The Secret to Mental Wellness: Your Emotional Health and Physical Wellbeing

The Secret to Mental Wellness: Your Emotional Health and Physical Wellbeing

‘Mental wellness’ simply means your overall mental health and wellbeing. Like physical wellness, it includes not just how we feel on any given day, but the whole set of habits and routines we have to improve our wellbeing over time. Therefore it is just as important to invest in our mental health and wellness as it is to invest in our physical wellness.

Ways to Improve Your Mental Health and Wellness

First, always remember: If you suspect that you or a loved one have a serious mental problem, seek professional help. Common examples of mental illness with such causes include depression, PTSD, and alcoholism in addition to other addictions. Mental illness often has a physical cause, such as a chemical imbalance in the brain; thus, you cannot hope that someone will “snap out of it” or “get better” on their own. In fact, the reverse is true: everyday stress can make mental illness worse over time.

As a rule of thumb, when a person’s behavior is potentially destructive or harmful, or when someone is not acting like themselves for extended periods of time, you should get outside help.

That said, what are some everyday habits for improving our mental health and wellness? There are many things you can do once you realize that our mental wellbeing is intrinsically connected to both our emotional and physical wellbeing.

Your Emotional Wellbeing

People who have good emotional health are aware of their thoughts and feelings. While they do not suppress their feelings, they learn to control how they react to them (and with them.) This includes learning ways to cope with the stress and anxiety that are a part of life.

For example, there are everyday stresses: Stress on the job, financial issues, raising children, and so on. There are also larger stressors that come from “life events,” like getting married, getting laid off, being in a serious accident, moving to new home, or having a baby. Notice that some of these are bad, but some are good! Even positive life events can have a strong impact on our emotions.

Being in better control of yourself requires better engagement with the emotional side of these events. This includes:

  • Making an effort to be more aware of your emotions and reactions
  • Figuring out what makes you angry or “pushes your buttons”
  • Figuring out what makes you feel relaxing, or releases tension
  • Practicing “pausing” before you react. so you can judge your reactions
  • Learning to express your feelings, positive and negative, to trusted loved ones
  • Taking time to relax and “decompress,” especially after stressful events
  • Working on achieving work-life balance overall

Practicing these tips will help you recognize situations that cause anger, stress, and anxiety, process those feelings, and seek positive ways of dealing with them. They can also help you reflect on what things in your life are having a negative effect on you, which in turn can be a signal to make some changes in your life.

Your Physical Wellbeing

The term “mind-body connection’ conjures images of New Age treatments and eastern gurus, for most people. But the underlying idea is not as flaky as it might seem at first. Scientists have found, through decades of research, that there is a strong connection between our mental health and our physical health.

For example, regular exercise not only improves your physical health, but also:

  • Helps lift your mood
  • Gives you more energy throughout the day
  • Relieves stress
  • Improves memory
  • Helps you sleep better

In order to receive the maximum benefits from your exercise, you will also need to support it with other healthy habits: Eating a balanced diet, getting the proper amount of sleep, and taking care of your body when it sends you “warning signals,” like pains or fatigue.

Positive mental health will help your physical wellbeing too. People are more likely to exercise and take care of themselves when they feel well-rested and let go of stress and anxiety. Positive mental and emotional health is also correlated with lower blood pressure, lower incidence of obesity, and fewer chronic health conditions.

Continue on the Road to a Healthy Lifestyle

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