Finding Optimal Emotional Wellness
Achieving optimal emotional wellness means optimizing your health in all three spheres of human existence: body, mind and spirit. Once your body is healthy – which means your physical brain is receiving the nutrients and oxygen it needs to function properly – the next step is caring for its immaterial “resident,” the mind.
Here are some of the basic tenets of mind-oriented approaches to optimal emotional wellness:
- Understand that depressive rumination – the tendency to obsessively repeat negative “self-talk” – is a hallmark of depression. The fact that thoughts are the major source of sadness, anxiety, and other negative emotions should motivate you to manage them.
- Read up on positive psychology and select a few interventions that have helped people become more optimistic and happier. Give them a try.
- Familiarize yourself with the theory and methods of cognitive psychology and consider working with a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) practitioner. CBT is the most time- and cost-effective form of psychotherapy for depression and anxiety.
- Investigate mantram repetition as a tool to interrupt negative thinking. Select an appropriate word or phrase and experiment with it to see if it helps.
- Consider guided imagery as an alternative focus for your attention. Work with a particular image of a place you associate with positive emotions and focus on that whenever you feel sad, anxious, stressed, or in the grip of negative thinking.
- Whenever you remember to do so, make your breathing deeper, slower, quieter, and more regular. Practice putting your attention on your breath when you find you are stuck on troubling thoughts. Also practice the 4-7-8 breathing technique and use it to control anxiety.
- Develop your powers of attention and concentration. Try to bring more of your awareness to the present moment. Mindfulness training is an excellent way to do this.
- Consider some form of daily meditation practice. It can be as simple as sitting quietly and trying to keep your attention on your breath.
- Identify sounds in your environment that affect you for the worse. Find ways to neutralize or mask them. Expose yourself to sounds of nature and listen to music that makes you happy.
- Exercise greater conscious control over what you let into your mind, especially from the media. Try taking breaks from the news.
- Set limits on the amount of time you spend on the Internet, with email, on the phone, in front of the television, etc. Information overload will get to you if you do not take steps to protect yourself.
- Make social interaction a priority. It is a powerful safeguard of optimal emotional wellness and wellbeing.