Emotional Health Influences Other Areas

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2009
Emotional Health Influences Other Areas
Fri, 05-14-2010 - 3:48am
In researching the topic of women’s emotional health, one of the best entries I came across was this, from the Stanford University Graduate Women’s Wellness Network:

Nourish your mind. Feed your body. Express your soul. Create balance. Take steps to manage depression, cope with stress, and limit anxiety. Emotional health holds no bounds. Your emotional state affects you on a daily basis and impacts the choices you make. Whatever you may be dealing with, your emotions influence who you are now and who you are becoming.

A booklet produced for health care providers by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services / Health Resources and Services Administration offers this description:

People who are emotionally well feel good about themselves, their relationships, and their purpose in life. Emotional wellness is not the absence of sadness, anger, or confusion. All people will feel these emotions from time to time. However, people who are emotionally well may have fewer emotional lows and will be able to recuperate faster from such lows. Emotional wellness may also increase feelings such as happiness and joy during positive times. Emotional wellness has many components, including:

• Healthy emotional, cognitive, and physical habits (such as physical activity, healthy eating, and developing good sleep habits) that reflect the practice of valuing self

• Identification and/or connection with others

• Rewarding and supportive relationships

• Rewarding activities

• A sense of balance and purpose in life (which allows for opportunities to engage in pleasurable activities)

• A strong sense of self and compassion for personal life experience

• Compassion for others

• The ability to adapt to change and cope successfully with adversity

• Meaningful spiritual and/or cultural beliefs, traditions, and practices

Emotional Health will be addressed by cl-libelulle, leader of four message boards on iVillage: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Crisis Center: Rape & Suicide, Reiki Healing and Finding Your Best Life.


Community Leader of Women's Health


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Fri, 05-14-2010 - 10:47am

Thank you for this opportunity to talk a bit about emotional health. So often we read articles or see a segment on TV about emotional health. We nod our heads in agreement that it is an important component to our lives... yet most of us take more active care in our physical health and tend to think that with success everything will fall into place and we'll be happy.

While the old thinking is that success will bring happiness, the new thinking is that people who are happy, lead as balanced lives as possible and have good emotional health are the ones who are more apt to achieve long-term success.

Why is it so important to actively take care of our emotional health? Living beings are not just composed of their physical bodies. We are also thinking, feeling, creative and spiritual beings, and our feelings and thoughts impact the whole of who we are and how we live. Just as a terrible illness - something impacting our physical health - will make us feel depressed, helpless, worried, etc., something that hits our emotional health - bullying, abuse, bereavement, divorce for example - will also affect our physical well being. Who hasn't lost their appetite in the aftermath of a heartbreak? How many of us react to unexpressed or unaddressed emotional though compulsive overeating?

When our emotional well-being is affected for a prolonged period our self-esteem and our self-confidence dip. We struggle to complete tasks that are normally easy, we start to doubt ourselves. Our relationships falter, especially if there are issues such as anger or depression. It is easy to step into a vicious circle that involve our emotional and physical health, what we think of ourselves, our work, our relationships and our overall lives.

How we can attain and take care of our emotional well-being:

a. Take care of our physical health. It's one of the items that I always tell those who post on the PTSD or Crisis board. Good physical health contributes to good emotional well-being. This means paying attention to what we eat and making sure that we get a dose of exercise each day. Exercise has been proven to help mild to moderate depression, so when you are feeling blue start moving!

b. Get enough sleep/rest. Our bodies need to rest, but our minds also need a break. If you aren't getting sufficient sleep, do contact your doctor. Lack of rest affects both the mind and body.

c. Get out of the house and spend sometime outside. We all need a bit of morning sun not only so that the body can make vitamin D, but also to help us sleep and to stave of depression, especially in winter. A new study has found that even five minutes of exercise outside can lift one's mood.

d. Nurture your spirituality. Feed your soul. You can join others at a place or worship, you can meditate on your own or with a group. There are many different ways to nourish your spirit.

e. Nurture your creativity. Don't be shy to try out new things. The purpose isn't to be the next Michelangelo or Beyonce, but to find creative ways to express yourself. So sing, dance, paint, write, sculpt. Knit, embroider, crochet. Make jewellery, create apps, learn to cook a new dish, make a piece of furniture.

f. Make time to be with family and friends. Even if you are a loner, don't isolate yourself. There's a time to be alone, there's also time to be with others. Nurture quality relationships with family and friends. Make new friends from outside your usual group(s).

g. Make time for yourself to be with yourself.
Learn to know yourself, learn to like yourself, and learn to appreciate yourself.

h. Challenge yourself intellectually.
Read a good book. Read a genre you normally don't read. Learn something new - whether it's from an article, a lecture, a program on TV, or a course. Learn a new language, take up a new hobby. Learn how to repair things at home. Informing yourself also means that you can make informed decisions.

i. Volunteer. Give back to the community, or pay it forward. Again, there are so many ways that you can volunteer.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Fri, 05-14-2010 - 12:30pm

>> Emotional wellness is not the absence of sadness, anger, or confusion. All people will feel these emotions from time to time. However, people who are emotionally well may have fewer emotional lows and will be able to recuperate faster from such lows.<<

This is so true, but it is something that people forget because we always think that the grass is always greener on the other side of the pasture. People who are emotionally healthy and strong have good coping skills when these kinds of emotions hit them or when they are in the middle of a turmoil. Implement good coping skills means that they will have built up resilience for difficult times:

From: http://helpguide.org/mental/mental_emotional_health.htm

Building your resilience

Resilience involves maintaining flexibility and balance in your life as you deal with stressful circumstances and traumatic events. This happens in several ways, including:

  • Letting yourself experience strong emotions, and also realizing when you may need to avoid experiencing them at times in order to continue functioning

  • Stepping forward and taking action to deal with your problems and meet the demands of daily living, and also stepping back to rest and reenergize yourself

  • Spending time with loved ones to gain support and encouragement, and also nurturing yourself

  • Relying on others, and also relying on yourself

Source: American Psychological Association


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2009
Fri, 05-14-2010 - 7:09pm
Thank you for the great information, advice and links you provided about Emotional Health, Poppy! We're learning more and more about the relationship between emotional wellness and physical health, and how important it is to nurture ourselves.

I must say, however...Mr. Bean? I think we all just learned something about Poppy, lol. Oh well, to each her own, and I couldn't agree more about the importance of laughter.


Community Leader of Women's Health