Practicing these healthy habits can help you feel better. For example, exercising daily can help improve your mood and reduce stress and anxiety.
It also helps to practice being mindful, which involves recognizing negative thoughts and turning them around. This is known as cognitive reappraisal. For example, someone who has social anxiety may acknowledge their fear of attending a dinner and decide to see it as an opportunity to enjoy good food with friends.
1. Take Care of Yourself
Emotional well-being includes having a positive outlook, healthy self-esteem and the ability to cope with life’s challenges and changes. Healthy emotional wellness also consists of effective strategies to manage stress and emotions.
This could include slowing down, thinking before acting, and making goal-directed choices. It also includes reframing negative thoughts and feelings, for example by seeing a fear of socializing as an opportunity to enjoy food with friends.
Exercising can help improve emotional wellbeing by triggering the release of feel-good chemicals. It can be challenging to prioritize exercise during times of stress or depression, but establishing an effective routine can improve mood and reduce anxiety symptoms.
The best way to get started is by scheduling moderate physical activity for 15 or 30 minutes on most days. Start small and work up to more intense exercises.
3. Spend Time in Nature
The latest research in the rapidly growing field of ecotherapy shows that time spent outdoors — whether walking through the forest or enjoying a park or other green space — reduces blood pressure, promotes calm and boosts self-esteem.
Unfortunately, socio-economic barriers can keep many people from accessing nature and reaping the benefits. The best way to ensure that you receive these benefits is to spend two hours a week in nature, either all at one time or over several visits.
4. Talk to Someone
Talking to someone can be a good way to improve your emotional well-being. It helps to build relationships with friends and family, or even people you see on a daily basis like colleagues or service staff.
Putting your feelings into words can decrease the amygdala’s response and help you to process them better. If you need more help, consider talking therapy with a licensed therapist.
5. Take a Break
Research shows that taking breaks can reduce stress and improve productivity.1 Even micro-breaks, such as walking around the office or talking to a colleague, can be beneficial.
When it comes to relationships, break time can be a necessary tool for overcoming deadlocks and rediscovering what’s important to you and your partner. But it’s vital that you and your partner establish clear boundaries before embarking on a break.
6. Practice Self-Care Techniques
Regardless of material wealth or life circumstances, everyone can benefit from being in touch with their emotions. Try verbalizing your feelings out loud to someone else — research shows it decreases activity in the brain’s stress response.
Practice emotional self-care through journaling and therapy, says Dr. Shaw. Also, choose to spend time with “radiators” who encourage you instead of drains who sap your energy.
7. Take a Break from Social Media
Many studies have linked social media use with negative emotions, including depression and anxiety. According to Express VPN, taking a break from social media can improve mental health.
Social media breaks can range from a few hours to several weeks. Try disabling your notifications or using an app to track how much time you spend on social media. Then, replace those hours with other activities that benefit your mental wellbeing.
8. Take a Breath
Researchers have found that controlled breathing can be a natural remedy for stress and anxiety. It is a simple yet effective technique that can be done anywhere, and doesn’t have any negative side effects.
Rather than shallow, rapid breaths that often accompany emotional distress, deep breathing involves inflating the belly and chest as you breathe. Practicing this technique can help improve mood by activating the parasympathetic nervous system.
Meditation has a long history of helping to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. It also decreases levels of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines.
Try a basic mindfulness meditation technique, such as sitting quietly and focusing on your breath. Notice subtle body sensations (itches, tingling, etc) and allow thoughts to come and go without judgment. You can also practice noticing the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches around you.
10. Take a Break
Having good emotional health means understanding and managing your emotions. This allows you to experience your feelings without becoming stalled within them. fMRI research shows that simply working to put your emotions into words quiets the brain’s emotional reactivity.
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