This is the first installment in an eight-part series on holistic health.
This week, we’re diving headfirst into a topic that most of us desperately avoid talking about - our emotions. This isn’t going to be a feelings circle, however - for the sake of holistic health, we’re going to take an analytical approach to emotional health and break down how it plays a role in your overall health and wellbeing.
At its core, emotional health refers to the ability to manage your response to life's challenges, stresses, and disappointments. It encompasses not only the absence of negative symptoms such as anxiety and depression, but also the presence of positive emotions such as joy, happiness, and contentment.
Emotional health is one of the eight dimensions of holistic health that are essential to your overall health and wellbeing; each component affects, and is reliant upon, the others. Whether you like it or not, emotions affect every aspect of your life, including physical health, relationships, work, and personal fulfillment.
For example people with high levels of emotional health who are able to effectively manage life’s stressors, are less likely to experience a range of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, which are indicative of poor physical health. These people are also likely to recover more quickly from illness and injury.
In regards to social life, people who have strong emotional health are able to form more meaningful relationships, have positive interactions with their colleagues and friends, and be better equipped to handle conflict and other difficult situations.
Practicing good emotional health can take many different forms. The first step is establishing a basis of emotional intelligence. This refers to your ability to identify and acknowledge the emotions that you are experiencing. It may seem simple, but putting a name to your emotions will allow you to not only understand what causes them, but also to express them in a healthy way.
Going back to our holistic health model, engaging in physical activities such as exercise can also help to maintain emotional health. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural feel-good chemicals in the brain. Additionally, getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and reducing stress can all have a positive impact on your emotional well-being.
Mindfulness is another great way to tend to your emotional health. Mindfulness practices such as meditation can allow you to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings, which can help you to better understand and manage them.
Having a strong support network is also a key part of maintaining emotional health. Surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people can boost emotional resilience and provide a sense of community and belonging.
Practicing self-care regularly can have a huge impact on your overall well-being. This can involve setting aside time to relax, engaging in hobbies and activities that you enjoy, or scheduling regular appointments with a mental health professional. Just as you would take care of your body by going to the gym or seeing a doctor, it is important to take care of your mind by prioritizing activities that promote emotional health.
When you take measures to practice good emotional health, your overall wellbeing will thank you. The most important thing to remember about holistic health is that each of the eight components are dependent on each other. When it comes down to it, investing in your emotional health will lead to a more fulfilling, satisfying, and balanced life!