Emotional well-being encompasses how you feel about yourself, your ability to successfully manage your feelings as you deal with life's challenges, and the quality of your relationships. Being emotionally balanced can contributes greatly to your overall mental and physical health.
Signs of Emotional Health
Being emotionally healthy is more than simply being free from depression, anxiety, or other psychological issues; it also refers to the presence of positive characteristics, including:
- The ability to adapt to change
- A sense of purpose
- A feeling of completeness and contentment
- The ability to create fulfilling relationships
- A feeling of self-confidence and positive self-esteem
- The ability to have fun and enjoy yourself
- Resiliency in the face of difficulties
Impact on Physical Health
Your mental and emotional state can have significant impact on how your body reacts physically (as demonstrated by the "fight or flight" response that is triggered by a perceived threat). Therefore, where you are at emotionally can have deep effects on your overall physical health. This phenomenon — sometimes called the "mind/body connection" — can be particularly acute when you are anxious or upset. Experiencing extreme or continued emotional stress, for example, might trigger a physical response — or cascade of responses — that could lead to the development of high blood pressure, stomach problems, or trouble sleeping, for example.
While the following symptoms can indicate the presence of other serious illnesses (and as such should be discussed with your health care provider), they can also be signs that your emotional health is out of balance:
- Back pain
- Change in appetite
- Chest pain
- Digestive issues
- Dry mouth
- Heart Palpitations
- Sexual problems
- Sleep issues
- Weight change
When to Seek Professional Help
If you continue to suffer from the effects of emotional distress and feel overwhelmed by it, you should contact a professional. Here are some red flags to look out for:
- Inability to sleep
- Feeling down, hopeless, or helpless most of the time
- Problems with your ability to concentrate that are interfering with your work or home life
- Using alcohol, drugs, food, or tobacco to cope with difficult emotions
- Negative or self-destructive thoughts or fears that you can't control*
- Thoughts of death or suicide*
Everyone is different; not all approaches to achieving emotional balance will be equally as beneficial to all people. Some people may enjoy relaxing and slowing down, while others need more activity and stimulation to feel better. The important thing is to find an approach and activities that you enjoy and that bring you emotional balance and relief.
Some people may need someone qualified to provide them with the necessary tools and guide them in the right direction, so don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional, when you feel like you could use some help.
Having emotional health is well worth a little extra effort. The sidebar, “5 Ways to Improve Your Emotional Well-Being,” is an interactive piece you can use to get some great ideas for improving your emotional balance. A healthy emotional life can be a real treasure.