40 Habits for Sound Emotional Health
40 Habits for Sound Emotional Health
Protecting and nurturing your emotional health is just as important as safeguarding your physical well-being. Being emotionally healthy means understanding and regulating your own emotions while also being able to recognize and empathize with the feelings of others. There are many habits you can engage in regularly, some every day and some now and then, that can help you maintain your mental and emotional health. Here are our favorites.
1. Be More Mindful
Becoming more mindful benefits your emotional health in many ways. First, it helps you to become more aware of your feelings, which means you can better identify them as well as their possible source or trigger. Being more mindful also keeps you focused more on the present, which eliminates dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Engaging in mindful meditation or using mindfulness practices can help you to gain control over your emotions and improve your emotional well-being.
2. Rethink Failure
When you experience failure, it can distort how you think about yourself and your future goals. But, when you learn to think of failure differently, as a learning opportunity instead of a setback, you can learn a great deal and stop allowing it to control your emotions. Failure is feedback. It tells you where you need to improve to succeed next time. Changing your thinking about this critical learning experience can improve your emotional health during times of struggle.
3. Keep a Journal
Journaling is an excellent way to record your thoughts, to focus on your gratitude, and to release emotions rather than keep them bottled up. When you write about your feelings, it improves your mental health and allows you to reflect back later on things to help you see your progress or identify unhealthy patterns that are holding you back. Journaling can help reduce anxiety, too. Get into a daily habit of journaling to enjoy better emotional health.
4. Eat a Healthy Diet
Most people do not really think about how what they eat influences how they feel, but there is a strong connection between the two. When you eat healthy foods, you are more likely to feel energetic and alert.
Eating healthy foods improves your overall health, too, which adds to your mental and emotional health. Those who eat a diet high in sugar, fats, and processed foods are more likely to be overweight, suffer from depression, or experience other problems with their wellness.
5. Get the Sleep You Need
Your body needs sleep, and so does your mind. When you get consistent, quality rest, your health will improve, your mind will be clearer, and you will be better able to deal with stress and process your emotions.
Start by establishing a bedtime routine that ensures you go to bed at the same time every night. Ban screens from your hands for at least one hour before you go to sleep and focus on relaxing thoughts as soon as you lay down to rest. Restful sleep improves your outlook and ability to handle whatever life throws your way.
6. Look for Ways to Learn from Loss
When you experience emotionally stressful events, such as death, the end of a relationship, or some kind of trauma, it can be helpful to look for meaning or purpose to these experiences. This will take time, but it can be useful in the long term for moving on from emotionally traumatizing circumstances.
Meaning many come in the form of a new appreciation for certain things or people, finding strength or talents you did not know you had before, or for connecting you with people you have come to love.
7. Get Feedback from Others
When it comes to your emotional health, you are not always the most impartial judge of how well you are at the moment. Asking for feedback from those whom you trust can be helpful for identifying areas where you could improve or grow.
While you may not always like what you hear, it can be helpful to know how others perceive your emotional health and to know if you are meeting their emotional needs, as well. And just because they offer feedback does not mean you have to accept it, either. But knowing is the first step.
8. Limit Your Social Media Use
Rather than helping us feel more connected, social media has a way of producing negative emotions for many people. Those who spend the most amount of time on social media are more likely to be depressed or have anxiety.
Limiting your use of these sites each day can help you focus on what is essential in your daily existence and leave you more satisfied with your life. Your emotional health will benefit more from socializing in person.
9. Let Go of Unhealthy Relationships
The people in your life can have a profound influence on your emotional and mental health. Therefore, the more people who spend time with who are psychological unhealthy or who trigger negative emotions in you, the more likely you are to struggle with your own feelings. Make a list of all the relationships in your life.
If you find people who consistently make you feel bad or who bring nothing but negative energy or emotions to your life, it is time to cut them completely or limit your exposure to them as much as possible.
