Your Journey to Emotional Wellness – 5 KEY STEPS YOU MUST TAKE NOW!

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.  These persons have an appreciation, sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

~Elizabeth Kubler Ross

Our mental/emotional state impacts EVERYTHING we do, so it is critically important to make our mental health a priority.  May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and this is a great time to take inventory of your emotional health!  If you find yourself in need of an emotional tune-up, here are 5 key things that may help you get back on the road to emotional wellness (these five steps have also personally helped me in my journey):

1. ACKNOWLEDGE, ACKNOWLEDGE, ACKNOWLEDGE

No matter what they are, acknowledgement of our TRUE feelings is so critically important.  When we suppress or ignore our true feelings, they can build up, and over time, these bottled up emotions can wreck havoc in our lives (believe me, I KNOW)!  Telling ourselves that “everything is fine” is not always the best solution.  For example, leading up to my breakdown, (and even after I was discharged from the hospital), I remember telling my family, “I’m fine” and “I’m okay.”  Yet in reality, I failed to acknowledge and truly accept that I needed to slow down and that I was depressed; I rationalized & dismissed the symptoms I was having, and because I was technically still “functioning” at work and successful at school, in my mind, there couldn’t possibly be anything really wrong with ME.  My journey to emotional wellness did not begin until I acknowledged my feelings and what I was experiencing.  Only then could I begin making the changes I needed.

 2. SHARE YOUR STORIES

Opening up and being vulnerable about our experiences and the challenges we face can truly bring about significant emotional/mental healing.  This certainly is NOT always the easiest thing to do, especially when we are frequently conditioned to share all the positive, wonderful, and happy things that are happening in our life.  However, “emotional purging” or sharing our vulnerabilities is also a critical component of staying emotionally/mentally well.  While it did take time to bring me to the point of opening up, I personally have experienced considerable healing, release, and freedom from sharing my story.  It has truly opened doors and allowed me to connect with others in a way that I might not have otherwise.  While you may not necessarily be comfortable sharing with the world, I would encourage you to find ONE person with whom you can truly open up and get real with what you may be experiencing. Remember that one person could be a therapist.

 3. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS – DON’T IGNORE RED FLAGS!

Just as acknowledging HOW & WHAT we are feeling is important, it is equally essential to pay attention to what may be causing us to feel a certain way and monitor our mental/emotional state on an ongoing basis.  Keeping a journal may help; I have found journaling to be a very effective way to track how I’m doing.  Additionally, be careful not to minimize physical signs (e.g. headaches, fatigue, and insomnia); physical manifestations of stress can often times be a red flag that we are setting ourselves up for a mental/emotional (and physical) breakdown.

 4. GET SOME SLEEP

Most people who don’t get enough sleep don’t recognize the toll that it takes on their cognitive and mental health.  There is a well-established connection between lack of sleep and mental and physical health.  Lack of sleep can cause irritability, anger and lessens our ability to cope with stress.  Additionally, when we are tired, we often establish other poor health habits such as not exercising and eating unhealthy foods.   Establishing a healthy sleep regimen in an absolute MUST for optimal mental/emotional wellness. 

 5. GET MOVING!

We hear this over and over again, but trust me when I tell you that exercise can really give you an emotional boost!  At a bare minimum, I do 30 minutes of cardio 4-5 times a week; if I miss more than a couple of days, I can tell a significant difference in how I feel.  In the same way I schedule my business appointments, I have found scheduling “exercise appointments” to be an effective way to maintain a regular exercise routine. Find whatever works for you, but the key is to JUST DO IT! 

 

My Mental Helath Day Thanks:
Tanya Douglas-Holland, MD
DO LESS. BE MORE. LIVE WELL
www.drtanyadouglasholland.com

One Response to “Your Journey to Emotional Wellness – 5 KEY STEPS YOU MUST TAKE NOW!”

  1. Autumn orme says:

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. Your tips and determination to share them with others who may be struggling is truly inspirational.

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