– By Alison Kennedy Hand, MS, Wellness Director, Florida Presbyterian Homes
With the start of the new year, I wanted to share some information about the importance of emotional wellness. You may ask what “Emotional Wellness” is all about. It can be defined as one’s ability to handle the stresses of life, to adapt to change, and to successfully cope in difficult times. A few ways to seek emotional wellness are to learn how to manage stress, accept support from others, accept your mistakes, be positive, seek balance in your life, and understand life is all about change. Sounds easy? Sometimes it’s not as easy as it sounds.
I had the opportunity to speak with a mental health professional here in Lakeland to better understand emotional wellness. I learned that how you feel can affect your ability to carry out everyday activities, such as relationships and overall mental health. I also found out that how you react to your experiences and feelings can change over time.
Let’s look a little closer into emotional wellness with these helpful answers to my questions:
- How is emotional wellness defined?
- Being emotionally well or stable suggests that one has an awareness of his/her feelings — good or bad. The individual manages these emotions so that they are understood as a message, something within or without, that is manifesting this feeling. One who is emotionally well can process feelings with others and admit to difficult feelings. Managing feelings appropriately means others in the environment are not harmed or hurt by those feelings.
- Why is it important for an individual to have emotional wellness?
- The individual can be at peace. And, with that peace, the world can be at peace.
- Are Americans doing a good job being emotionally healthy? Why or Why not?
- At this time in our nation, we have observed those who are not managing their feelings well. It’s concerning that our children and grandchildren are watching adults demonstrate immature responses to their feelings. We need better role models for the healthy communication of feelings.
- What can an individual do to have or maintain good emotional health?
- Daily self-examination, daily self-forgiveness and asking forgiveness of others, practicing self care and doing the hard personal work of finding healthy ways of being on your own and with others.
- What does wellness mean to you?
- Living a life of self-discipline that impacts mind, heart, body and spirit. Choosing habits that affect these aspects of oneself.
In closing, it’s important to realize that emotional wellness is part of the greater challenge of being healthy as a whole. Emotions should not be overlooked or considered meaningless. We need to acknowledge the importance of our emotions and to understand the role emotions play in our overall health and well-being.
Source: Lakeland community professional and NIH.gov