How to Build Good Emotional Health
For starters, it’s not the same thing as mental health. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, emotional health “focuses on being in tune with our emotions, vulnerability, and authenticity,” says licensed psychologist Juli Fraga, PsyD.
Having good emotional health is a fundamental aspect of fostering resilience, self-awareness, and overall contentment.
Keep in mind that having good emotional health doesn’t mean you’re always happy or free from negative emotions. It’s about having the skills and resources to manage the ups and downs of day-to-day life.
Remember that emotional health isn’t about always being in a good mood. It’s about equipping yourself to deal with the good, the bad, and everything in between.
1. Practice emotional regulation
Emotions can and sometimes will get the best of you, but learning coping strategies to temper them can help you respond instead of react to upsetting situations, Fraga advises.
If you’re overwhelmed with stress at work or at home, getting regular exercise can feel impossible. But taking the time for physical activity can nourish both your emotional and your physical health, says Fraga.
Aim to set aside 30 minutes a day for some kind of physical activity. If you’re short on time, find 10- or 15-minute chunks of time to go for a quick walk.
3. Strengthen social connections
Your links to others can have powerful effects on your emotional and physical health. Staying connected with loved ones can provide a buffer when you’re going through challenges,
Foster these connections by spending time with close friends and family, either in person or over the phone.
4. Be mindful
A growing body of research links mindfulness with less emotional reactivity and greater relationship satisfaction.
Mindfulness can be as simple as focusing on one thing at a time, trying a social media detox, or turning household tasks into a mental break. The point is to be consistent with your mindfulness practice and dedicate even just a few minutes to something you enjoy.
5. Get quality sleep
Sacrificing sleep makes you more vulnerable to stress and anxiety.
One 2018 study found that being sleep-deprived leads to more repetitive negative thoughts. Being overly tired can make you more emotionally reactive. That emotional reactivity can negatively affect your outlook, performance, and relationships.
Make sure you’re being consistent with your sleep and waking times as well as optimizing your bedroom environment so that you’re getting enough rest.