Five Signs of Emotional Health

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There is no way around it: Our mental and emotional experiences are continuously bumping into each other.

Sometimes they give us contradictory information, and other times they become entangled and leave us in confusion.

But our thoughts and emotions are essential for the richness of human experience and the uniqueness of our individual journeys.

Like Twins

Mental and emotional health are fraternal twins. They might look, sound and act differently, but they are inextricably linked. We all know both of these twins, but most of us understand or feel comfortable with one of them more than the other. Part of maturing is getting to know and appreciate the more difficult twin.

Many of us identify with our mental self and are less familiar, less happy with our emotions. Though our thinking might give us problems, it is the uncomfortable feelings associated with our thoughts that we dislike. How often have you considered, “Life would be so much better (or easier) without emotions.”

Five Signs of Good Emotional Health

One way to appreciate and accept the difficult emotional "twin" is to understand what is meant by emotional health.

  1. Emotions and feelings arise spontaneously and are acknowledged without judgment. This is not easy to do if the emotion is a painful or uncomfortable one, but emotions are not a punishment. They hold nothing against.
  2. We use our emotions and feelings to guide us in our actions. So, instead of feeling anger and reacting by lashing out or withdrawing, we use the information that we are angry to help us choose what to do next.
  3. We experience the full range of emotions (e.g., sadness, happiness, anger, fear, joy). Some individuals may seem highly emotional but limit themselves to one or two emotions that they are comfortable expressing.
  4. We do not blame our emotional experience on the actions of others. While it is true that the actions of others can trigger our emotional responses, the trigger is within us and belongs to us. Other people do not pull it.
  5. We experience our emotions without holding on to them. Our feelings and emotions arise, flow, change and dissolve as do ocean waves. Some emotional experiences last longer than we would like, but by allowing them instead of trying to control them, we can notice how they change and eventually resolve.

 
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