Take Control of Your Emotional Health With These Expert Tips
You can spot and even sense an emotionally healthy person, says Colette Lettieri, L.M.S.W., M.S.Ed., Certified Health Coach on Long Island. They look healthy because they recognize and appreciate the mind-body-soul connection. She says, “They have an energetic glow about them that’s almost measurable.”
Emotionally healthy people have embraced wholeheartedly “a strict self-care regime that includes mental exercise, physical awareness, and nutrition,” Lettieri says. They continue to evolve their approach and perspective on both the inside and out with the goal of achieving and maintaining optimal emotional health.
Give your emotional health a boost with movement, says Gordon Gooding, L.C.S.W., A.C.S.W., director, founder of Cold Spring Harbor-based Gooding Wellness Group. “Exercise has been found to have significant benefits for emotional health, such as reducing stress, anxiety and depression, as well as improving mood and self-esteem,” says Gooding. Detox with a rigorous walk or jog outside and allow physical activity and Mother Nature to fuel your body, mind and soul.
Surround yourself with positive experiences and supportive company. “Social support has been found to reduce stress, promote positive emotions, and increase resilience to stress,” says Gooding. Practice quality self-care with a good night’s sleep, mindfulness, gratitude and things that bring you joy. Allow yourself to laugh and have fun, he adds.
Obstacles need not prevent you from achieving optimal emotional health. “This is how we build emotional resilience,” says Gooding. The effort you put forth during good times or challenging times is invaluable. “The better we are able to prioritize our mental health, the more it will pay off for us when we start to face adversity.”
While it’s important to reflect upon your history and plan for the future, it’s also critical to your psyche to appreciate the here and now and be present, advises Larry Epstein, L.M.H.C., M.-C.A.S.A.C., licensed mental health counselor in Mineola. “It’s springtime — you may want to stop and smell those roses.”
You can create positive changes within yourself and your life while simultaneously accepting yourself for being who you are — that is healthy. However, don’t compare yourself to others and “don’t compare yourself to what you’re not,” says Epstein. “This includes hypothetical versions of yourself that have it better than you do now.” It’s just as important to be kind to yourself as it is to bestow that kindness to others. Forgive and give yourself the benefit of the doubt.
Achieving optimal emotional health is a lifelong, wondrous journey filled with hopes, dreams, goals, disappointments and successes. “Set realistic goals for yourself. Write them down, and do a little every day to work toward them,” Epstein advises. “Enjoy the ride on the way to your goal, and celebrate your accomplishments, whether by yourself or with others.”