When I think of being in a Happy Place I think of feelings of euphoria, being surrounded by people who love me, not having a care in the world, and being able to attain all that my heart desires. That sounds like the perfect place to be, but real life is not always that perfect. In reality, most of us do not experience all of these feelings all of the time….let alone simultaneously. Life often throws a few curve balls our way, disrupting our emotional well-being and taking us out of our “Happy Place”. Life will and can knock us off of our square and sometimes into a place of emotional disparity. So how do you get back on track when this happens? How do you foster your emotional wellness?
First you have to understand what emotional wellness means. It is not just being in control of your emotions at all times. Emotional wellness is about being aware, understanding and accepting your emotions and the ability to effectively manage your emotions (Psychology Today). Rather your emotions are triggered by something positive or something negative, the way in which you handle your emotions is how you attain emotional wellness.
A good place to start is being able to acknowledge the emotions you experience in any given situation. It is easy when you are feeling good and positive about the way things are going. Being happy is a no-brainer! When you are happy you tend to have a positive outlook on life, block out negativity from others as well as put on a physical display of your happiness. Your appearance and body language exude positivity when you are happy. Walking out the door crispy and clean, nails done, hair done, a smile on your face, and a stride in your walk to make heads turn…completely in your happy zone!
So what usually happens to our emotional state when we experience challenges, negativity, or setbacks? Some people act out with poor behavior. Some experience feelings of defeat, being unable to bounce back from a situation that is out of their control, often sending them into a state of depression. Others totally withdraw from life and responsibilities until they are able to gain the strength to move on. Physically this state of emotion may show up as sudden weight loss or weight gain, an unkept outward appearance, or lack of mobility (e.g. unable to get out of bed). Outbursts such as crying spells, being argumentative and negative self-talk can also be emotional manifestations. Being emotional is not the problem. We all experience emotions as human beings. The problem is allowing our emotions to spiral out of control to the point that it affects our well being.
The way in which you deal with your emotions is what determines your emotional wellness. Again, the first step is being aware of your state of emotion. The next step is being able to shift your outlook in such a way that will allow you to deal with your emotions in a healthy manner. Some of the ways in which you can shift your outlook in a positive direction are, according to the National Institute of Health:
- Focus on having a positive mindset by focusing on the good things in your life. Surround yourself with positive people and engage in healthy physical habits.
- Build healthy social support systems with family and friends. Engage in hobbies or take classes that will expand your social circle with others that share common interests.
- Learn to cope with loss or change by giving yourself time to grieve, seeking the help of a professional, joining a support group or reaching out to friends and family, and most importantly engaging in self-care (diet, exercise, sleep, etc.)
- Learn healthy ways to cope with stress by eating right, getting the proper amount of rest, learning to set boundaries and say NO when you are feeling overwhelmed. Incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily routine and most importantly, just to reiterate, NEVER be afraid to seek professional help.
According to HuffPost, there are seven signs of emotional wellness. These signs are treating others well, liking who you are as a person, being flexible, showing gratitude for your loved ones, being in touch with your emotions, having meaning in your life, and valuing your experiences more than possessions. In a nutshell, emotional wellness is what allows you to become a happier being. Not to say that you will never experience emotional setbacks or challenges, but the way in which you react or cope with these curveballs in life will set the tone for your emotional wellness and being able to create your Happy Place in life. Remember your greatest wealth is your health.