Maintaining emotional health through life’s curve balls

Our emotional health is an integral part of an overall healthy lifestyle and sense of wellbeing. Maintaining good emotional health is just as important as keeping healthy mentally and physically. 

Emotional health is all about how we regulate our emotions and build resilience when life sends us curve balls – a little bit like the bombardment of curve balls coming at us in 2020. Good emotional health does not mean you have to be happy and joyful all the time.

Christmas decorations with emotional dimension of wellness

Emotionally healthy people still experience a myriad of emotions such as stress, anger, fear and sadness however, they can generally regulate their emotions and process or express them in a healthy way.

There is not doubt, 2020 has been a huge year in different ways for everyone and if you are like most people, you’re doing your best to keep your head up, be positive and kind. Being kind to ourselves is equally important and is called self compassion. While this may sound fluffy – it isn’t and offers a scientifically proven way to help us shift our perspective. Self compassion involves accepting our situation as it is and ourselves as we are.

While connection with others including our nearest and dearest is vital, so to are boundaries.

Traditions are also important.

Traditions contribute to a sense of comfort and belonging which we all need as humans. I recently read this quote: 

We don't have to continue holiday traditions that leave us broke, overwhelmed and tired.

Rachel Jonat

Wise words! It’s OK to say no and turn down an invitation, or as Brené Brown says  “Daring to set boundaries is about the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.”  

Perhaps it’s about creating new traditions this year – do what feels right for you.  

Research by Dr Barbara Fredrickson in her book Positivity, explains how experiencing three positive emotions to one negative leads people to achieve optimal levels of wellbeing and resilience. Most have a two to one ratio. Being aware of and in control of our thinking process and self-talk is priceless right now.

Here are some ideas to boost the feel good factor and your positive emotions:

  • Do something for someone else – a random act of kindness, it’s amazing how this lifts your spirits.
  • Pay someone a compliment – maybe a stranger in the supermarket whose dress you love, you’ll both feel amazing!
  • Give genuine positive feedback frequently.
  • Have fun and laugh, lighten up with humour. Watch a funny movie or a cat video if that’s your thing. Spend time with those you love to be around, who energise you and appreciate you for who you are.
  • Do something you love doing. That’s when time seems to disappear as you’re so engrossed in the moment. Get more of these moments in your day.
  • Try a detox from social media over the break and get back to basics for a day or two.
  • Remember to breathe slowly and deeply, as that takes us out of fight and flight and into rest and digest. 

And most importantly, EnJOY the moment – that’s why it’s called the PRESENT!

If you believe that you are becoming uncharacteristically negative and pessimistic, do reach out for help. Early assistance works best so seek out professional help. 

If you feel you or someone else is at risk or harm, phone 111

Or if you need to talk to someone else: Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor.

Lifeline

0800 543 354 or (09) 522 2999

Free text 4357 (HELP)

Youthline

0800 376 633

Samaritans

0800 726 666

Read more about the range of conditions at the New Zealand Mental Health Foundation’s website

 

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