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Emotional health is the best prize you can get in the self-help world

Here’s why. Ever notice how easy is it to laugh off a bad moment when you’re in a good place? On the other side of that coin, ever notice how easy it is to get enraged or derailed by the tiniest thing when you’re feeling bad or frustrated? The state of our emotional health is going to affect the way we handle everything in our lives from work issues to problems at home, to our recovery. I know that when I’m doing well and nurturing my emotional health, I can glide through whatever comes up in my life. So, the goal is to be as emotionally well as possible, all the time.

You know I love to define things so here’s a definition of emotional health

Emotional health is one aspect of mental health. It is your ability to cope with both positive and negative emotions, which includes your awareness of them. Emotionally healthy people have good coping mechanisms for negative emotions, and they also know when to reach out to a professional for help. ALSO, feeling happy, connected, accepted, having perspective, control of our behavior and in healthy relationships.

What does emotional health affect?

Everything. The way you perform at work and how you get along with others at work. All relationships whether they be family, romantic, friends, or even associates. How you deal with the world around you, think about how you act when there’s a line at the grocery store or someone cuts you off on the road. Are you instantly angry and feel inconvenienced? Do you scream in the car? How do those reactions make you feel? I’ve been guilty of both many times and always feel like the jerk later on. How you manage disappointment or success, and how you feel about yourself are also hugely impacted by your emotional health. Does a romantic rejection lead you to the pit of despair? Do work problems torment you? Think these situations through to consider where your emotional health is……….So, now you get it. Your emotional health is almost your calling card through life.

Not sure if your emotional health is struggling? Do you experience any of the following?

  • Isolating yourself from friends, family, or coworkers
  • Lower energy than usual
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Increased use of substances
  • Racing thoughts
  • Lower performance at work
  • More interpersonal conflicts than usual
  • Feelings of irritability, guilt, hopelessness, or worthlessness
  • Neglecting hygiene and personal care

Emotional health is important – so how do you work on it?

The exciting news is that there are so many ways to work on your emotional health. Start with activities that you enjoy so this doesn’t feel like such a chore. In my experience, the more I saw results, the more willing I was to try other things. Because there are a variety of ways to get into emotional health self-help, I broke them down into categories, the physical tools, the mental health tools and the social tools.

The physical tools

  1. Rest – it’s critical for you to be able to process emotions. BOTH your own and the emotions of others.
  2. Exercise – I say it all the time. Want to get out of your head? Get into your body. Even 30 minutes of walking every day will make a difference. Get serious about exercise and you have the best replacement activity out there.
  3. Meditate – Meditation will help with everything from calmness to any kind of recovery you’re working on. if you keep it up, it will have lasting effects on your brain and your ability to stay calm and centered.

The social tools

  1. Stay connected – with your recovery community, your family, and whoever makes you feel good and safe. Text, call, meet up, send memes, and know someone’s out there when you need them.
  2. Know when to reach out for help – have a team of people who you can call if you are having problems. Have a sponsor? Friend, sober sister, spiritual figure, family member, therapist, doctor, or whoever fits the bill for you.
  3. Celebrate – celebrate your goals, your special days, and the people you care about. Keep joy in your life and in the lives of the people around you. This is especially helpful for building self-esteem.

The mental health tools

  1. Learn resiliency – otherwise known as your ability to bounce back. This will carry you when things don’t work out as planned, and they won’t work sometimes. But, better to know that and be prepared, right?
  2. Find things to care about – if there isn’t much passion in your job, find it somewhere else. We all need things to care about and to know care about us. Struggle with people? Foster animals. Find a way to fill your heart with something pure and positive. It changes everything.
  3. Replace negative thoughts – if you struggle with your thinking (and who doesn’t) find tools to help replace that stinking thinking. Try using replacement thoughts that are positive, affirmations, or do those meditations about building self-esteem and self-confidence.

Check out my book 100
Tips For Growing Up

100 Tips For Growing Up

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Lindsey Glass

Lindsey Glass is the co-founder of Reach Out Recovery. Her 2016 ASAM Media Award winning documentary, The Secret World Of Recovery, has helped to lift the stigma from addiction and recovery and is used in recovery programs nationwide to show what life is like on the other side of addiction. Lindsey's teen prevention documentary, The Silent Majority, was distributed to PBS stations nationwide by American Public Television in 2014-15. Lindsey has written dozens of popular articles on recovery. She is a recovery advocate and frequent keynote speaker. Lindsey is the author of 100 Tips for Growing Up, My 20 Years of Recovery, 2019. Before focusing on recovery, Lindsey was a TV and screenwriter. She has worked in publishing, web development, and marketing.

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