Wellness is a holistic way of managing life. When health permeates every part of the human experience, wellness is present. The National Wellness Institute (www.nationalwellness.org) identifies six dimensions of wellness including:
As we move into this new year and look forward to what will unfold for us, focusing on creating a culture of wellness will enrich our lives in 2017. Over the next several weeks, we will explore each of the dimensions of wellness, beginning with our emotions.
Developing Emotional Wellness
No matter how mature or “together” we appear to the world, each of us has the ability to improve our emotional intelligence.
- Set and maintain clear boundaries
The foundation of emotional wellness consists of setting clear boundaries. It is easy to agree to take on projects, join committees or do favors for others without thinking through the impact of the commitment on your time and energy.
Practice saying yes only to requests that you want to engage in and are willing to participate in. A firm but polite “no” will be accepted by most people without question.
- Know your emotions
Take time to identify the emotions behind your response. When you are tempted to react in anger, check to see if the anger is fueled by fear or sadness. When you recognize the underlying emotion, it is easier to advocate for yourself and get your needs met in a healthy manner.
Tend to the root of the emotions. Take time to journal, exercise, garden or spend time with caring people. Nurture yourself.
- Advocate for your needs
Sometimes you need a break or a helping hand. Asking for support when necessary reduces stress and helps to reduce emotional roller coasters. Ask early, ask often.
- Practice Radical Acceptance
Sometimes situations are beyond the scope of our control. Acceptance doesn’t mean approval or giving in It is recognition of the facts of a situation. We can rail against the rain and wind, but the storm will continue because it is out of our control. Acceptance is choosing not to fight the storm and invite more suffering into our lives.
- Resolve trauma history
If you have a history of trauma or abuse, find a qualified mental health practitioner to support you in breaking down the barriers to emotional health. Learn to tell your story, acknowledging painful times and joyous times.
- Give yourself grace
Healing, like life, does not progress in a neat orderly fashion. We move forward and make progress only to be tripped up and lose ground. If today was not your best day, be gentle with yourself, treat yourself well, and begin again tomorrow.