You may have heard people talking about mental and emotional health as if it is one thing. But in fact, they are two completely different conditions, and they have different meanings.
Let’s look at what each one is:
- Mental health you hear about regularly – mental wellness is what influences your actions and thoughts, and it covers your wellbeing, whether it is social, psychological, or emotional.
- Emotional health is when you have awareness of your emotions – it is how you express your feelings appropriate to your age.
Nearly half of Americans reported that the coronavirus was harming their mental and emotional health – this is according to the Kaiser Family Foundation poll.
And one federal emergency hotline for people that were under severe emotional distress registered in May this year was roughly around 20,000 people who had texted in to the hotline.
Here are some tips on how to manage mental and emotional health for general wellbeing:
1. Identify the sources of stress in your life: Try and identify the sources of stress; look at your attitude, habits, and excuses, because until you accept responsibility for your role in creating and maintaining your stress, it will just stay out of your control.
2. Practice the 4 A’s of stress management: Alter-Avoid-Accept-Adapt. If you can’t avoid stressful situations, remember the A’s like this:
- Avoid the situation: That means planning and rearranging your surroundings so you can reap the benefits of lighter loads.
- Alter the situation: This might change the way you communicate and operate your daily life.
- Adapt to the situation: Often, major stress happens when you think you can’t cope. Adapting involves changing your expectations or standards – really beneficial in dealing with stress.
- Accept the situation: Maybe it’s time to accept the things you can’t change.
The Impacts Of Mental And Emotional Health
Stress is something everyone experiences. For some, it can be very unpleasant. Remember, stress is not classified as an illness, but it does interfere with emotional and mental health and wellness, which leads to illness. Health conditions caused by mental and emotional health include depression, anxiety, psychosis, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Mental and emotional health can affect you in different ways; physically, emotionally, cognitively, and behaviourally.
Stress that affects your emotional health will make you moody and irritable. You won’t be able to relax and wind down. Feelings of isolation could arise, and this could develop into depression and feelings of loneliness.
A stressed person might experience diarrhea or constipation or experience a variety of aches and pains, even chest pain. He or she might have an anxiety attack, accompanied by dizziness and nausea. The pain would probably be felt in the neck and shoulders, with accompanying lower back pain, and unexplained muscle aches. All these can release chemicals into the bloodstream to promote inflammation.
Stress can affect your mental wellness, the way you reason, react, think, and respond to situations and lead to sleeping problems. You battle to concentrate, not being able to process your thoughts properly. Your performance at work and home usually suffers.
People suffering from stress will often pick up physical and behavioural habits, like biting their nails, nervous tics, pacing up and down, or eating wrong foods without even thinking about the consequences – which results in changes in weight.
It is known that stress is an important factor in a long list of illnesses, which ranges from minor health problems such as skin rashes or eczema to some life-threatening diseases like cancer and heart disease. These are usually the effects after a long period of time, but acute stressful events can lead to strokes and heart attacks.
Ways To Improve Mental And Emotional Health
Well, look what the ‘family doctor’ online says – look at these ways to improve mental health:
1. Be aware of your reactions and emotions
Take note of what makes you sad, angry, or frustrated and try and address them.
2. Express your feelings in appropriate ways
Let those in your loop know what is bothering you because holding back sadness and anger inside adds to stress and causes problems in relationships, which add to the stress.
3. Think before you act
Don’t act on a whim; become calm first before you regret what you said or did.
4. Manage stress
Learn to relax so you can cope with stress – things like exercise, meditation, and deep breathing are good.
5. Strive for balance
Get the balance right between work and play, activity, and rest. Make time to enjoy things.
6. Don’t forget your physical health
That means sleep, exercise, and eating well. Don’t abuse alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs – they come back to harm and interfere with your emotions.
7. Connect with others
Positive connections are beneficial because they can often get you back on track, emotionally, and mentally. And that, in turn, helps you to find purpose and meaning in your life. You will also completely enjoy the benefits of good mental health.
8. Stay positive as much as you can
Focusing on the good things and forgiving others – don’t move amongst toxic people, but spend time with healthy and positive people.
Mental and Emotional Advantages of Physical Activity
Being active keeps you busier and away from the problems. Did you know that exercise helps your mental and emotional health? Here are a few good things you need to know:
- It reduces stress.
- It improves mental wellness.
- It will help you sleep better.
- You will feel happier and more relaxed – that means you reap the benefits of good mental health and gain confidence, especially if you see your body looking so good and healthy.
- It increases cognitive function because exercise acts on the hippocampus – improving that part of the brain.
- Exercise has been shown to be good at showing you the benefits of good mental health and better at reducing anxiety than a bubble bath; it’s like having a Swedish massage.
- You’ll be more energized because exercise helps our blood to flow and that carries the nutrients and oxygen to the muscles.
- You will be able to develop and strengthen interpersonal relationships because you feel motivated by doing something with someone else, especially with people who share the same interests.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Talk about your feelings
- Keep active
- Eat well
- Drink sensibly
- Keep in touch
- Ask for help
- Take a break
- Do something you’re good at
- Accept who you are
- Caring for others; i.e. people and animals
Evidence proves that physical exercise is highly effective in helping mental wellness. Try aerobic activities like jogging, swimming, cycling, walking, and dancing – all these have been found to reduce depression, anxiety and stress.
Many things, such as anxiety, guilt, depression, poor body image, stress, and major changes in your life affect emotional health.
There isn’t any sure way of doing it, but if you have been diagnosed with mental health issues, you need to take steps to control it, so your resilience and low self-esteem are boosted – it can help to keep the symptoms under control.
Strong emotional and mental health helps you weather the storms of life. Yes, you certainly can manage your mental and emotional health and wellbeing with very positive methods.
Did you know already, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, that the federal agencies were already warning that a wave of mental health problems was building up, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, and worst of all, suicide?
There are family, friends, and colleagues who no doubt understands what you are going through and that there are ways to improve mental health. But you do need to deal with it. If you just can’t seem to get on top of feeling worried, isolated, guilty, scared, anxious, or sad, you could be showing the early signs of depression.
Don’t feel ashamed at all to contact your doctor, who will assist you with helpful medications and even a counselor that you can talk things through with.
The NHI (National Health Institute) understands exactly where you are coming from, and they have a whole list of contact numbers and programs that you can also read up about and come into contact with – there is help. Don’t delay about it because life is short and there is so much out there waiting for you – because ‘how you spend your days, is of course, how you spend your life’ – Annie Dillard.