Emotional Wellness is one of the core elements in our 8Wise™️ approach, and makes up half of our ‘foundation dimension’. As suggested by the name, the dimension creates a solid foundation for your mental health and wellbeing, allowing you to manage whatever life throws at you.
What are emotions? Well, they are energy that need to burn off. That’s why suppressing your emotions is very unhealthy and can eventually lead to an uncontrollable explosion of emotions.
Our emotions impact every part of our life. They affect our ability to do everyday activities, our relationships, mental health. They drive our thought patterns, behaviours, mood, decisions… That’s why it’s so important to develop Emotional Wellness.
Emotional Wellness allows us to adapt to stress, life changes and challenging periods. It means that we are able to manage every emotion that we experience.
So, how does Emotional Wellness connect to the other seven wellness elements? Let’s take a look…
- Our emotions create a physical response in our body. For example, if you are feeling anxious your heart rate will increase, and you might start to sweat. (Physical Wellness)
- They affect our how we see and think about ourselves (Spiritual Wellness)
- They can make us feel like we can’t do things, and trap us in our comfort zone (Intellectual Wellness)
- They can make us feel a certain way in specific places, e.g. overwhelmed or scared (Environmental Wellness)
- Emotions affect our relationships with others (Social Wellness)
- They affect our performance and satisfaction at work (Occupational Wellness)
- And they even affect how we spend our money. For example if you are sad you may buy a bottle of wine or go shopping as a coping mechanism
How can we control our emotions? Let’s look at something called the CBT Triangle (CBT standing for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).
In the triangle there are three things: Thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. They are all connected. Your thoughts create feelings, feelings create behaviours, and those behaviours reinforce thoughts.
In order to develop Emotional Wellness, we need to break this cycle by mastering the following:
- Emotional regulation
- Emotional transparency
- Combatting negative thinking
What do we mean by ‘emotional regulation’?
It’s simply balancing your emotional and rational mindset, so you can use your ‘wise’ mindset effectively. A rational mind uses facts, figures and logic and doesn’t consider emotions. On the other hand, an emotional mind is guided by feelings. It has poor logic and reasoning, is often stressed or anxious and makes reactive decisions.
The ideal mindset is a balance between the two so that we can experience mindful processes.
What is ‘emotional transparency’?
As humans, we experience so many emotions. It’s important to know exactly what emotion we’re experiencing so that we can identify the trigger and then problem solve it. It’s helpful to sit regularly with yourself and think about how you are feeling. Really try and pinpoint your emotions.
Once you have done that, think about what has happened to cause that emotion? When your emotions become tangible, you are able to understand what you’re feeling, know why and think about how you can change it, or prepare yourself for similar experiences in the future.
How can you combat a negative thought cycle?
Our thought cycles are made up of: Thoughts, feelings, behaviours. So which of these can we change? We can alter our thinking with time and practice, by challenging it.
Let’s look at an example…
Thought: Social events make me anxious so I can’t go to the party tomorrow
Feeling: Rapid heart rate, breathlessness, sweating
Behaviour: Avoid the situation and don’t go to the party
This behaviour then reinforces the thought that you can’t go to social events.
We need to challenge the thought to change the cycle into a positive one. Once we change the initial thinking stage, the rest will naturally change with it.
In this situation:
Thought: I’m looking forward to the party, I will have fun
Feeling: Relaxed and willing to do things
Behaviour: Go to the party and have a good time
If you’re thinking that achieving Emotional Wellness seems difficult and that it will take a long time – don’t worry! Because it’s connected to everything we do, it naturally improves when you start to look at the other 8Wise elements.
For example, if you start exercising more or making sure you’re drinking eight glasses of water a day, you’re automatically going to start feeling better emotionally.
Nothing happens overnight, and wellness is a journey. Make sure you’re showing up for yourself every day!
For more information about Emotional Wellness and our other wellness elements, be sure to check out our online store which includes our book and wellness journals.