Emotional health is critical to our overall health and it’s why it forms one of the three pillars of my work. Being able to answer the question ‘Why do I do what I do, even though I know what I know?’ can help us bring curiosity to our behaviours and choices, rather than judgement. Curiosity fosters learning and insight whereas judgement makes us blind to the beliefs about ourselves that will be driving our behaviour.
Part of emotional health also involves having the resilience to manage everyday stressors without them adversely affecting us for an extended time. For example, if a friend doesn’t say hello to you at an event and this hurts your feelings, you want to be able to manage how you feel without this experience taking the shine off your day, week or month as you try to work out what you’ve done, or why she ignored you. When we make these types of conclusions inside our mind from the situations that occur, it can unknowingly impact on the choices you make in how you care for yourself (hello, too many chocolate biscuits) – when it was simply that she wasn’t wearing her contact lenses and couldn’t see you.
The key to strengthening your emotional health starts by having an awareness of your thoughts and your reactions, and then having a set of tools or resources that can help you to come back to the truth, rather than live with a story you’ve created. I’ve covered some of these tools in my recently released Wellness Cards and they could include things like learning to reframe your stressors, noticing small micromoments in your day, taking steps towards how you really want to live or finding ways to contribute and connect that get you ‘out of your head’. Each deck of 90 cards is designed to educate, inspire and guide all aspects of health – particularly emotional health.
Remember too, that having great emotional health comes from a place of kindness and compassion towards yourself. Drop any judgements you hold about the choices you’ve made, or meanings you’ve created and trust that you did the best you could with the tools you had at the time. And also know that you now have the choice to take some new steps towards fostering optimal emotional health.
Dr Libby Weaver (PhD) is a nutritional biochemist, speaker and best-selling author of 13 books. Her new Wellness Cards (RRP$34.95) are available exclusively from her website drlibby.com