So far in our wellness series, we’ve discussed the social and spiritual dimensions. These two interact closely with one another. Our social connections often support our spiritual health by providing us with a feeling of belonging and purpose. Both individually, and combined, they can affect our overall health by influencing our behaviors, actions, and physical being. If you didn’t get to read these QuickReads, you can still catch them on our website!
These two dimensions also closely interact with this week’s featured dimension… emotional. Emotional wellness is the ability to successfully cope with life’s stresses, understand them, and react appropriately. During the times of COVID-19, life’s stresses are popping up left and right, and in all sorts of shapes and forms… like you haven’t noticed. These negative emotions such as stress, anxiety, depression, and anger can actually be related to various diseases including heart disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and even things like the common cold; mostly in the long term, of course. Negative emotions can weaken our immune systems by creating a chronic build up of stress hormones, negatively affecting our sleep, and likely changing our diet and exercise habits. On the flip side, positive emotions appear to promote health related to hormone production and immune function. They can also lead to improved life outlook, optimism, and healthier life habits.
Alright, so it sounds like we just need to avoid all negative emotions, right?? Of course, this isn’t possible, and suppressing emotions has actually been found to cause things like increased blood pressure, poor behaviors such as substance abuse, and mental health difficulties such as panic disorder. And again, on the contrary, disclosing our emotions to those we trust (through our SOCIAL DIMENSION) can provide better adjustments to emotional situations and lead to improved immune function, improved mental health, and improved perception of health.
Aside from the physical implications, emotional wellness inspires self-care, relaxation, and the development of inner strength. This can lead to better autonomy, and proper decision-making skills; as well as feeling your life has become better balanced, with a developed sense of awareness and strong social connections – AKA social and spiritual wellness.
During these times, when you’re likely feeling a million different emotions that change on the daily, it’s ultra-important to be able to understand and properly respond.
Some strategies that may help to support your emotional wellness include:
If you feel stress is your biggest emotion right now, you may want to focus on things to boost your resilience:
If sleep seems to be an issue:
And finally, be mindful and completely aware of what’s happening in the present:
For many, and especially in the American culture, coping with our emotions can be tough. And when something is difficult or uncomfortable, it may be easier to avoid it all together. However, having poor emotional health can be harmful to our wellness, as we hope you’ve learned here! If you’re feeling like the Corona Pandemic has taken a toll on your emotions (you’re not alone) then maybe give the above strategies a try! And even if you feel you cope with your emotions well, it never hurts to tune in and take a close look at how you’re doing!
As always, thank you for accompanying us as we tackle the eight dimensions of wellness! Please share with those who matter most to you and subscribe if you haven’t already! Looking forward to next week as we talk Environmental Wellness!
Elle and Taylor