11 Keys to Improving Emotional Health

Identifying and regulating your emotions are the first steps to improving psychological well-being. Discover these and other ways to do it.
11 Keys to Improving Emotional Health

Written by Daniela Andarcia

Last update: 26 March, 2021

Psychological well-being is linked to the emotions that a person experiences and transmits. Despite how much it’s often underestimated, emotional health is important in order to be able to cope with the different scenarios of life.

The quality of your personal and work relationships will largely depend on how you manage your emotions, so it is worth putting various tips into practice in order to do it in the best possible way.

Mental and emotional health, despite popular belief, are not the same thing. The first includes the emotional, psychological and social well-being of a person, while the second refers only to emotional regulation.

With this in mind, we’ll be better able to improve emotional health. We’ll now show you in detail how to do it.

11 keys that will help you improve your emotional health

Not having any type of problems with anxiety, stress, or prolonged depression is one of the characteristics of a person with good emotional health. This state, without a doubt, transcends the simple fact of repressing negative emotions and pretending to be “happy” at all times.

Rather, it is about developing skills and tools to make the best use of these emotions. Find out some tips on how to achieve it.

1. Detect the impact of your emotions

To have better emotional health you need to know yourself.
Introspection exercises are necessary to learn to identify problems.

Intense emotions are difficult to avoid, as they arise spontaneously when we fall prey to strong feelings. Anger, frustration, euphoria, or fear are just some examples, and when externalized, they can create consequences with third parties.

However, when we study and understand them, they can help us grow, and so these overwhelming emotions aren’t entirely harmful. They can also turn out to be normal; they show to what extent you allow yourself to experience great stimuli.

However, when we don’t channel them well, they lead to conflicts with third parties, problems relating to relationships, and the need for medication in order to control emotional outbursts.

At this point, it’s imperative that you take some time to determine the effect of how your intense emotions are affecting your daily life.

2. Choose to regulate and not to repress

Being able to detect the effect of your emotions is only the beginning of being able to manage them. And this is the most plausible option. It’s not good for you to suppress or repress emotions, as this would end up hurting you more. Nor can you go through life with all your passions on show, as this will also end up hurting you.

The best way to experience this facet of life is in a conscious and driven way that helps you find the balance between intense emotions and the absence of them. Otherwise, you could add conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, depression, and emotional and muscular stress to your life.

3. Identify your emotions

Identifying your emotions is necessary for you to be able to control them. To do this, you can ask yourself some questions such as the following:

  • What am I feeling right now?
  • What happened to make me end up feeling this way?
  • Can there be another explanation that makes sense?
  • Do I want to do something with this feeling?
  • Will this action make my condition better or worse?
  • Do I have a better way to deal with them?

By answering these questions, in addition to taking time to reflect, you will have a better approach to producing a first reaction. Keep in mind that the ideal thing here is to make this practice a habit. This may take time, but its results are worth it.

4. Accept all your emotions

According to studies published in Cognition and Emotion and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, accepting emotions can contribute to increasing levels of satisfaction and emotional well-being.

When validating an intense emotion, always remember to first carry out the previous point, as this will allow you to maximize the experience for your own benefit.

Also, you should avoid downplaying it. The state of denial can make the situation worse, since by not recognizing the feeling of anger, for example, you won’t be able to find a suitable solution to react to the source of that anger. On the contrary, accepting your anger can help you feel more comfortable and you’re less likely to blame yourself.

5. Keep a journal of your mood

This practice can help you gain a better understanding of your feelings, actions, and the people involved when they arise. With this, you can feed back your thoughts and cultivate your behavior to cope in a healthy way with certain circumstances and people.

Likewise, studies published in the Journal of Affective Disorders and Psychophysiology found that expressive writing can be an effective type of therapy for people with major depressive disorder (MDD) and chronic worry.

6. Take a deep breath

Breathing deeply before doing or saying something that we may later regret or that might aggravate our situation is a sign of emotional maturity. When we experience strong emotions, we tend to act impulsively and not at all consensually.

Breathing in slowly and deeply will help reduce your margin for mistakes, as well as oxygenating the brain. By doing so, you won’t be suppressing your emotions, you’ll simply be able to calm them down. Remember that well-conducted intense emotions can become great allies.

