When we think about “health” there are some instinctual thoughts that come to mind.
Body fat and bathing suits. Carrots and cholesterol. Fiber and flexibility.
Hearing “health” tends to prompt some physical thoughts. But as we come to realize (who hasn’t used an ice cream scoop as a remedy for a bad day?) there’s another side to health and it starts with a big ol’ E.
That’s right, emotions. Those things that can make a day awesome or awful, change an experience from delight to disaster and, whether we acknowledge it or not, can be helped or hindered by our own actions.
We all have a decent idea of how to lose weight, lower blood pressure or make a healthy meal but taking care of our emotional health isn’t as obvious. While emotions can be complex, there are some simple ways to foster and elevate your level of emotional health.
1. Check Your Vitals
While we did just say to divert focus from the physical, it’s important to realize that it does play a hefty role in our emotions. We are, to be completely unromantic, just machines. We require certain parts to “run” properly and when they’re missing, broken or bent, that machine gets out of whack! Hormones, which dictate behavior and mood, are indeed physical so it’s vital to check out how we’re treating essential parts with questions like these:
How much sleep am I getting (or not)?
Is my diet providing an adequate source of necessary nutrients?
Am I expending enough energy through exercise?
These physically-based components affect the physiology rockin’ in the bod and subsequently, our emotions. Check your stats to make sure there’s a solid somatic baseline and begin to correct any imbalances that make be taking place.
2. Survey Your Stimuli
Take a moment in your whirlwind of a day and pause for a hot second.
What are you looking at? Who are you talking to? What do you hear?
The stimuli of your day.
Now, using some honesty, how constructive are the sights and sounds that make up your life?
Is the person you're talking to a chronic complainer? Are the sounds you’re hearing a reality TV show with constant arguing?
Even if subconscious, we become our environment. While a sudden upheaval of all imperfections may be extreme, start to take note of potentially adverse stimuli that may be obstructing your emotional health. It’s okay to say, “adios” to the things (and people!) that may be putting a damper on your happiness parade.
3. Saying C’est la Vie
Society tells us that we should be happy. And if we’re not, it tells us we can to achieve it. Whether by therapy or diet or lifestyle revamp...it tell us it’s possible and expected and how dare you not be happy!
And then, when we feel something other than that happiness, we beat ourselves up...“how can I feel upset or sad when this commercial is telling me to smile right now?!”
We’re hit with a paradox: in our overly ambitious attempt to achieve emotional wellness, the pressure surrounding such makes us feel worse!
See, the thing is, it’s normal.
It’s okay to feel like a human roller coaster some days.
It’s okay to feel emotions other than “YAAASSS!”
It’s okay because well, you’re a human.
Sometimes the best thing we can do is shrug it off, march on...and recognize “c’est la vie.” Such is life.
Hanging up our bag of assumptions, and subsequently unburdening our emotional expectations, can suddenly make everything seem a-okay.