Life is a series of challenges, and improving your emotional health can be one of the biggest. Your emotional health determines your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. It also affects your ability to cope with stress and responsibilities, grow healthy relationships and recover from disappointment. For better emotional health, consider utilizing these strategies in your daily routine.
1. Get enough sleep.
Going to bed and waking up on a regular schedule contributes to developing a healthy sleeping pattern. A good sleeping pattern helps you sleep the required number of hours to feel rested and refreshed. Experts recommend that an adult sleeps seven to nine hours each sleep session.1
2. Practice mindfulness.
Your emotional health can be greatly improved by practicing mindfulness on a regular basis through meditation. Mindfulness meditation focuses attention on your breathing to develop increased awareness of the present moment. Practicing mindfulness has been shown to lead to better emotional health because it can change emotions, reduce anxiety, relieve depression and reduce chronic pain.2
3. Maintain supportive relationships.
Healthy relationships with friends and family are crucially important for better emotional health. When you openly share your feelings and thoughts with those you trust, you gain different perspectives and won’t feel emotionally isolated. Also, having someone to turn to in times of hardship or crisis is invaluable for getting feedback and possible solutions.
4. Let go of grudges.
Holding on to grudges can harm your emotional health when you stew and get angry over past hurts. Reliving and thinking about past wrongs won’t change what happened. Take the positive from the experience, like how to prevent it from happening again, and spend your time on more rewarding endeavors.3
5. Eat well.
A healthy brain is a well-fed brain, so be sure to eat a nutritious and balanced diet.4 A diet low in sugar and carbohydrates and rich in healthy fats and protein is good for the brain and body.
6. Exercise regularly.
Regular exercise improves your mental fitness by releasing brain chemicals like dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. Dopamine gives feelings of pleasure, norepinephrine reduces stress-induced hormones and serotonin has antidepressant properties.
7. Find purpose and meaning in your life.
Purpose and meaning in life can mean different things to different people, but on a basic level, it’s being involved in activities that benefit you and others. Whatever you choose to do, it should make you feel needed and good about yourself and motivate you to keep going. These are all good indications you’ve chosen a purposeful and meaningful activity.
8. Live in the moment.
The only time we really have is the present moment. Living in the past won’t change it, and the future is difficult to predict. Enjoy what’s going on around you by savoring and appreciating the present moment.
If you’ve made consistent efforts to improve your emotional health and still feel you’re not operating at your best, it may be time to seek help from a licensed mental health counselor. It’s important to still work at it on your own, but feedback from a professional may motivate you to do more for yourself than you’re able to do on your own.