10. Open Up
On the flip side of this, when you find people that you genuinely love and trust, it is essential to share your emotions with them and open up when you are struggling. Sharing your feelings with others can help you release them instead of holding them inside, and it can be helpful to hear others’ perspectives on things that are bothering you. You might also learn about things that your loved ones are struggling with, as well, which can bring you closer together.
11. Get Help When You Need It
If you are struggling to get control of your emotions, or if you feel that your emotional health is suffering in ways you are not equipped to handle, get help from a professional. Just like seeing a doctor when you are ill, talking with a counselor or therapist when your emotional health is suffering can help you feel better and move forward in a healthier way. Whether you are depressed, anxious, fatigued, or just feeling not yourself, talking with a professional can help you get your emotional health back on track.
12. Get Regular Exercise
In addition to helping keep your body healthy, regular exercise is also an excellent habit for your mental and emotional health, too. Activity increases your circulation, which is great for your brain. It also releases feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters, which can help fight off depression and other negative emotions.
Exercise alleviates stress, too, so you are better able to cope with daily life. Building a routine that includes regular exercise will leave you feeling emotionally stable and ready to tackle anything.
13. Laugh Often
There is a reason they say laughter is the best medicine. When you regularly laugh, you are lowering stress as well as relieving feelings of anxiety and depression. You release the same feel-good chemicals when you laugh as when you exercise, which boosts your mood and enhances your outlook.
When you laugh with others, it also brings you closer together. Watching a funny movie, going to a stand-up show, listening to an entertaining podcast, or reading amusing stories can improve your emotional health, so do it regularly.
14. Quit Multitasking
While it may seem like you are getting more done when you multitask, the reality is you really are not, and you are increasing your stress, too. The more ways you are dividing your attention, the less you are actually focusing on any one thing.
And you always feel like your attention should be somewhere else. Learning to live in the present and to focus on just one thing at a time dramatically lowers your stress level and improves your satisfaction with your performance. And the more competent and stress-free you feel, the better your emotional health will be.
15. Don’t Dwell
Brooding over negative feelings, past disappointments, or upsetting events does nothing to improve your emotional health and only makes you feel worse. Consistent rumination over things that have already happened is a fruitless effort with the guaranteed outcomes to leave you feeling worse than when you started down the rabbit hole.
Break the habit of dwelling by shifting your concentration to other things that you can control or distract your mind with other activities until the urge to dwell passes. Anything beats sitting and worrying over things that you cannot change.
16. Become a Pet Owner
Owning a pet is a wonderful way to improve your emotional health. Pets provide companionship, they give you a sense of purpose, and they keep you active. Those who own pets are less likely to suffer from depression and can often handle stress more effectively. When you a dog or cat, you get the same positive chemical release as previously discussed, which boosts your mood and energy level. Pets renew your self-esteem every time they show love or appreciation, too.
17. Spend Time with Friends
The more you isolate yourself, the more negative and unhealthy you will feel. Isolation often leads to a focus on unhealthy feelings, and the more you spend time alone, the more likely you are to feel as though no one loves you or wants to be with you.
When you spend time with other people, you feel more positive and optimistic, and your self-esteem gets a boost. Having friends supports the different aspects of positive emotional health.
18. Learn to be Assertive
When it comes to your emotional and mental health, nothing is more important than taking care of your needs. And sometimes, that means sticking up for the boundaries that allow you to do that.
When others violate those boundaries or infringe on your needs, you need to practice assertiveness in communicating what matters to you. And when you speak assertively (which is different from aggressively), you honor your needs and contribute to your own self-worth, which helps your emotional health, as well.
19. Build Your Self-Esteem
One way to enhance your emotional health is to boost your sense of self. When you feel more confident in your abilities, you are more likely to set challenging goals, to feel good about yourself, and to achieve in the face of adversity. Your self-esteem waxes and wanes over time, and it is important that you are always attending to it and feeding it when it gets low. Being more compassionate toward yourself and engaging in positive self-talk are two great ways to build your self-esteem and contribute to your overall emotional well-being.
