I wrote a post on my physical health goals, but I think emotional wellness is even MORE important. Why have the body right when the mind isn’t?
I know it is easier said than done. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I first did everything I could to heal my body.
I did ALL THE THINGS. Surely my body would respond! And it did. But you know what really spurred my healing? When I worked on my emotional health. Oh, it was difficult! I remember doing recall healing and at first, it felt like way too much for me to process. In fact, after my first session, I didn’t go back for an entire two years. It’s tough to face your past, face your chronic behaviors, and reactions to life.
But when I did that, I began to really heal.
So today, I am so committed to my emotional wellbeing that I work at it everyday. I want to encourage you to do the same. You can have a happier life if you choose to work in that area of yourself. This is a promise!
Let’s go over what these emotional wellness goals could be and how you could reach them.
Emotional Wellness Goals And How To Reach Them
1. Being aware of your emotions and reactions
So often we are reactive instead of proactive. Something triggers us and we get mad, upset, angry, sad…. Oftentimes, it is only ourselves putting that on us. Most of the time we can brush things off or take them as a lesson or an eye-opener but instead, we let the situation rule us in a negative way.
This is terrible because it spikes our cortisol and robs us of happiness in the moment. It would be in your emotional best interest to learn how to not be reactive, but proactive.
How to do this: Start to take note of what makes you react. Is it when someone questions something you said? Do you get extra defensive? Is it if you see that the garbage has not been taken out? Is it when you feel someone may be poking fun at your expense?
Take note of what your triggers are and ALSO how you react. Then ask yourself, at your highest self, how would you react to this situation? What would save you negative emotions? How can you turn it around? Write it down so it becomes real and meditate on that before you start your day.
2. Express your feelings in appropriate ways
This also goes back into being reactive. It is a great thing to express how you are feeling. But are you doing it in a productive way?
For instance, when you get angry, do you yell? Do you punch a wall? Do you scare everyone around you? This is not good for you OR your community. I will tell you this right now, reacting in a negative way is traumatic both for your mind and body. I specifically want to touch on anger in general because it is such a low vibrating emotion.
Meeting Jesus has taught me so much about myself and how I can live differently if I choose so. I have learned that anger is a very powerful emotion that drives people to do really crazy things and causes more grief if we react negatively. It is an emotion that will keep you down and keep others away if you don’t choose to confront it and move past it.
It is so important to quite literally teach yourself how to express your feelings in appropriate ways.
How to do this: Catch yourself whenever you have expressed your feelings in a way that didn’t serve you or those around you and ask how you can do that differently next time. Could you journal? Could you go for a walk? Could you call a friend once you have processed what you are feeling? Always try to get better and ask Jesus for his guiding hand in your life. Ask him for comfort and wisdom to better move through your emotions.
3. Think before you act
As an empath, I am guilty of expressing my feelings and thoughts the second I feel them coursing through my system. It has taken me years to be able to slow down before I react.
Can you think of moments where it was like you had your foot in your mouth? Or when you did something that makes your heart sink thinking of it and it could have been prevented had you just taken a moment before you acted it?
I get it. Acting out feels good in the moment. It’s like letting out bottled up steam. But this can wreak havoc in your life and body as again, it spikes cortisol and often hurts those around you.
Acting out in the moment means you are likely feeling like you are up against something that just isn’t right. Your emotions feel hot, and you need a release.
But what you need it to again, express your emotions in an appropriate way.
How to do this: One thing I recommend practicing is breathwork. It really can help you slow down and helps put you in a meditative state. Do this in the mornings and tell yourself that you are going to be extra present that day. Being extra present means you can catch yourself in the moment before acting on something that might be a negative experience.
4. Manage stress
Stress is a root of so many diseases! You must, MUST get your stress under control before it starts to eat away at your body. If it already has started to do that, you can still turn things around!
People always talk about how stress can affect you mentally, but for some reason… that is often not enough for them to change their habits. So perhaps hearing how it can impact you physically will help push you in the right direction:
For one, Stress can do quite a number on our hormones. We need to recognize how much stress we have in our lives because chronic stress can cause cortisol levels to remain elevated. Not just spike one but remain that way. That’s not good! (Source + Source) Cortisol keeps your body in fight or flight and we cannot heal unless we are able to get into a parasympathetic state.
Your emotional health is tied to your physical health and of all the wellness goals I mention, this one is the one directly tied to disease more than anything other-- hence the studies I listed! You must get on top of your stress this year.
How to do this: I recommend talk therapy and prayer first and foremost. Often times getting things off your chest and spending time with Jesus will relieve stress. Other things you can do is exercise or do yoga. Yoga or exercise in general can very much help our stress levels. Not only should we be concerned about cortisol, but we should also care about insulin when it comes to stress and exercise. Exercising regularly CAN positively impact insulin levels. (Source) People also report feeling so much happier after exercise, due to endorphins. Even just a walk a day is helpful!
