Emotional health is a state of positive psychological functioning. It can be thought of as an extension of mental health; it’s the “optimal functioning” end of the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that make up both our inner and outer worlds. It includes an overall experience of wellness in what we think, feel, and do through both the highs and lows of life.
Improving emotional health is similar to improving physical health. It transcends the notion of mere freedom from illness to involve actively feeling well and living well.
Emotional health and wellbeing involve defining and creating your own life worth living, a concept that comes to us largely from the field of positive psychology.
An important step in creating emotional health is to identify your own emotions and to understand their value. All emotions have meaning and value simply because they’re part of us. That doesn’t mean they are all good for us to experience long-term, however. We don’t have to sit back and let feelings overwhelm us.
Instead, we can develop emotional intelligence, the ability to identify emotions and use them constructively. This leads to learning emotional regulation, or the ability to control emotions, monitoring them and adjusting our mindset and behavior accordingly.
Achieving emotional health and wellbeing is an active process that involves not only identifying emotions but also shaping how we think about them and how we act (or refrain from acting) on them. Some tips for creating your own emotional health definition and living it include:
- Identifying personal strengths, building them, and living from them
- Learning optimism, realistically seeing the positive in even bad situations
- Developing the courage to define, and then live, your life worth living
- Honing resiliency, the ability to learn from and bounce back from setbacks as well as flexibility in facing challenges
- Seeing the good in yourself and developing a healthy self-concept
- Building a social network, even if it’s small
- Creating a set of coping skills for dealing with mental health difficulties and external stress
- Living life with a sense of purpose
- Making time for hobbies and leisure
- Honoring your sense of creativity in your hobbies and leisure time