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How to Improve Your Emotional Health

written by Skye Kalil Written by Skye Kalil
Skye Kalil

Skye Kalil

Skye likes writing about mental health, nutrition, and wellness. She is passionate about sharing information that will educate, and positively affect people's lives.

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reviewed by Amy Kaplan, LCSW Reviewed by Amy Kaplan, LCSW
Amy Kaplan, LCSW

Amy Kaplan, LCSW

Amy Kaplan is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, specializing in the treatment of depression, anxiety and trauma. Ms. Kaplan earned a BA with Distinction in Psychology from Penn State University and a Masters Degree in Social Work from California State University, Long Beach. Her extensive experience in the mental health field since 1997 includes inpatient and outpatient settings as a psychotherapy provider, clinical supervisor and mental health consultant. With the use evidenced-based treatment, Ms. Kaplan helps those she works with learn how to use their inner strengths and lead a more balanced life.

March 15, 2022 Read Time - 7 minutes

What Is Emotional Health?

Emotional health is about how people think, feel, and react to everyday experiences. Emotional health encompasses a sense of well-being, the ability to cope with life events, and how emotions are acknowledged.

Emotional wellness leads to fostering resiliency, self-awareness, and an overall sense of well-being. It is the ability to handle stress and adapt to change. Emotional health does not mean being happy all of the time, but rather feeling in control of one’s thoughts, feelings, actions, and reactions.

Improving emotional health starts with noticing your own feelings, and how you react to things around you. To improve emotional health, it is important to notice when and where you are feeling stress in your life and what coping skills or resources you currently have to help manage those stressors. Focusing on your strengths and what is going well, as well as changing habits that may be holding you back, is also helpful.

  • Browse our network of top therapist to find one that matches your needs.

  • Get private and secure emotional support weekly from your dedicated therapist.

  • Experience comprehensive care with unlimited access to your care team and primary care physician.

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What Are Examples of Emotional Health?

Examples of different aspects of emotional health include:

  • Curiosity – Getting curious about how your mind is processing your own emotions is a great start to improving emotional health. Even thinking “Why am I reacting this way?” can illuminate the reasons behind hurtful emotions, and could even help you uncover your personal triggers.
  • Sharing feelings appropriately – Keeping strong feelings bottled inside will feel like a pressure cooker over time. If you have someone to confide in, it can have huge benefits for your emotional health. A close friend, family member, or therapist can be a great resource to reach out to if you are feeling overwhelmed.
  • Noticing and facing emotions when they arise – Being able to identify an emotion when you feel it is a helpful tool in reducing the power that you feel the emotion has over you. Practicing noticing your emotions can help lead you to take control of your reaction to yourself or others when you feel strong emotions. 

Why Is Emotional Health Important?

Emotional health is one aspect of mental health, and mental health plays a huge role in overall well-being. Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being.

Emotional health is important in the following ways:

  • Affecting productivity and financial stability: According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 200 million workdays are lost each year due to depression alone. Emotional health helps to keep workplace issues in perspective, and allows people to bounce back from work setbacks.
  • Improving physical health: Emotional, mental, and physical health are all tied together. If you are struggling with emotional health, you may not enjoy the activities you once enjoyed, and limiting activity can lead to stress, anxiety, and even depression.
  • Living a longer and happier life: Having difficulty with emotional health can have serious consequences, which may impact your quality of life, relationships, work, and even your physical health. Because it may be hard to recognize when emotional health issues start, they typically go unrecognized. Wanting to learn more about and improve your emotional health can have a substantially positive impact on your life.

What Affects Your Emotional Health?

Many factors can affect your emotional health, including:

  • Environmental factors
  • Relationships
  • Physical health
  • Self-awareness
  • Stress

Being emotionally healthy does not mean being happy all the time; rather, it means being able to identify, address, and work through emotions and negative experiences as they happen. There is nothing wrong with being mad, or sad, or disappointed sometimes. But repressing or ruminating on emotions without working through them or taking healthy action to reduce those feelings may lead to those emotions being expressed in unhealthy ways.