5. Strive for balance
When I wrote my 5 pillars of health, I said that each one balances the other. That there is no one that is greater than the other (maybe except spirituality, which I put first.) But I mention how each area of our life is a beautiful compliment to another.
My five pillars of health are as follows: Physical, Emotional, Mental, Social, and Spiritual.
As an example, here is why I need balance in all five areas and why each one should not be neglected.
When I am not sleeping enough or eating clean (physical pillar), then I am unable to be social because I don’t have the energy (social pillar.)
When I am not being around friends and family enough or I’m not giving them dedicated time each day (social pillar), I lose a sense of community and purpose (emotional pillar) and therefore I start to feel sad and disconnected.
When I feel I am living without purpose and I feel my control over my emotions is dwindling emotional pillar) I am not as strong and steadfast in my business (mental pillar.)
When I am not thinking with a clear head (mental pillar), I am not rationalizing how important my time is with God (spiritual pillar) and when I don’t spend time with God, I feel lost.
When my spiritual pillar is falling, it feels as though everything is falling.
Do you see how they are all connected? I cannot work on one without working on the other. When I am feeling strong in my body (physical) I am operating on more endorphins and feel good hormones and expressing myself positively (emotional.) When I feel fulfilled emotionally it brings more purpose into my work and my mind (mental.) When I have energy and am happy and in control of how I proactively react to things, I am more likely to be social and a light in my community. (Social) Jesus gives me the strength to do all of this. (Spiritual.)
How to do this: I recommend writing down your own pillars of health and taking inventory. Where are you investing a lot of time? Where are you sacrificing time? Find areas where you can move things around and plan your life around fueling each of those pillars. This is the year you can do it!
6. Take care of your physical health
As I said in my last point, you can’t have one pillar of health without the other. When you are not exercising the body, helping it detox, and fueling it with proper food and rest… it will be hard to operate at your highest self emotionally.
I do not believe that you need to be doing intense workouts every day, or even multiple times a week. However, I do believe that you need to be moving your body every single day- even if it is just a simple walk.
I also do not believe that you need to have a *perfect* diet. Operating with the 80/20 rule is usually doable for most people. 80% of the time you are eating plant based, whole foods, and the other 20% you can be a little more lenient.
This can be the year you make strides in your physical health! I know you can do it.
How to do this: Ask for an accountability partner in someone who lives with you or that you talk to often. Maybe this is your spouse or one of your children or a close friend. Having someone who is also trying to achieve physical health goals checking in on you helps you reach those goals faster! It is motivating to see other people doing it and you always don’t want to let them (or yourself) down.
7. Connect with others
We as humans are created to have friends and family and be social. This gives us purpose and a sense of belonging. The bible tells us multiple times, and shows us in stories, just how important community is. I am very active with my community and spending time with my family is always a priority. I find that it also energizes me, which helps me lead a healthier life!
If you feel you have no friends or family, this is something you can’t neglect this year. You can’t sit there and wait for people to come to you either although I urge you to pray that the right people come into your lives.
This must be the year when you start to begin to be open to welcoming people into your life. It must be the year when you realize how much you can add to other’s lives, and how you shouldn’t deny them your presence!
How to do this: Get out there, join groups, see friends, build community! This will nourish your soul more than you will ever know. There are often community boards posted around asking for volunteers. There are church groups. There are friends you haven’t talked to in a long time. Tell yourself that every day you are going to make an effort to connect with at least one person.
8. Find purpose and meaning
We do not have to operate in default mode. We can surround ourselves with those people, activities and moments that allow us to live with purpose. We are all terminal and have an expiration date. What matters is what we do and how we choose to live in between. What will we do today to live our lives fully, in positivity, joy and hope?
If you do not know what your purpose is, look back to your childhood. What brought you joy? Look to Jesus- are you asking him for clarity day in and day out?
When you have purpose, your whole life shifts. Your health shifts. Your emotional wellbeing shifts. Make this the year where you are living your life ON PURPOSE. Do not act on robot mode. Shifting to defaults. No, you are more than this!
How to do this: Spend time reflecting on what lights you up inside. What gets you excited and makes you feel fulfilled? Once you gain some data from your self-reflection, take this to Jesus. Walk with him and talk with him and try to figure out how He sees this operating in your life.
A life with purpose is a beautiful life.
May you achieve all this and more in 2021!
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I’m inspired to share my healing journey here, and trust you’ll find hope, encouragement and purpose as you discover the healing power that lies within you. Sign up to get notifications when I post a new article.