Amy Eksteen

Wellness Series Part 2

We have officially started our Wellness journey off with a bang!

In last week’s blog post, we explored the concept of Physical Wellness. We were able to discuss why prioritising our physical wellness is important, the benefits of taking care of our physical health as well as we looked at various ways we can incorporate our physical well-being into our self-care plans.
This week, we will be taking a look at the second dimension in our wellness journey known as our Emotional Wellness.

Emotional wellness is a concept that involves our thoughts, feelings, emotions and behaviours (Corte, 2019).

Emotional wellness also includes learning how to handle life’s various stressors, while we adapt to change and cope during challenging circumstances (National Institutes of Health: Health Information).

Being emotionally ‘well’ does not mean to be happy and to feel positive all of the time – this is impossible since we all feel negative emotions and it is important for us to experience them. Looking after our emotional wellness is actually a way of life that allows us stay continuously aware of the way we are feeling. This simple act then allows us to be able to shift and change as well prioritise ways we can personally use to begin feeling better (Raab, 2019).

Emotional wellness is ultimately about choosing to have a positive attitude and learning to identify and express our emotions/feelings in a healthy and constructive way no matter what we are going through. This can be in the form of optimism, self-esteem, self-acceptance and the ability to openly share our emotional experiences and/or feelings with others (Iowa State University: student wellness).

Looking after our emotional health is about being aware of the positive and negative feelings and/or emotions we feel every day. This includes the ability to understand what we are experiencing as well as how to cope and manage our emotional experiences – through this we are able to acknowledge, process and accept our feelings in a healthy way. This allows us to begin understanding how we uniquely work as individuals and how our emotions manifest, therefore fostering a better understanding as to why we feel the way that we do. This helps us to build more positive decision-making skills as we learn to decide what is the best way for us to react to and deal with our current circumstances. This also helps us to learn and grow from our emotional reactions (UCDavis).

Caring for and learning about our emotional wellness empowers us by helping us build and form healthy relationships with others around us too (UCDavis). Emotional wellness impacts our relationships and has the power to influence our overall mental health (National Institutes of Health: Health Information).

Emotional wellness is important because it encourages self-care, relaxation, stress management and the development of resilience (UCDavis).

It is important for us to prioritise our emotional health because how we feel affects our ability to function and carry out basic everyday activities (National Institutes of Health: Health Information). In other words, how we feel and how we function in each moment impacts every area of our lives, otherwise known as our other wellness dimensions. For example, when our emotional health starts to deteriorate, it begins to affect our ability to cope with stress, therefore manifesting in a decreased sense of well-being and can lead to other health problems (Corte, 2019).

The more we act on our feelings/emotions, the more reliable and responsible we become. Being aware of our emotional state of functioning can lead to us to being more present and adhering to a sense of mindfulness. This is because our emotional wellness encourages us to slow down and practice evaluating how we feel in each present moment (Raab, 2019).

Emotional wellness allows us to choose a more positive mind-set – leading to happier and more positive life experiences. Catering to our emotional wellness allows us the chance to look after our overall well-being. This can help us to reach our full potential/a more fulfilling, satisfying way of life. Maintaining our sense of well-being is important since a positive sense of well-being can lead to overall happiness compared to a negative well-being that can lead to issues such as depression and other mental challenges (Raab, 2019).

Emotional wellness therefore helps us to:

  1. Build resilience
  2. Reduce stress
  3. Prioritise aspects of our other wellness dimensions
  4. Practice mindfulness, therefore building our self-awareness regarding how we feel in the present moment
  5. Strengthen our social connections and relationships (National Institutes of Health: Health Information).

With that being said, here are 10 ways to help prioritise your emotional wellness in your personal self-care plan:

  1. Find ways to manage stress – you could do this through exercising/stretching, spending time outside in nature, being proactive in your work/studies, dedicating more time to be prepared and organised, sticking to a plan/schedule, prioritising time for fun activities/hobbies during your week, spending time with friends and loved ones and getting enough sleep
  2. Find ways to express your feelings – you could do this by being creative through art, cooking, gardening, writing/journaling, playing music and through dance
  3. Seek counselling or talk to someone you are comfortable with and trust
  4. Keep track of your emotions through a mood tracker in your journal – this could help you identify emotions, personal emotional triggers and ways to manage them
  5. Practice mindfulness or deep breathing at home or at work
  6. Seek balance in your every day life – you can do this by practicing self-care and self-love over and above your day-to-day stressors and responsibilities
  7. Practice assertiveness or choose to have boundaries in relationships, friendships and the work place
  8. Surround yourself with supportive and encouraging people
  9. Set goals or have sources of positivity and motivation that you can access and use every day
  10. Be understanding and kind to yourself, especially on days that seem to take a bit more effort/seem a bit harder than others (News: Illinois State University, 2014).

Emotional Wellness self-care goal-setting: Think of one main, long- term goal you would like to focus on for your emotional wellness in your self-care plan. For example: “I want to be more mindful/to feel more relaxed in my day-to-day life”.
Then, think of two short-term goals/acts of self-care that you can choose to prioritise every day in order to work towards your main goal. For example: “I choose to spend 5 minutes during my day (at work or at home) doing a mindful exercise and/or to take 10 deep, slow breaths whenever I feel stressed”

Emotional Wellness challenge for the week:

  • Monday: Try a mindfulness exercise before/after work/school
  • Tuesday: Spend 20 minutes prioritising your work/studies (For example: work towards a deadline, learn for a test/assignment, organise/clean your desk/work space)
  • Wednesday: Spend 10 minutes doing something fun/creative (For example: you could create an emotional tracker in your journal or on a piece of paper that you could stick on your wall for the month ahead)
  • Thursday: Watch a funny video or spend some time reading a good book, some funny jokes/inspirational quotes
  • Friday: Spend time with or call/message a friend/family member
  • Saturday: Spend 10 minutes outside in nature
  • Sunday: Try a deep breathing exercise before bed

Self-reflection Questions:

  • What did I just read about?
  • Do I feel as if I am currently looking after my emotional wellness?
  • How do I manage stress?
  • Am I able to adapt/cope with challenging circumstances easily?
  • Did I learn anything from this blog post?
  • Would I consider myself to be someone that has a lot of self-awareness?
  • Am I able to recognise and understand my emotions/feelings?
  • Am I able to talk freely and openly about how I feel?
  • Am I able to ask for help when I need it?
  • How did this blog post make me feel?
  • Do I experience more positive or more negative feelings in my day-to-day life?
  • Am I able to make positive connections with those around me?
  • How can I begin to incorporate my emotional wellness dimension into my personal self-care plan?
  • What can I keep in mind for the future from this blog post?

I hope that my readers enjoyed talking and learning about our emotional wellness this week.

Stay tuned for next week‘s blog post because we will be exploring our Social Wellness.

Until next week xx

For more information, use the following links:

For more information on exercises and examples for emotional regulation, mood tracking, mindfulness, deep breathing and assertiveness follow @journey_to_wellness_ on Instagram.