When we think about improving our health, most of us start with the physical things — maybe we’ll try exercising more, or eating more nutritious foods, or maybe we’ll finally get around to arranging that overdue dental appointment. And if we have the flu, or break an ankle, we wouldn’t think twice about seeking medical attention. But when it comes to being proactive about improving our emotional wellbeing, sometimes that can feel like less of a priority.
Our emotional health affects how we think, feel and act, so it’s a vital component in our overall wellbeing. Caring for the emotional side of ourselves is essential if we are to cultivate a positive outlook on life, and manage our emotions, whatever life throws at us.
The good news is that this doesn’t have to take a lot of time, or effort — even making a few small changes can help you fulfill your potential, and live a more rewarding life.
We’ve pulled together 10 of the best ways to get started today:
1. Spend five minutes being mindful
Learning how to be more aware of how you feel in the moment can be a great way to tune in to your emotions. Don’t worry if your mind wanders, simply observe the thoughts, and move on. With daily practice, you’ll retrain your thought processes to be more mindful.
2. Keep a gratitude diary
Research suggests that acknowledging, or writing down things that you are thankful for can improve your mental wellbeing. Before you go to sleep, write down three things that you are grateful for that day. You’ll soon find yourself on the lookout for the good things as you go about your daily life.
3. Go for a brisk walk
Being physically active is a great way to improve your mood, and reduce anxiety. Make the most of those energy-boosting endorphins, and get outside for a walk as often as you can, or try to find the nearest park or natural area to get back to nature and away from the noise and busyness of the city.
4. Chat with a friend
Humans are social animals! Spend time connecting with friends, or meeting new people so you have a strong support network. How about taking that walk together?
5. Break out of your routine
Doing the same things day in and day out can be monotonous, and leave us feeling lacklustre. Try a change of routine, whether it’s taking a different route to work, or taking up a new hobby.
6. Give something
Giving to others, whether it’s a simple smile, or a few hours volunteering, can boost your social connections, and improve your sense of wellbeing. What could you do today?
7. Say no
Setting boundaries is an important way to safeguard our emotional psyche. Avoid overextending yourself, and if you feel like you need time to recharge by yourself, it’s perfectly fine to say no to things or rearrange for later.
8. Say yes
On the other hand, saying yes to unexpected opportunities can be a great way to open ourselves up to new experiences, whether it’s a chance to try something different, or meet new people.
9. Do a digital detox
Social media is wonderful for keeping in touch with what’s going on in the world, but being glued to our phones, and seeing other people’s ‘highlight reels’ isn’t always great for our emotional wellbeing. Take a break from the scrolling every now and then, and reap the rewards.
10. Ask for help
Sometimes we need a helping hand to keep our emotional wellbeing on an even keel – and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Asking for help when you need it, whether that’s from a friend, colleague or health professional, is one of the most important things you can do for your emotional health.