For a long time, I felt that the best way to deal with my emotions were to bottle them up and put them on a shelf. In my life, there have been many times when a sibling, friend or even acquaintance has come to me seeking advice, a shoulder to cry on or just a listening ear. And I thank God often for the compassionate heart he has given me to be there for others and empathize with others in their time of need.
But, most of the time, I have struggled with allowing my emotions to be seen. I didn’t want to wear my heart on my sleeve – even though I said sometimes that I did.
The truth was that I often hid my emotions from those closest to me for fear of being a burden or worse that they wouldn’t understand where I was coming from. I did this all through out my teens, which lead to mountains being made of mole hills in my life. But I digress, that’s a conversation for another time.
As I get older though, I’m realizing more and more how important it is to take care of my emotional health. And for many reasons that was because of culture. The conversation of mental health is something that is not as prevalent as it needs to be, and I believe the same is true for Emotional Health.
Many use the terms interchangeably, but being a person who has suffered with the expression of both of these issues, I can say for certain that they are quite different. It is true however, that a depletion of one can also lead to a depletion of the other.
Mental health focuses mostly on an individuals ability to aptly process the information of a certain situation, whereas emotional health speaks to the ability to express feelings based on information that is processed. Repressing one (emotional health) can certainly lead to suffering in the other (mental health).
A common misconception is that emotionally healthy person experiences positive emotions/feelings and learns to live their lives in spite of the bad stuff. I disagree! I believe, from my own experiences, that in order to be emotionally healthy you have to learn to go through the negative emotions and be okay with knowing that they are going to hurt – while simultaneously realizing that these emotions are only for a time and that they don’t determine the course of our lives.
Here are 8 healthy things I use to maintain an emotionally healthy state of being.
1. Journal – Write things down! Many of us have repressed emotions that we haven’t let out in anyway, whether it be because it was toward a boss or a parent and it would have been to our detriment at the time to just go off. Or even a friend that did something hurtful and the opportunity never presented itself to let them know how you felt. What ever the cause, storing pent of negative emotions is never something good because everything has a maximum threshold, even our emotions so its good to get them out
before they decide to come out on their own in a scene of epic proportions.
2. Gratitude – A good way to get through the bad stuff, is to remind yourself of the good. So find one thing everyday to be grateful for.
3. Cry – Crying doesn’t make you weak. Science shows that crying greatly reduces stress
and pent up emotions. I like to schedule some time in to have a good cry and it always makes me feel so much lighter and better even when I didn’t realize I wasn’t feel all that great to begin with. Click this link to learn more on the benefits of crying.
4. Date Yourself – We fall in love/get to love people by spending time with them. The same thing happens when we learn to spend time with ourselves. To enjoy your own company, you have to spend time by yourself. I’ve found that this really helps me to get in touch with who I am, the things I like and dislike, etc. Which leads me to my next tip
5. Learn to Recognize Your Emotional Triggers. – If a child
puts his hand into a flame, just because he thought it the colors looked nice, once he gets burnt he is likely to be very wary of flames in the future. This is what we need to do. Become wary of the things you know causes you to be triggered in an negative way, and be intentional about staying away from them.
6. Get a Hobby – Finding something to do that is soothing to you and that you like to do really helps to reduce stress and stimulate a sense of joy and satisfaction which are two very positive feelings.
7. Get a support system – Find at least one person, or even a group, that you trust explicitly to confide in. For me that’s my husband and my best friend. For you it might be a pastor, counselor, or even an online support group
8. Stay away from negativity. This my friends speaks for itself. Stay away from drama, and cantankerous people who will release toxicity in your space.
Live Positively Chroniclers. Love you guys ❤ ❤ ❤ !