Nowadays, most of us are familiar with mental health and physical health, but what about emotional health?
Emotional health is an important pillar of wellness that's often overlooked. It is determined, in part, by our ability to express emotions in a controlled and constructive manner. Human beings have a complicated relationship with emotions; we can feel inspired and filled with hope, or feel fearful and filled with loneliness. Positive emotions have the power to make us feel on top of the world, while negative emotions have the power to make us feel like the world is ending.
Having proper emotional health means that you communicate your feelings (and your needs) in a way that is productive without making the situation worse. This may take practice, but it is something that can be worked on. Here are some practical tips to help support good emotional health:
Your emotional health is intimately connected to your stress response. The first step to improving your stress response is to become keenly aware of which emotions cause you stress. Once the emotion starts to arise, notice it, name it, and begin your Relaxation Response! Relaxation responses are personalized, pre-planned strategies to help counteract stress and negative emotion. Examples may include simple mantras or mindful breathing techniques. When something goes wrong in your day, say to yourself "I'll allow it", and take a deep satisfying breath before moving on.
Morning Statements - Set the Stage
Morning statements set the tone for your entire day. I personally like to finish my morning meditation with a statement. Here are a couple of my personal favourites inspired by the Stoics:
"Today, the expected may not come to pass, and the unexpected may come to pass. All is welcomed by me."
"Today, I will derive benefit from every experience, for it is within my power to do so."
Core Beliefs and Thinking Traps
Inaccurate core beliefs about yourself and others can lead to considerable stress. These thought patterns start in early childhood and are reinforced through unchallenged, repetitive thinking. A skilled health practitioner can help you challenge these core beliefs so that your thinking patterns and behaviours are far more constructive.
A core belief that someone might hold is that they're "un-loveable", or that "people can't be trusted". These types of beliefs tend to discount a myriad of other factors, including the positive aspects of life.
Most news and politics
Caffeine in daily amounts of 300+mg
Noisy environments, over-stimulation
Too much alcohol, too often
Abrasive or negative people
Mental or physical overexertion
People who enjoy close relationships with family and friends have a higher quality of life. It's that simple. Social support is emotional support, and during times of chronic stress and crisis we need each other. Not to mention how great it can be to laugh with other people once in awhile!
We do not need to fill our calendars with social obligations to maintain a support network. Regular, casual check-ins can go a long way towards showing someone you value them.
A healthy mind:gut connection will also support your emotional health. There are studies that show that a healthy gut microbiome can improve symptoms of depression. The by-products of the bacteria in our gut travel all the way to brain, helping maintain the integrity of the blood-brain-barrier and supporting overall brain health. Some of the best foods to eat for a healthy microbiome include onions, garlic, asparagus, brussel sprouts, almonds, apples, Greek yoghurt, and kimchi. A daily multi-strain probiotic of at least 10 Bil CFUs could also be very helpful.
To work with me 1-on-1, or learn more about how naturopathic medicine can improve your emotional health, please visit - https://www.wellnessdojo.ca/bookings-checkout/discover-naturopathic-medicine-online/book
Dr. Riley Anderson, ND