A healthy diet and exercise are great for your body, but don’t neglect your emotional health and well-being. Reducing stress, getting enough sleep, and having fun are all ways to find happiness.
When your mind is frazzled and stressed, and your emotions are taking over your thoughts and affecting your everyday activities, it’s time to take a step back, take a deep breath, and relax. Of course focusing on your physical health is crucial, but so is treating your mind and spirit to the same attention. Your happiness goes a long way in protecting your overall well-being.
Happiness and Well-Being: Why It’s Important
Emotions are one aspect of a person’s health that often get neglected. But if youremotional health is suffering, your physical health will too.
Your emotional health is just a term for how you feel — your overall happiness and well-being. Are you stressed? Unhappy? Unsatisfied? Worried and anxious? Then your emotional health needs some serious attention, or your body will start paying the price.
Happiness and Well-Being: How It Feels
Being emotionally healthy is a huge plus. People with good emotional health:
- Believe that there is a good balance to their life between leisure time, activity, and work
- Feel good about themselves, and don’t suffer from self-esteem issues
- Believe that there is a purpose to their lives
- Are able to accept changes better and just go with the flow
- Enjoy living, and know the value of fun and laughter
- Have less stress, and are better equipped to deal with stress
- Have better relationships with others
- Are contented with their lives
Happiness and Well-Being: When All’s Not Well
“If we do not care for ourselves, frustration, tension, anger, and poor health can develop,” says Sally R. Connolly, a clinical social worker, therapist and co-founder of CounselingRelationshipsOnline.com, an online counseling service.
Even when you know how important it is to take good care of your emotions, it can still be a tall order. It can be tough to find time for yourself, and some people may feel guilty about pampering or spoiling themselves from time to time. Others may just ignore their feelings and stressors and hope they just go away. However, they usually don’t — and at some point, unaddressed emotional problems often result in serious consequences, from illness to relationship problems to harmful behavior.
“Many of us, women especially, have the irrational belief that caring for ourselves or putting our own mental and emotional health first is selfish,” says Connolly. “Women are reared to be caregivers and usually put themselves last.”
Happiness and Well-Being: Getting Started
Make a decision to do something nice for yourself every day and stick to it.
“For many people it has to be a conscious process,” says Connolly. “They must take time to do it. I often recommend some simple ritual as a way of honoring themselves.” She recommends something as simple as daily meditation to inspire peace and relaxation.
Other rituals might involve:
- Getting up a few minutes early to drink your morning coffee in peace
- Taking a walk every day
- Having regularly scheduled events with close friends or family
- Finding time to be alone with your spouse
Happiness and Well-Being: Tips for Emotional Health
Focusing on your emotional health isn’t hard, but it may be an adjustment for you. Some simple — and really enjoyable — changes are all it takes to boost happiness and well-being. Follow these ideas to strengthen your emotional health:
- Exercise. It protects physical and emotional health, relieves stress, and makes you feel good.
- Make time for laziness. You don’t have to be constantly on the go — that’s how you get run down. Spend a little time each day or each week doing something you enjoy that is completely frivolous. For example, watch TV or a silly movie, chat on the phone, play a game, or just listen to music.
- Spend some time in the sun. With sunscreen, of course. But sunlight is a great natural way to boost your mood.
- Deal with your emotions. Learn how to properly deal with stress, anger, and anxiety instead of keeping them bottled up inside.
- Be healthy inside. This means avoiding junk food and sticking to a healthy diet. You should also steer clear of smoking, drug use, and too much alcohol.
- Treat your senses. Do little things that make you happy and stimulate your senses, like lighting a scented candle, buying some fresh-cut flowers, indulging in a massage, or treating yourself to your favorite food or drink.
- Sleep. Everyone gets cranky without enough sleep, so dedicate adequate sleep time every night. Or treat yourself to a nap every now and then.
- Be creative. Spend some time learning new things, like a new language or skill (for example, music or knitting). Even just working in your garden can help you relax and feel satisfied.
- Adopt an animal. Pets offer fun, relaxation, and a whole lot of love. They can encourage you to exercise, and tear your attention away from stressful activities.
The bottom line is pretty simple: take time for happiness. Allow yourself to enjoy life, fun, and relaxation. Be thankful for what you have, and enjoy it.