How To Improve Emotional Wellness?: The Science Behind Our Tears
Emotions. They are quick and unplanned. Easily triggered natural responses to the things that take place in our everyday lives. We are able to identify our emotions, whether we feel anger or sadness or happiness, as easily as a visually-able individual can see color. Nonetheless, we still tend to underestimate the effect our emotional reactions may have on us, specifically those emotions classified as negative emotions. There have been many studies conducted that have further proved the correlation between positive emotions and the decrease in the likelihood of deterioration of one’s physical health and emotional wellness.
It seems a bit far-fetched that the way we think and perceive ourselves, as well as our approach to our daily activities, may help us live longer and healthier lives, but it is worth a try. The nature of humans is to simply assume that, that which afflicts us physically is usually directly related to our external physical environments, and as such, we tend to remedy these afflictions as they come by then using physical solutions.
Often in our quest to heal ourselves of the constant headaches and the recurring chest pains, we get angry at the fact that they won’t leave and never seem to realize the problem may have begun with the stress we place on our bodies and brains when we express negative emotions in excess.
The definition of emotional wellness over the years has been varied and has taken into consideration, with each revised definition, those aspects of emotional health that had previously been ignored. Emotional health is a state of positive psychological functioning. It can be thought of as an extension of mental health; it’s the “optimal functioning” end of the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that make up both our inner and outer worlds. It includes an overall experience of wellness in what we think, feel, and do, through both the highs and lows of life.
Our journey through life should be one in which we constantly aim to achieve a state of holistic well-being guided by the mentality that we will be okay despite the odds we face. This is the foundation of emotional wellness and it gives way to the idea that the way that we react to all situations, good or bad, has a lasting impact on the outcomes of the physical situations we endure, specifically as it relates to the preservation of our health.
Over the years, various studies have shown the impact our emotions have on us as individuals and the weight that they carry in the process of maintaining our physical and mental health. While we are constantly encouraged to emanate happiness and joy despite the situation at hand, it is important that we also understand that the battle of emotions is one that requires balance and equality much like most things in our lives.
Though positive emotions are known to naturally make us feel good, research has shown that they may also improve our attentional capacity, while experiencing negative emotions may reduce it. It stated that positive emotions broaden our scope of attention and thought-action urges, allowing us to make more informed decisions as well as providing better coping mechanisms to tackle adverse and stressful situations, as already discussed.
Negative emotions also will most likely aid in our ongoing survival. Bad feelings can be vital clues that a health issue, relationship, or other important matter needs attention. Findings from a 2010 study suggest that pushing back negative emotions could spawn more emotional overeating than simply recognizing that you were, say, upset, agitated, or blue.
Your body responds to the way you think, feel, and act. This is one type of mind/body connection. When you are stressed, anxious, or upset, your body reacts in a way that might tell you that something isn’t right. For example, you might develop high blood pressure or a stomach ulcer after a particularly stressful event, such as the death of a loved one.
Keeping Your Emotions In Check To Improve Emotional Wellness
At the end of the day, it all comes down to preserving your mental health and allowing yourself to understand the implications and the benefits of negative and positive emotional reactions. The onus lands on us to ensure that we are emotionally prepared to face whatever may come our way without going overboard (something I am guilty of when it comes to most situations). The message here remains “Good emotional health is a key contributor to the maintenance of good physical health. So how do we monitor the emotions that come naturally?”
Here are a few ways how to improve emotional wellness
- Stay Positive: I know. It sounds crazy and of course, we can’t be expected to be Positive Penny at all times, but never forget that many situations don’t require a negative emotional response. We are wired to get upset when small things don’t go our way, but weighing the difference between the feeling you’d get after a negative response versus the feeling that a positive response would elicit, should help us to better select how we react to a particular situation. I mean, after all, is it even worth it?
- Express yourself: If you are like me, you probably dread talking about emotions and feelings and all that good stuff, but do note that sometimes it may be a breath of fresh air to let all the pent-up emotions out. Talk to friends, family, or write about it. Express why you feel anger, fear, sadness, and the like while working with the ones you love to fix the things that make you feel this way.
- Increase self-awareness: We know how hard it is to talk to others about how you feel, but the questions we need to ask ourselves are “How do I really feel about this?” “Why is it making me sad?” “Why am I angry at him/her/them?” Being aware of the thought processes and the feelings you face are a starting point to fully understanding your emotions and how to control them.
- Don’t suppress your emotions: Learning how to take care of your emotional health does not mean you must suppress the things you feel. Venting is good. Let it out, breathe a bit easier, and relax.
Negative emotions, positive emotions, and even neutral ones fall under a spectrum of the many things we endure on our journeys. We must be mindful of these emotions and create for ourselves an atmosphere of understanding that allows us to embrace and cope with the feelings as they come. It is okay to not want to smile all the time when we are upset and it’s also okay to cry when we are down. Be mindful, be positive, and never forget to be expressive and truthful about the emotions you experience daily.
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