Take control by applying the following tips:

  • Breathe in deeply and slowly. Keep in mind that this type of breathing is done with the diaphragm. Also, try to focus your gaze on one point or close your eyes.
  • Hold your breath, count to three, and then breathe out slowly.
  • Try incorporating an “everything flows” or “I’m calm” mantra. This is often helpful for some.

7. Wait for the right time

Waiting for the right moment to express intense emotions is something that you’ll achieve over time, and it’s a fundamental part of emotional well-being. For example, when it comes to relationships of authority, it’s wise to act with restraint.

Berating your superior will always end up badly for the “subordinate” person, no matter how unfair the actions against them may be. In this case, it’s always good to put what we’ve said into practice and be aware of the environment. These measures will help you find the ideal time to manifest these types of complex emotions.

8. Give yourself some space

Detaching yourself from where you spend most of your time, or the place that seems to be linked to the intense feelings that arise, may help calm you down.

You can do it physically or, failing that, virtually. In general, options such as taking a walk, sharing with a friend or pet, going out to buy a coffee, or going to the bathroom to freshen up can help to bring relief to the situation.

9. Practice meditation

Emotional health can be improved with a few techniques.
Meditation and low-impact sports can go a long way toward improving emotional health.

Activities like meditation, tai chi, or yoga, for example, will help you channel negative feelings. Reflection through meditation raises your levels of consciousness about what you feel, its origin, and the way you can channel them.

These disciplines prioritize the positive side of things, including these types of strong feelings, accepting their existence, and developing skills for their acceptance in favor of prolonged emotional health.

10. Decrease stress levels

Living a healthy life is key to improving emotional health. Eating healthily, doing physical activities, and having plenty of sleep are good practices to reduce the levels of stress that you may be feeling. There are even studies that link sleep deprivation with a greater number of negative thoughts.

Keep in mind that by controlling this state, you’ll have a better emotional response in moments of high tension. Meditation as a habit can help you deal with this. Also, remember to do activities outdoors and spend time relaxing with friends.

11. Seek help from an expert

If you don’t find satisfactory results with these tips, then don’t rule out seeking professional help. These experts can be very helpful when your emotions overwhelm you.

Also keep in mind that certain emotional pathologies such as bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder do require the skills of these professionals, as well as medication.

Emotional health should always be an ally

Emotional health is often underestimated, but our personal growth largely depends on it. Human beings are social beings full of emotions and when we maintain relationships with others, it’s imperative to be able to control and manage them.

In order to do this, try to identify your passions, especially if they have a great impact on your life, such as anger or rage. Also, avoid suppressing your feelings, as doing so could cause the opposite effect to what you’re looking for. Don’t forget to keep track of your mood, as it will help you understand your emotions better.

On the other hand, it’s a good habit to practice meditation, an activity that can allow you to channel negative feelings. Also, try to have routines of relaxation and contact with nature with which you can release stress levels and improve your emotional health.

  • Côté, S., Gyurak, A., & Levenson, R. W. (2010). The ability to regulate emotion is associated with greater well-being, income, and socioeconomic status. Emotion (Washington, D.C.), 10(6), 923–933. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021156
  • Karnaze, M. M., & Levine, L. J. (2018). Data versus Spock: lay theories about whether emotion helps or hinders. Cognition & emotion, 32(3), 549–565. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2017.1326374
  • Ford, B. Q., Lam, P., John, O. P., & Mauss, I. B. (2018). The psychological health benefits of accepting negative emotions and thoughts: Laboratory, diary, and longitudinal evidence. Journal of personality and social psychology, 115(6), 1075–1092. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000157
  • Krpan, K. M., Kross, E., Berman, M. G., Deldin, P. J., Askren, M. K., & Jonides, J. (2013). An everyday activity as a treatment for depression: the benefits of expressive writing for people diagnosed with major depressive disorder. Journal of affective disorders, 150(3), 1148–1151. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2013.05.065
  • Schroder, H. S., Moran, T. P., & Moser, J. S. (2018). The effect of expressive writing on the error-related negativity among individuals with chronic worry. Psychophysiology, 55(2), 10.1111/psyp.12990. https://doi.org/10.1111/psyp.12990
  • Nota, J. A., & Coles, M. E. (2018). Shorter sleep duration and longer sleep onset latency are related to difficulty disengaging attention from negative emotional images in individuals with elevated transdiagnostic repetitive negative thinking. Journal of behavior therapy and experimental psychiatry, 58, 114–122. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbtep.2017.10.003

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