Emotional Health vs Mental Health

Emotional health and mental health are related, but not the same. Emotional health is one aspect of mental health. According to the CDC, mental health encompasses our “emotional, psychological, and social well-being.”

Some key differences between emotional health and mental health are: 

  • The scope: Emotional health focuses on understanding and managing your emotions. Mental health includes much more, such as how you can reason, understand, and feel things relating to all aspects of your life. 
  • Processing information vs expressing emotion: Mental health is how you process information and emotional health is how you react to that information. 
  • One can thrive while the other struggles: You can have good emotional health and simultaneously have mental health, and vice versa. For instance, you may have good emotional health, yet may also still be struggling with a mental health issue such as burnout or a lack of energy.

How to Improve Your Emotional Health

There are many ways that you can take care of and improve your emotional health. With a multitude of options, finding what works best for you may take time in a trial and error process. Self-care, no matter what form, will be beneficial. 

The following activities may help you to better notice and understand the signs of emotional health and how to work on improving them.

Emotional Health Activities

  • Increase self-awareness – Self-awareness allows you to realize how your actions are perceived and what impact your behavior has. Notice what experiences in your life make you sad, frustrated, or angry, and think about addressing why.
  • Improve emotional agility – Emotional agility is similar to cognitive agility, and refers to your ability to deal with stressors and discomfort in life. Strong emotional agility can help you become resilient to adversity and handle setbacks without turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms or harmful behavior. 
  • Live with purpose – Living with purpose will mean different things to different people, but finding purpose revolves around the goals we set for ourselves. Find what is meaningful to you, and focus on making that a part of your life. It could be your work, family, volunteering, caregiving, or anything else.
  • Manage stress levels – You could be feeling stress due to personal, professional, physical, psychological, emotional, or spiritual reasons. Identify what aspect of your life is causing you stress so you can implement stress management techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or exercise.
  • Practice mindfulness – Mindfulness is focusing on what you notice about everything, and focusing on the good things in your life. This can include forgiving yourself and others, spending time with people who make you happy, meditating, or practicing gratitude. It can be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal.
  • Take care of your physical health – Taking care of your physical health includes being active, getting enough sleep, and healthy eating. Your physical and mental health heavily interact, and it is difficult to support one without the other.
  • Strengthen social connections – Research has shown that social connection to others can have powerful effects on our emotional and physical health, and influence our biology and well-being. Connections can be formed anywhere, with family, friends, neighbors, or others.
  • Seek or accept help – Leaning on those who support us is incredibly helpful and validating. Family, friends, or therapists are great resources who can assist and encourage you to strengthen your emotional health.
  • Browse our network of top therapist to find one that matches your needs.

  • Get private and secure emotional support weekly from your dedicated therapist.

  • Experience comprehensive care with unlimited access to your care team and primary care physician.

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Talk to a Therapist About Emotional Health

Therapists are specially trained to help patients with their mental and emotional health. Meeting with a therapist could help you unlock what your specific emotional health needs are and how to best manage them. Therapists may also provide you with tools to integrate into your life to improve your everyday wellbeing and overall emotional health.

PlushCare connects patients to our licensed and experienced virtual therapists through online therapy. Our therapists can help you identify the root cause of triggers that cause intense emotional reactions, and work through issues to balance your life.

To make an online appointment with a PlushCare therapist, click here


Read More About Emotional Health


Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

National Institutes of Health. Emotional Wellness Toolkit. Accessed March 1, 2022 at https://www.nih.gov/health-information/emotional-wellness-toolkit 

National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. How to Improve Mental Health. Accessed March 1, 2022 at https://medlineplus.gov/howtoimprovementalhealth.html 

National Institute of Mental Health. Caring for Your Mental Health. Accessed March 1, 2022 at https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/caring-for-your-mental-health 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About Mental Health. Accessed March 1, 2022 at https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm 

American Academy of Family Physicians. FamilyDoctor.org. Mental Health: Keeping Your Emotional Health. Accessed March 1, 2022 at https://familydoctor.org/mental-health-keeping-your-emotional-health/ 

Mental Health America. 31 Tips To Boost Your Mental Health. Accessed March 1, 2022 at https://www.mhanational.org/31-tips-boost-your-mental-health

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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