Our emotions play an incredibly important role in our wellbeing. Here, we will explore the concept of emotional health in more detail, including why it’s important, how it compares to mental health, and the things you can do in your day-to-day life to look after your emotional health and wellbeing.
What is emotional health?
Emotional health refers to our ability to recognise and positively manage our emotions. It centres on how we think and feel, how we cope under pressure, and our ability to identify emotions in ourselves and other people.
Having good emotional health doesn’t mean you’re happy all the time, or never experience negative emotions. Rather, it means that you have the skills to manage and express your emotions in a healthy way. This means that you’re better able to be resilient, and cope with the ups and downs of life.
Good emotional health also brings greater awareness of the way you’re feeling, helping you to recognise when you might need some extra support.
Emotional health vs mental health
The terms ‘mental health’ and ‘emotional health’ are often used interchangeably. While there is some overlap between the two, there are also some fundamental differences. The diagram below highlights the relationship between emotional health and mental health.
Why is emotional health important?
Emotional wellbeing is important for a number of reasons. It can help us to:
- Improve our physical health – there is lots of research, like this study in the British Medical Journal, that shows clear links between emotional health and our physical health. For example, it’s been shown that emotional distress can have a negative impact on our immune system. Also, if you’re struggling to cope with your emotions, you’re more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviours to help you to manage, such as smoking, drinking and taking drugs, all of which have health consequences
- Foster healthy relationships – good emotional health puts us in a better position to connect with other people. It means we’re able to show compassion and empathy, and deal with conflict in a healthier and balanced way
- Develop greater self-esteem – our thoughts and emotions can influence the way we feel about ourselves. Good emotional wellbeing helps us to recognise our strengths, even during difficult times, helping us to view ourselves more positively
- Have more energy and a positive outlook on life – good emotional regulation helps us to think and function more clearly, instead of becoming depleted and exhausted due to poor emotional health. This helps us to feel energised and more positive on a daily basis
How to look after your emotional health and wellbeing
There are a number of things you can factor into your daily life, to continue building upon and improving your emotional wellbeing.
- Look after yourself physically, as this can help you to feel better emotionally. Try and do some exercise every day, get out in the fresh air, eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water and try and get enough sleep. Find out more about the benefits of exercise and the benefits of nature for our emotional wellbeing
- Practise coping techniques to enhance your emotional health. You could try things like meditating, breathing exercises, mindfulness and yoga. Doing things that help you to slow down, re-focus and notice your emotions, can help you to stay emotionally well
- Nurturing connections with loved ones can do wonders for your emotional health. Spending time with family and friends can help to lift your mood if you’re ever feeling down, and generally make you feel more content and positive
- Get support if you need it. If you ever feel as though your emotions are taking over and having a negative impact on your life, it’s important that you reach out for support. While the above tips can help, sometimes it can be useful to talk to a trained therapist about how you’re feeling
Remember, the goal of improving your emotional health isn’t about trying to be in a good mood all the time. It’s about being better equipped to deal with all moods, whenever they arise. At Priory, our expert therapists can work with you to improve your resilience and emotional health, helping you to get back on track. Call today to find out more.
For details of how Priory can provide you with assistance regarding mental health and wellbeing, please call 0330 056 6020 or submit an online enquiry form here.