20. Get Outside
Spending time outdoors and adding regular outdoor exploration to your routine can enhance your outlook and lower your stress. Just being in the fresh air and looking at green plants or water lowers your blood pressure and reduces stress hormones in your body. When you are close to nature, you are more likely to think more mindfully and to regulate your emotions better. Getting outside for even 10 minutes each day can have a considerable influence on your emotional health, so get out there!
21. See Your Doctor Regularly
Taking care of your physical help will help you also take care of your emotional health. When you get regular check-ups, it shows that you value your body’s needs and allows you to take care of small problems before they become significant ones. Your doctor can also help you with any mental health issues that are contributing to emotional problems. The link between emotional and physical health is undeniable, so be sure you are taking care of both.
22. Let Go of Your Guilt
If you have somehow wronged someone or feel bad because your actions led to a negative outcome for them, then you need to find a way to act positively to move on from any guilty feelings you are harboring. Be sure that you have genuinely apologized for your actions or words. If there is a way to make up for or provide atonement to the other person, do that.
But once you have done everything in your power to show your remorse and to make amends, then it is up to the other person to determine if they accept this. You cannot control their response. But continuing to feel guilty is not productive, either. Let go of this emotion for your own emotional health.
23. Focus on a Growth Mindset
When you find satisfaction in learning and growing, instead of merely achieving or “being” something or someone, you will find that you enjoy your life more and have higher emotional satisfaction. Every experience in life is something we can learn from, and the more you focus on this, the happier you will be. Being a life-long learner is vital for achieving emotional health.
24. Learn to Forgive
Whether it is finding forgiveness for others or yourself, it is crucial that you learn to let go of negative emotions and forgive the wrongs that have been perpetrated upon you.
Those who forgive have a stronger sense of self and better overall emotional health because they feel more satisfied with their lives. Forgiveness is essential to happiness and well-being, so find ways to accept what has happened and move forward.
25. Drink Water
This may sound like an odd habit when talking about emotional health, but it is crucial. Your brain is three-fourths water, and when you are not sufficiently hydrated, your ability to focus, think and process your emotions will suffer. Drinking plenty of water and eating water-rich foods will help your brain have the fluids it needs to cope with stress, recognize and handle emotions, and stay emotionally well.
26. Believe in Something
Whether it is religion, spirituality, or something else, having strong beliefs in something can help you lead a more emotionally fulfilling life. Those who believe in a higher power or have strong spiritual convictions have a sense of purpose, use their beliefs as a moral compass in their lives, and generally feel more satisfied with their existence.
27. Give Back to Others in Need
When you focus on the needs of others, rather than yourself all the time, you can enjoy better emotional health. Volunteering, serving in your community, or engaging in random acts of kindness gives you perspective on your own life, allows you to develop empathy for others, and enables you to make a difference for and connect with someone else.
28. Focus on Goals
Having goals keeps you thinking about the future. This makes you feel more hopeful about what is to come and builds your self-esteem as you accomplish things that help you reach those goals.
Goals make each day unique and different; they provide you with a purpose for starting each day, and they give you opportunities to learn new things to help you reach your dreams. Goals are important for everyone’s mental and emotional health, so be sure you are continually setting new ones for yourself.
29. Build Your Strengths
Focus on building up your strengths to boost your emotional wellness. When you enhance your talents and gifts, you build your self-esteem, which plays a key role in your emotional health.
Ways to develop your strength include teaching a class or tutoring someone in something you are good at doing, taking a class to bring your skills to the next level of mastery, or finding a new hobby that allows you to apply your strengths in new ways. When you feel more competent, your emotional well-being will soar.
30. Change Your Negative Self-Talk
The way you talk to yourself is especially important, and negative self-talk takes a toll on your emotional health. Instead of listening to the negative things you continue to say to yourself, try writing out these words. Write down the worst things you say to yourself, then rewrite that script to be more positive.
Look for how you are sabotaging yourself or using bad facts to inform your self-worth. Then practice saying these new, more positive thoughts to yourself. The more you say them, the more you will start to believe them and feel more emotionally well.
