We begin our adventure as emotional beings as soon as we are born. Our experience through the dynamic breadth of feelings is with us until the day we depart the earth.
The secret to a life of EMOTIONAL ILL-HEALTH OR A LIFE FULL OF EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING, is directly related to how well we handle the full breadth of our own emotions.
This is about understanding emotions, NOT about becoming emotional!
Many people are adept at navigating their emotions to enhance their performance every single day. Whether that be accepting challenges as opportunities to learn and grow, or allowing themselves moments to pull back, recover, recuperate and recharge their own emotional battery.
However, there are also many people who are in constant daily struggle to find a way through the difficulties. They are wrestling with every sensation, feeling, or emotion that comes up for them. They feel guilty, overwhelmed, anxious, uncertain or even betrayed. These people will experience emotional distress. They are likely to experience chronic illnesses linked to this distress. They may experience a lack of sleep on a regular basis, extreme feelings e.g. intense anger rather than mere frustration. Life will be difficult, exhausting and overwhelming.
The potential for emotional distress is around every corner. An individual who engages in a healthy emotional lifestyle will be better able to handle stress, adversity, rejection, failure, setbacks, and tension.
The aim is to live life in an Emotionally Healthy state!
What is emotional health?
This is when we are able to manage our own emotions, respond in appropriate ways, and have the ability to self-regulate (not have the high highs or the low lows). We are emotionally healthy when we are ‘able to handle your emotions in such a way that enhances our quality of life’ (Claude Steiner, 1979).
The emotionally healthy person will still feel, or sense, or experience the full breadth of their emotions depending on what is happening in their life, but they will not allow them to dictate how they live out their day, week, month, or year, AND, they will be able to label the emotions, acknowledge them, and shift through the emotions with knowing and understanding.
What Are The Characteristics Of An Emotionally Healthy Individual?
- Self-awareness: an emotionally healthy individual is able to recognise their emotions as they arise. They will be able to sense any sudden changes in feelings, navigate distress and be present and aware of their fluctuations of emotions, self-talk and feelings.
- Self-acceptance: emotionally healthy people accept themselves for who they are, what is happening in their lives and are able to better handle adversity. The ability to accept things ‘as-is’ is a skill they have learnt and apply whenever needed to move through the situation.
- Self-compassion: the ability to have respect for the whole self is important. Caring and valuing one’s whole self, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually is practiced. Allowing ‘self’ to push when required and pull-back when required is a skill that is implemented regularly.
- Emotional agility: having the ability to remain open, curious and thrive through challenging times is a sure sign of the emotional healthy individual. They will ask themselves ‘what can I learn from this moment?’ Setbacks and adversity are opportunities rather than obstacles.
- Living with purpose: this allows the emotionally healthy individual to view meaning beyond themselves, living with a bigger purpose than their own ego, or achievements. They are able to focus on living with the sense of serving others and contributing to humanity.
When we are able to recognise and identify emotions as just being feedback or data, then we can experience the full breadth of emotions and live a full life of emotional well-being.