By Sophia Godkin PhD
Another year, another chance to become the best version of yourself. Every year you get a little bit closer to this “ideal” version of you. And every year, you wonder what more you can do to get just a little bit closer.
Being emotionally healthy – it’s the single most important ingredient to your progress towards becoming your best self, no matter what that “best self” means for you. Here are 5 top ways that you can improve your emotional well-being well into the new year.
- Become aware of your emotions. The majority of the world goes through life unaware of what they are feeling and why, repeating patterns of negative emotions in cyclical patterns. When you begin to pay attention to your emotions and what triggers them, you begin to understand the innermost depths of who you are and you enter a state of true empowerment because awareness grants you the power to choose. “Do I respond as I have in the past or shall I choose a new response to this trigger?” The choice is now yours.
- Express your feelings. Keeping feelings bottled up inside for days, weeks, months, and even years is a recipe for disaster – the kind that happens when you least expect it and takes as its victims unassuming friends and family. Find ways to healthily and appropriately express your feelings instead. First and foremost, be honest with yourself about how you feel. Spend some time alone reflecting on your feelings, record your reflections on a voice recorder, write about them in a journal, discuss them openly with a friend, or yell them out loud in your bedroom. Whatever your preferred mode of expression at any particular time, embrace it and whole-heartedly do it. Expressing your emotions is non-negotiable when it comes to maintaining and improving your emotional well-being. When you embrace, feel, and express what you feel, what you feel no longer controls your actions and life experiences. When you embrace, feel, and express what you feel, you feel free to move forward in your life.
- Focus on the good things. Positive thinking is everything it’s cracked up to be. Positive thoughts lead to positive emotions which lead to positive actions and outcomes which beget more positive thoughts, emotions, actions, and outcomes. So if you haven’t yet created a consistent practice of gratitude in your life, now is the time. Whether in the morning, before dinner, or right before bed, make it a practice to be grateful for where you are now. Don’t just say it; feel it too. And as this once-a-day practice becomes habit, begin to challenge yourself to find the good in even stressful or frustrating situations. Every experience, no matter how seemingly negative, contains within it meaning that is relevant for your personal growth and happiness. So find something to appreciate about every experience that you have. It is by appreciating where you are now that you get even more people, relationships, situations, and things to appreciate in the future unfolding of your life.
- Learn to say no. If there’s one thing you can do in the new year to relieve potential stress, it’s to learn to say no. Because no matter how kind, loving, intelligent, and hard working you are, you cannot do it all. So if you don’t have time or energy for it, say no or at the very least, ask for help in getting it done. Saying no is not selfish and it also isn’t rude. It is a form of self-love, self-respect, and self-care. By saying no to commitments and duties that are outside of what you can or want to devote yourself to, you say yes to nourishing yourself and to showing up fully and lovingly for those commitments that you do choose to engage. Being emotionally healthy is all about balance and saying no is a necessary part of achieving it.
- Stay connected. Nothing promotes emotional well-being quite like having loving, supportive relationships. Reach out to people around whom you naturally become the best version of yourself, people who love you for who you are, and who see the best in you especially when you are unable to see the best in yourself. Develop relationships that make you happy to be alive and that remind you of your inherent worthiness and lovableness. Every one of us has emotional needs that can only be satisfied by the genuine understanding and compassion of another human being. And that, my friends, is the greatest gift we give to one another through shared experience, conversation, friendship, and companionship.
At ph360, health is our #1 priority. As you make yourself a priority in 2018, consider joining us for an in-person complete emotional and physical health reboot.