31. Work on Your Posture
How you stand and hold yourself says a lot about how you feel about yourself. And changing your posture can actually improve your emotions. Standing up straight has clear benefits for your confidence and overall mental health.
Your posture even influences your stress level, so if you are feeling stressed, try standing up straighter for a boost! Your posture affects how you perceive your energy level and encourages you to engage in negative thoughts when you slouch or stoop.
32. Be Happy for Others
When you celebrate the successes of other people, you feel better, too. When you focus on negative feelings like jealousy or resentment, you are harming yourself more than hurting the other person. And when you can’t be happy for others’ accomplishments or happiness, you set a standard for your own life that you can never meet. Be happy for them and set yourself free from the negative emotions that damage your own health.
33. Learn New Things
When you sat about learning a new skill, hobby, set of knowledge, you not only keep your brain healthier, but you improve your emotional state, too. Learning is a great exercise for your mind, and it helps you feel more capable and confident when you gain new knowledge or skills.
Set a goal to learn something new each month or to pick up a new hobby each year. It does not have to be complicated but finds something you have always wanted to learn more about and do it.
34. Learn to Name Your Emotions
The better you are at naming and describing your emotions, the better you will be at managing them and acting upon them appropriately, when necessary. Learning to listen to your emotions and to correctly identify if you are really mad, for example, versus feeling embarrassed and therefore deflecting, is crucial for emotional well-begin.
The more you can identify negative emotions, the better equipped you are to talk about them and learn to move past them. But naming is the first step in emotional health.
35. Know Your Strengths
Take some time to figure out what you are good at in life. Knowing your strengths is a crucial component to developing resiliency and keeps your feeling confident about yourself. When you know your strengths, you are better able to shore up your weaknesses, too, by using your talents as a starting point. Focusing on your gifts from time to time is a positive emotional boost that we all need.
36. Embrace Change
Many people do not really like change. In fact, a lot of us fear change to the point that we will disrupt our lives or remain unhappy just to avoid it. But, learning to embrace change and what it can teach you can help you enjoy more emotional health.
Take advantage of change, as it enables you to learn and grow, rather than fearing or avoiding it. Change is inevitable; the more you accept it rather than focus negative energy on it, the better off you will be.
37. Set Realistic Goals
When you are real with yourself about what you can accomplish, how much you can do in a day, or where you see yourself in five years, you are much more likely to be content and emotionally satisfied. Setting goals that are too high for you leads to disappointment and sadness while setting goals that are too low makes you feel restless and bored. Periodically examining your daily and long-term goals can be helpful to know if your goal setting is allowing you to feel emotionally satisfied or not.
38. Look for Self-Sabotaging Behaviors
There are many ways that you may be sabotaging your own emotional health or happiness. Self-sabotage can be procrastination, blaming others, ignoring your problems, lacking self-control, repressing your emotions, using cynicism or sarcasm instead of genuine emotion, comparing yourself to others, denying help from others, over-committing, isolating yourself, or being a martyr. Stopping these types of negative behaviors and learning to accept responsibility for your own choices and emotions is crucial for your long-term emotional well-being.
39. Start Each Day Well
When you start your day with a positive routine, you set yourself up for success. Be sure you are getting a good night’s sleep and wake up in time to do what you need to do in plenty of time. Start your day with positive thoughts and self-talk, setting goals for your day, and mindfulness or gratitude exercises to put you in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day. When you start with a positive emotional state, you are more likely to feel this way throughout your day.
It is essential to take some time now and then to think about your own personal growth. What have you learned, what have you gained, and how has your life improved?
Being introspective at times can help you to identify trouble
spots that can be addressed to improve your health, and it is an excellent
opportunity to think about your many blessings and gifts, as well.
Nurturing your emotional health helps you create balance in your life and allows you to be healthier and happier. When you learn to feel good about yourself, process your emotions effectively, and cope with the changes and setbacks that are inevitable in life, you will enjoy a longer, healthier life with more emotional well-being.