Charlotte Collins is a psychotherapist based in Nanyuki, Kenya working with BATUK families, individuals and children experiencing challenges with their emotional wellbeing. She also provides military families with workshops to raise awareness on mental health. Here, she offers some of her expertise to Army&You readers for World Mental Health Day…
Why is our emotional health so important?
While the terms mental health and emotional health or wellbeing are sometimes used interchangeably, they are distinctly different.
Mental health refers to your ability to process information. Emotional health, on the other hand, refers to your ability to express feelings which are based upon the information you have processed.
Emotional health and wellbeing are such an important part of our overall health. People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
They’re able to cope with life’s challenges. They can keep problems in perspective and bounce back from setbacks.
It’s not the same thing as mental health. Emotional health focuses on being in tune with our emotions, vulnerability, and authenticity.
Having good emotional health is a fundamental aspect of fostering resilience, self-awareness, and overall contentment.
Keep in mind that having good emotional health doesn’t mean you’re always happy or free from negative emotions. It’s about having the skills and resources to manage the ups and downs of life.
When we stop looking after our emotional wellbeing, over time our mental health can become affected which is when we start to experience things such as anxiety, depression, anger and addiction.
Tips to look after your emotional wellbeing
- Noticing upsetting emotions when they arise – this enables you to name them and process them in healthy ways
- Catching your own self-judgments – this means turning that critical inner voice into an opportunity for self-kindness
- Curiosity – emotional health flourishes when you’re curious about your thoughts, behaviours and feelings and why they might arise at certain times.
Tips to improve your emotional health
Emotional health is more of a process than a goal. And chances are you’re already doing some things that help strengthen your emotional health.
As you go through these tips, remember that emotional health isn’t about always being in a good mood.
It’s about equipping yourself to deal with the good, the bad, and everything in between.
- Practice emotional regulation. Emotions can and sometimes will get the best of you, but learning coping strategies to stabilise them can help you respond instead of react to upsetting situations
- Coping strategies can include meditation, focusing on your breathing, journaling, listening to music, finding hobbies and things that make us feel growth
- Strengthening healthy social connections
- Be mindful; mindfulness can be as simple as focusing on one thing at a time and keeping in the moment
- Get quality sleep
- Eat well
- Avoid alcohol, smoking and drugs
- Do things for others
- Remember it’s okay to not feel okay
- Ask for help from a professional.