following rules.
#1 Don’t sweat the small stuff. Yeah, I know, you have heard it before, but it is true. If you are someone who gets too worked up over the smallest thing, then you fight a losing battle. I have people in my life who get so caught up in things that they can’t see the big picture through the pettiness.
Like making your kids eat all of their McDonalds chicken nuggets, some battles are worth fighting and then those that really don’t make sense. At some point, you learn whether you want to be happy or right. If you try not to sweat the small stuff, then you have the emotional energy stored to deal with the overall gravity life throws at you.
#2 Forgiveness. To be emotionally well, you must forgive. When you hold onto past grievances, the only person who carries that baggage is you. Imagine a full backpack. If you have to put one more thing in it, it will break the bag wide open.
Holding grudges or not forgiving people is like carrying around a full backpack. You are so preoccupied with holding onto things that don’t matter that you aren’t finding the peace you need in your heart for emotional wellness. If you want to be emotionally well, it involves forgiving people. Not just saying it, but really forgiving people and letting it all go.
#3 Be kind to yourself. If you are your own worst critic, then you aren’t going to find emotional wellness. The adage that you have to love yourself before anyone can love you isn’t just a stupid phrase, it is true. If you want to be emotionally well, then you have not to just forgive other people, but forgive yourself.
Give yourself the same kindness that you afford to other people. Stop trying to be perfect. There is no such thing as perfection, and the harder you try to find it, the more failure you will feel. The first person to forgive going forward is you. You would be amazed at how quickly your emotional outlook will look up.
#4 If you are all right with you, screw everyone else. If you are a pleaser, it is nearly impossible to be emotionally well. When we look for a definition of who we are by looking to those outside of ourselves, it leaves us empty. You weren’t put on earth to serve other people or to tend to their needs if it hurts your own.
The only way to find emotional wellness is by defining for yourself who you are, not by letting other people do it for you. If you are all right with you, then let go of those people in your life who aren’t. They only cause anxiety and unhappiness.
And, in the end, they aren’t ever going to be happy with you. Think about it this way, if you have tried this hard already and gotten nowhere, what makes you think trying harder will get you the results you want? Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result, and being insane is not emotionally well.
#5 Faith. It is hard to go through life if you don’t have any idea what you are here for or what your purpose is. If you believe that life is a series of events that have no relation and are unsure about what you are doing, then to find emotional wellness, find meaning. That means not just in the big scheme, but in the day to day.
There is no way to find emotional wellness if you are stuck in a career that makes you miserable, a life that makes you feel empty, or a relationship that hurts you. You need a higher purpose or power, that gives things meaning and makes all of the valleys worthwhile. Find your spiritual compass so that you aren’t just idling through life to get to the end.
#6 Find a stress reliever. There is no way to live life without stress. In fact, a certain amount of stress is not only necessary, it is good. If, however, you are in over your head daily and can’t deal with the overwhelming nature of your life or your life choices, then to be emotionally well, find a way to either shelve the stress or work through it.
Exercise, meditate, or seek counseling, if it helps you get through the enormity on your plate instead of just muddling through it. Too much stress not only puts your emotions out of whack, it wreaks havoc on your body.
#7 You really are what you eat. To be emotionally well, eat well. I know, it sounds silly, but your body needs certain nutrients to maintain a healthy hormone balance. Hormones are the key to your mood and emotions.
If you are low in certain essential nutrients, it could lower your serotonin levels, which stabilize your mood. Make sure to eat well and take supplements if you aren’t getting what you need in your diet.
#8 Sleep. Yep, sleep doesn’t just feel good. It is the time when our brain puts itself back together. Dreams aren’t just for us to talk about when we wake up. They are a way that the brain copes with life.
If you aren’t getting the proper amount of sleep, you might be missing out on REM *rapid eye movement* sleep cycles necessary for your brain to unwind and rejuvenate. For emotional wellness, an adult needs anywhere from seven to eight hours of sleep at night. Also, don’t think that more is always better, more than ten can be hurtful, not helpful.
#9 Exercise. Exercise is an excellent mood stabilizer. When you exercise, the body releases something called endorphins. They are like emotional painkillers that make you feel good.
When you exercise, you not only work through the adrenaline that makes you anxious, you stabilize your hormones. And you release stress while building endorphins. That is a great combination for emotional wellness.
#10 Investments. To be emotionally well, it is always best to invest in those things that invest back. I am not talking about finances here. If you want to maintain good relationships with people and emotional wellness, then only invest time into those people who invest it back and are there for you.
All too often we put a whole lot of energy into people who don’t ever repay it when we could be putting that energy into ourselves or other people around us who are much more deserving. Live life and relationships with intention and always do what makes you a better person.
Emotional wellness is not an easy thing to maintain. It is an ongoing process. There are continual peaks and valleys in life. The way to ride out the valley is to store the peaks. Taking care of yourself from the inside out, be kind to those around you, and forgive those things that only hold us back, these are the best tools to be emotionally well for a lifetime.
For emotional wellness, live life with intention, not on autopilot. If old habits don’t work, develop new ones, and never, I mean never, stop trying to find meaning in every moment you take a breath.