Getting healthy involves more than eating well and exercising. Physical health is one of 4 equally important parts. The other three are your spiritual health, emotional health, and mental health.
Today, I’d like to concentrate on nurturing your emotional health. This is about your moods as well as relationships; not usually easy things to control. But, we aren’t talking about control, just improvement.
This includes stress management too. Don’t skip this. The goal isn’t to be completely stress-free. That is impossible. Stress comes in all forms, good and bad. Getting a promotion, having a birthday, going on vacation; these are all stressful. A dull life would be stress-free, and who wants that?
Being healthy in the emotional sense, requires dealing with your moods. Keeping your moods managed, so that your emotions aren’t out of balance with the situation.
Things happen every day that can knock us out of our happy mood. Sometimes those things are awfully small. When tragedy happens, it is healthy to feel sad, depressed, or furious. But, in everyday issues, you need to keep it in perspective. A good way to do that is with a regular daily emotional practice.
Here are 25 ideas to incorporate emotional management into your day. You likely do many of these things already. Try to improve by adding at least one that you aren’t regularly doing.
Make time for friends:
1. Make a coffee date with a friend.
2. Have a girls' night out.
3. Join a meet up just for fun, and to make new friends.
4. Call your friends on the phone. When you can’t see them face to face, a good old fashioned phone call is so much more personal than a text or email. And the laughter is great for your emotional health.
5. Write a note to a friend. Getting mail is rare. It will make your friend’s day. And it will do you some good to write a heartfelt note.
6. Give lots of hugs! Hug your husband, your kids, your friends, even people you don’t know too well. Its good therapy to give and get hugs.
7. Pull back from relationships that drain you.
You may have people in your life that don’t listen. They just expect you to give and give, while they unload their garbage on you. Or, they criticize you, and it isn’t constructive criticism. Maybe they don't respect your boundaries.
For your own emotional health, it may be necessary to screen their calls, and filter their email messages. I am not suggesting that you cut people out of your life. I know that is necessary for rare situations. In this case, just take back control of how long, how often, and when you interact.
Do something that relaxes you:
8. Take a bubble bath.
9. Paint your nails.
10. Get a massage.
11. Read a great book. Not to learn something, but for the love of reading.
12. Diffuse some essential oils. If you haven’t tried any, you may not realize how effective they really are. Some great ones to start with are Ylang ylang, lavender, lemon, and peppermint. They can lift your spirits, and take you out of a bad mood.
13. Pet a cat or dog. It has been shown that just petting an animal can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Pets are great therapy.
14. Take a walk. This is great for mental health as well as physical health. When you walk in a relaxed way, without the intention to break a sweat, it can clear your mind. Even if you do break a sweat, it works the same.
Do some random act of kindness:
15. Make cookies for a neighbor.
16. Give money to a stranger in need.
17. Visit someone in a nursing home.
18. Volunteer at an animal shelter.
19. Bring in your neighbor’s garbage can after trash pick up.
Play! Grown ups are too serious. Playing is great for you mental health. Try to make time for some form of play daily.
20. Play a game with other people. Not with a computer, or on the computer. Actually in person with someone..play cards, or a board game.
21. Play a sport involving others, just for fun. Tennis, golf, shooting baskets, even having a simple race can be a fun way to have some laughs.
22. Play catch with a dog.
23. Play at the playground with your kids, grandkids, niece or nephew. You can even play alone or with another adult, but you may feel silly. That’s ok! Swing, slide, or climb on the monkey bars. This is all fun and good for you.
19. Write a story. Just make something up, and let the story unfold.
20. Draw something. Even if you don’t think you are any good at drawing, leave the critic behind, and draw anything you would like to see.
Do you wish you were at the beach? Draw a beach, and include the lounge chair you want to lay on, and the book in your hands. It may not look like "art", but it will be a good exercise for your mind.
21. Make a collage. Gather some old magazines (can be purchased for a dime at a thrift store), and cut out pictures that make you smile. Pin or glue them to a board that you hang anywhere you will see it often. The creating of the collage is good medicine, but so is looking at it.
23 Sing. Combine singing with girls' night out, and you have karaoke! Don't forget to invite me!
24. Try out for a part in a local theater. I found out that in my new little town there is a open call for anyone to audition for parts in their plays. I think that is wonderful. Maybe you have a similar opportunity near you.
25. Keep a gratitude journal.
This is great for spiritual health as well as emotional health. When you are feeling grateful for big and little things, it is easy to stay off the emotional roller coaster of life. I know this is such common advice, but there is a reason for that. It really works.
Try any of these ideas, or think of some of your own. But, be sure to have emotional health time daily. We make life too hard on ourselves. We need to lighten up and enjoy this life. It is fleeting, and when you look back, you want to know it was well lived.
Leave your own ideas in the comments below. I'd love to hear them, and it may help lift someone's day.