Mental Mondays: 5 Easy Ways To Boost Your Emotional Health
Do you know that emotional stress can lead to mental illness? Giving you an overview of the meaning of emotional health and sharing easy ways to boost your emotional health without breaking the bank is our focus today.
We introduced a new series called Mental Mondays, through which we will be tackling a number of topics related to mental and emotional health. As a part of this series, we will be focusing on topics that are often ignored in Nigerian, African and other black communities with the aim of helping destigmatize mental health in our culture.
For starters, let’s clarify the difference between emotional and mental health, seeing that they are often used interchangeably. The two are actually quite different but you really can’t have one without the other and an imbalance in one affects the other. Think of them as a tag team!
Mental health refers to your ability to process information while emotional health refers to your ability to express feelings which are based upon the information you have processed.
And now to the topic of the day, Emotional Health!
Emotional health is an important part of overall health; it is synonymous with wholeness. People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. They are more able to cope with life’s challenges. Also, they can keep problems in perspective and are able to manage and express those feelings in an age-appropriate manner.
Being emotionally healthy does not mean you are happy all the time, rather it means you are aware of your emotions and can deal with them, whether they are positive or negative. Nigeria, Africa, Ghana, South Africa, black men, women.
Here are 6 ways you can boost your emotional health…
1. Expand your support system
It’s very important that you have a support system. You need people you can talk to about your problems without fear of being judged. People who are willing to listen to you when you need to get things off your chest. The ones that make you know you’re not alone in whatever it is you are going through that’s taking a toll on your emotional health.
Your support system can be made up of family members, close friends, members of a religious group or a professional therapist. Having a strong support system is a great first step in managing your emotional health. Simply put, getting things off your chest will help ensure you don’t blow up or boil up internally.
2. Reduce stress
Everyone feels stressed out from time to time. Although stress can sometimes give a rush of energy when it’s needed most. However, when stress lasts for a long time — a condition known as chronic stress, it becomes harmful rather than helpful.
As much as possible, cut down on stress. Look at your personal, family, work and social environments and identify the root causes of stress in your life, then strategically eliminate those stressors. Avoid biting off more than you can chew professionally or otherwise. Don’t be such a humanitarian that in trying to save the world you lose your mind and yourself as a whole. Also, learning healthy ways to cope with unavoidable stress will help boost emotional health and resilience.
3. Hit the sheets
This one can never be overemphasized. With everything we want to do before the end of the day, we often sacrifice sleep. But the quality and quantity of sleep we get affect our mental health which in turn affects us emotionally. When we’re tired, we can’t function at our best. Sleep helps us think more clearly, have quicker reflexes and focus better. So, make it a point of duty to have at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
4. Take care of your physical health
Poor physical health can affect your emotional health and/or lead to an increased risk of developing mental health problems. Exercise regularly and eat healthy meals. According to a study published in October 2017 in Reviews in the Neurosciences, exercise improves your mood and has comprehensive benefits for your physical health.
Research shows that doing exercise influences the release and uptake of feel-good chemicals called endorphins in the brain. Even a short burst of 10 minutes brisk walking increases our mental alertness, energy and positive mood. So when next you are feeling emotionally down, consider taking a walk and see the difference it makes.
5. Seek a shrink so you don’t shrink
Therapy is a great way to unburden yourself. Think of therapy as a sort of an intervention that stops a person from going downhill. Note that, therapy is not only needed when all hell has been let loose, but you can also get periodic therapy to manage your emotional stability, especially if you’re easily triggered. Seeing a therapist affords you the opportunity to build trust with another person who won’t judge you or spill your tea for all to see.
Emotional health isn’t about suppressing emotions or decreasing how much emotion we show. Will you still feel anger, anxiety, sadness and shame every now and then? Yes, that’s because it’s human nature. And that’s a great thing – because, again, these emotions give us invaluable insights into what we want and need but the key is to intentionally manage our emotions by making deliberate decisions about how they affect our behavior, our relationships and our life, in general.
Ultimately, therapy helps you maintain positive emotional health and prevents a mental breakdown.
Take control of your emotional health and consider getting online counseling through telemedicine companies like Rave Psychiatry.
Photo credit: Instagram | Annakozdon
Originally published March 2, 2020. Nigeria, Africa, Ghana, South Africa, black men, women. Psychiatrist. Nurse practitioners,
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