Maintain your emotional well-being

For the Monitor
Published: 10/29/2020 9:13:03 PM

Emotional wellness is our ability to adapt to stress and change, and how we deal with things during difficult times. When we improve our emotional wellness, we can handle those situations better, and remain happier, so in recognition of the stressful, challenging and difficult year that 2020 has turned out to be, here are a few tips to improve your emotional wellness so we can truly all make it through this together.

■Cultivate a positive mindset. This is more than just thinking happy thoughts, but yeah, those can help. The National Institute of Health recommends that you give yourself credit for the good work that you do, and that you forgive yourself for the mistakes you do make. We should always try to learn from our mistakes, but if we dwell on them then we can’t move forward with those lessons that we’ve learned. Those lessons can be about your beliefs in life, healthy habits, and how to be a better friend.

■Keep social connections strong. Speaking of being a good friend, keeping social connections strong can also help us in times of stress. This can be with family, through a group with a shared hobby, like an online book club, or those video calls we have gotten so good at lately. A 2011 study in the Public Library of Science found that older people with good social relationships have a 50% greater likelihood of survival when compared with those who are isolated or have poor social relationships.

■Be mindful: Mindfulness is an ancient practice of being aware of what is happening around, and inside, of you. Sometimes we get stuck on autopilot and find we drift through the day without taking the time to appreciate our co-workers, family, the scenery, our dinner. Mindfulness is the purposeful recognition of the wonder and beauty that is around us. An easy way to do this is by taking a brief walk and paying special attention to the sounds, sights and smells around you. Birdsong, sunlight through leaves or on your face, the smell of grass when it’s warm. If you find yourself thinking of worries, just note them, but then return your mind to the present.

By starting with those three things you can make big strides towards improving your emotional wellness, and building more resilience towards the challenges we face.

(Elizabeth Change is a provider educator for the Franklin VNA & Hospice.)

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