A healthy diet and exercis are both fantastic for keeping your body in tip-top shape, but we can’t neglect our emotional wellness and health.
Of course, focusing attention on your physical health is crucial, but so is caring for your mind and spirit in the same way. When your mind gets scattered and stressed, and emotions begin taking over the thoughts in your head and affecting your everyday activities, it’s time for you to take a step back from everything, take a deep breath, and just relax.
While sometimes taking care of your mental and emotional wellness can mean seeking professional help, it can also mean taking the right steps to improve on your own. When you make these changes you’ll see how they pay off in all aspects of your life. You’ll get a nice boost in mood, higher resilience built, and you’ll add to your overall enjoyment of life.
I’ve compiled a list of simple actions you can take to help pay attention to your emotional wellness while also avoiding stress. Continue reading to start strengthening your mind today.
1. Give Yourself Positive Reinforcement
How you think about yourself - positive or negative - can have a powerful impact on how you feel in your everyday life. Perceiving ourselves negatively can lead us to view external experiences in the same way.
Instead, you need to practice using words that promote self-worth and personal power. For instance, instead of telling yourself, “I won’t get the job because I failed the interview. I’m such a loser,” try saying, “I didn’t do as well as I would have liked in the interview, but that doesn’t mean I won’t get the job.” Sounds a lot better right?
2. Write Down Something You’re Grateful For
Gratitude has been linked to improved well-being and mental health for a long time, and that includes overall happiness. The best method to increase daily feelings of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal with you or a daily gratitude list.
When you’re contemplating gratitude generally you’ll experience long-term benefits, but you need to get a regular practice of it started. Find something to be grateful for, fill your heart to the brim with it, and bask in that wonderful feeling.
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3. Be In The Moment
When you’re mindful of the present moment you’re allowing yourself to let go of negative or difficult emotions of the past that are weighing you down. A good start to this is bringing awareness to routine activities, like taking a shower, eating lunch, or taking a walk.
Focus on the physical sensations around you like smells, sounds, or tastes. These experiences will help you focus and avoid those negative thoughts weighing you down. Don’t worry if your mind wanders off, just be sure to bring it back to what you’re doing.
Before and after working out, your body releases stress-relieving and mind-boosting endorphins. This is why exercise is a powerful antidote to stress, anxiety, and depression. There’s no need to become a body-builder if you’ve never really worked out before, just look for small ways to add activity to your day.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator or go for a short walk. For the most benefit, aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise a day; bonus points if you get it done outside. Sunlight exposure helps produce vitamin D in the body, which increases serotonin in the brain. Also, being around nature is another proven stress reducer.
5. Eat A Good Meal
When you eat, you’re nourishing your whole body, which includes your brain. Carbs (in moderate amounts) increase serotonin, which has been shown to have a calming effect. Consuming protein-rich foods increases norepinephrine, dopamine, and tyrosine, which help you stay alert.
Veggies and fruits are loaded with important nutrients that help every cell of your body. Try and include foods with Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are found in fish, nuts, and flaxseed. These nutrients can improve mood and emotional wellness cells in the brain.
6. Open Up
Humans are social creatures by nature, and knowing you’re valued by others is a very important factor for helping you think more positively. Also, when you become more trusting you increase your emotional wellness because you’ll get better at recognizing the positive aspects in other people, which in-turn makes you better at recognizing your own.
7. Do Something For Someone Else
When you go out of your way to help others there is a beneficial effect on how you feel about yourself. Being helpful and kind to others - and being valued for it - is a fantastic way to build self-esteem. Helping others will enrich and expand your life.
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8. Take Breaks
I’m a huge advocate for this one. We all know those moments when it all seems like way too much. When you find yourself in those stressful moments, step away, and do anything except whatever was causing that stress until you feel a little better.
Sometimes, the best thing to do for yourself is a simple breathing exercise: Close your eyes and just take 10 deep breaths. For each breath, do a count of four as you inhale, hold it for a count of four, and then exhale for four to eight seconds. This exercise works wonders almost immediately.
9. Go To Bed On Time
Sleep deprivation has a significantly negative effect on your mood. Try going to bed at a regular time every day, and make sure to practice good habits to ensure you’re getting better sleep each night. Be sure to shut down all screens (phone, TV, computer) for at least an hour before bedtime, make sure you’re using your bed only for sleep or relaxing, and definitely restrict caffeinated drinks for the morning only.
Remember, you have the power to take positive steps right now to improve your emotional wellness and mental health. Don’t wait until you’re in the middle of a crisis to think about healing yourself.
Also, it’s way easier to form new habits when you’re feeling strong. Don’t feel like you have to start everything on this list today. Find something that resonates with you and give it a try. Once you’ve got one down, try another.
Routines take time to form, so go slow and you’ll begin seeing the gradual change to a stronger and happier you.