At work I am considered to be a "fitness professional", a go-to person for all things pertaining to exercise. Although I do not counsel, It is natural for me to be concerned about each client's emotional and mental well-being, and that's simply because I do not believe that vigorous exercise is the answer to all fitness-related issues. I strive to understand and consider stressors and self-esteem as it relates to a person's motivation, their habits and any barriers that may prevent us from seeing progress. Many would agree that in order to be healthy, one needs much more than just the perfect combination of diet and exercise.
In fact, I boldly believe that in order to maintain good long-term physical health, we have to have good mental health that sustains our efforts. Sometimes exercise is the direct cause to bettering our mental health, and other times better mental health is the spark that enables a person to get moving!
What does mentally healthy look like?
People who are emotionally and mentally healthy are in control of their emotions and their behaviors. They are able to handle life’s challenges, build strong relationships, and recover from setbacks. They have a sense of contentment and a zest for living, and also the flexibility to learn new things and adapt to change. They also have a sense of meaning and purpose and they value balance between work and play. Self-care is a priority to an emotionally and mentally healthy person.
Do you know that you could be emotionally and mentally healthier?
The key word here is BALANCE.
Improving your emotional health is possible and it can add to your overall enjoyment of life. Our mental and emotional health has been and will continue to be shaped by our experiences. Early childhood experiences are especially significant. Genetic and biological factors can also play a role, but these too can be changed by experience. Here are some red-flag feelings and behaviors that indicate poor mental/emotional health and may require immediate attention:
- Trouble Sleeping
- Feeling down, hopeless, or helpless most of the time
- Concentration problems that interfere with your work or home life
- Using drugs, food or alcohol to cope with difficult emotions
- Negative or self-destructive thoughts or fears that you can’t control
- Thoughts of death or suicide
The good news is that not all negative thoughts and feelings require medical attention. Oftentimes, we just neglect certain areas in our life to focus on others, but we don't realize the harm being done. These negative thoughts and feelings can actually serve as a great indicator of an area in our lives that may need some extra attention, or some more "lovin'", as I like to say :)
So, join me in improving mental and emotional health! Here's how:
To build self-esteem: Do things that positively impact others. Helping others can significantly make you feel important, and help create a sense of meaning.
To overcome helplessness: Practice self-discipline. (ex. wake up 30 min earlier to prepare breakfast, volunteer time)
To feel more productive: Engage in meaningful, creative work regardless if you get paid for it. (write a blog, organize a charity event)
To beat boredom: Learn or discover new things. Try taking a class that helps your everyday life (ex. sewing, cooking), join a book club, travel, listen to a podcast.
To stop worrying: Limit unhealthy mental habits . Try to avoid becoming absorbed by negative thoughts about yourself and the world that make you feel anxious, fearful and depressed.
To feel complete: Appeal to all five senses (doesn't have to be all at once). Listen to music that lifts your mood, place flowers or art work where you will see it, have scents burning in your home, make a special dinner, get a massage.
To overcome loneliness: Get a pet. Its obviously not an option for everyone, caring for one can make you feel needed and loved.
To keep your smile alive: Enjoy some leisure time. Make it a priority.
To avoid bitterness: Make time for gratitude. Mediate, pray, or simply take a moment to pay attention to all that is good, positive and beautiful in your life.
♥ "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it" - Proverbs 4:23 ♥