5 Steps to Better Emotional Health
When it comes to our overall well-being, taking care of our emotional health is as important as taking care of our physical health. After all, when we aren’t healthy emotionally, our bodies react by raising our blood pressure, creating ulcers, and impeding our immune system from doing its job.
Here are 5 ways you can improve your emotional health starting today:
1) Get Your Body Moving
Any form of exercise can have a significant and positive impact on your mood. Not only does exercise help your body burn through stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, it also releases feel good chemicals called endorphins, which help fight pain and make you happy. On top of this, you simply improve your self-esteem when you commit to exercising regularly. Start with 5-10 minutes of exercise, and slowly increase your time.
2) Build a Support Network
It’s very important to have a group of family and friends that you trust to share your problems with. We all need someone to lean on every once in a while who will listen and make us feel less alone.
If you’re currently feeling isolated, reach out to some old friends while making new ones. Consider volunteering or using a social gathering website like MeetUp.com to find people who share your passions and interests. By reaching out and connecting with just one person, you are building a support network.
3) Have More Sex
Physical intimacy within a committed relationship leads to numerous emotional benefits. You feel loved and secure because of a deep connection. You also feel good about yourself, and a healthy self-esteem is important to our overall well-being.
If you find you and your partner simply don’t have the time, make the time. Agree on a schedule and stick to it. It could be once a week, three times a week or even twice a month, whatever works for you both. Just make sure you are not using sex as a way to avoid vs connect to each other.
4) Eat a Healthy Diet
During stressful times, many of us make unhealthy food choices. After all, comfort foods, which are often laden with fat, sugar and processed carbohydrates, are supposed to make us feel better, right? And they do…temporarily.
But in the long-term, eating foods high in sugars or drinking alcohol can negatively affect our emotional health. Sugar and other chemicals found in the foods we eat and beverages we drink alter our brain chemistry, often leading to feelings of anger, sadness, and even hopelessness.
It’s important to eat a healthy diet consisting of fruits and vegetables, lean cuts of meat, and whole grains. Restrict your consumption of processed foods. Moderation of these foods goes a long way towards improving your overall emotional health.
5) Work with a Therapist
Sometimes, whatever is affecting your emotions may feel too big for you and/or your support network to handle alone. During times like these it’s important to seek guidance from a therapist who can help you understand your behaviors and reactions to events, as well as offer tools to help you cope and manage.
If you’re unsure whether you’re dealing with a temporary emotional slump or full-blown depression, contact a mental health professional as soon as possible.