Stressors are coming from all directions these days in our fast-paced world. As a culture, we need ways to keep our emotions in check and minds healthy. Resorting to medications with dangerous side effects or methods requiring a high financial commitment is not a solution, it’s a band-aid at best.
Using the word “need” is not an exaggeration either. We do need ways to create emotional balance without the solution creating another set of problems such as adverse health-related side effects and/or addiction.
Our minds process anywhere from 12 to 50,000 thoughts a day. If we don’t channel those thoughts in the right direction, it can lead to devastating results.
Statistically, our direction as a nation has not been life-affirming.
According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, which is part of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, our nation’s suicide rate during the decade of 2007 to 2017 increased by nearly 24%. More alarming, the number of adolescents between 12 and 17 years of age, who had an MDE (major depressive episode) increased by 60.2%. This amount of growth, of course, does not point to a lowering of our increased suicide rate growth.
While this trend will require more than is suggested in this post, there are some natural solutions you can put to use with no financial outlay. These four daily life hacks won’t cost you any more than a change of attention and behavior.
When you adopt these daily habits and work at them, you will learn to become the master of your emotions rather than being the victim of them. Let’s get started.
The most important habit that can help you improve your emotional health is being able to understand your emotions. However, you first need to identify them to begin the process of understanding them.
Identifying your feelings includes the process of understanding the differences between, say:
and a host of other emotions and the thought processes that accompany them. By clearly recognizing your emotional expressions, you can begin to understand patterns, identify triggers, and determine which emotions are causing you to make which decisions.
Naming your feelings helps you better regulate them. Without understanding what you are feeling or where these emotions came from, you cannot make the best decisions about what to do with them.
When you put a label on your feelings, you reduce your physiological response. When you consciously begin to identify what annoys you, for example, your body stops producing as many stress hormones because it understands that you are not in danger. Identifying anxiety improves your chances of choosing a way to reduce the cause of that anxiety, rather than allow it to fester into a helpless sense of depression.
The first life hack then is to practice naming.
Mindfulness is the practice of paying closer attention to what is happening in your present and your response to it. However, this doesn’t mean that you make mindfulness a nauseating, self-absorption that shuts you off from experiencing the people and events in your life. It means that you permit yourself to become more open to an awareness of your feelings and thoughts and your interior responses to them.
Mindfulness teaches you to accept and acknowledge your internal responses rather than become overwhelmed by them. You begin to develop the practice of managing your emotions better. As you develop mindfulness, you will become more self-aware and additionally enhance your ability to concentrate.
Some practices which help develop mindfulness can include:
Self-talk is the voice inside your head that is narrating your life. It can be a voice of optimism and positivity. Unfortunately, for many of us, it is a voice of criticism and pessimism.
When your self-talk focuses on what you did wrong, what is wrong with you, and how you need to improve, it affects your emotional health and well-being. Changing that negative self-talk into more positive affirmations is essential for improving how you feel.
When you hear that negative voice chime in, ask yourself if what you are saying to yourself is based in reality.
If the answer is no, then you have confirmation that your own negative bias is sabotaging you. You can ignore those thoughts and move forward.
If the answer is yes, you need to decide which two or three actions to take to resolve the problem. Once you have made your decision, then start acting.
A final tactic you can employ is to ignore the negative voice that keeps popping up in your mind. If you neglect your inner critic long enough, it will eventually stop talking because no one is home to listen.
Curiosity is a hallmark of the emotionally healthy. When you are curious, you are more open to ways to keep learning and growing in your life. When you develop a curiosity about your inner being, it will lead to continuous improvement and development.
You become more self-aware and pay more attention to your needs, as well. When you ask questions of yourself, it keeps you open to new perspectives and ideas. This practice not only helps you, but it also enables you to develop better empathy and understanding of what others may be going through as well.
Employing these four life hacks will help you enhance your emotional health. You will begin to develop a more positive outlook, which will empower you to resolve emotional and mental issues more effectively.
They aren’t meant to be the total answer of course. However, they will take the edge off your negative emotional states and begin to put the control back in your hands where it belongs.
Creating a more positive emotional state requires self-awareness and focus. These four life hacks will need both of those skills plus a willingness to be completely honest with yourself.
The result will be an enhanced ability to handle adversity in your life, which will help you make the changes you need to live a healthier and happier lifestyle.
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