Emotional wellbeing: our quick guide
- Emotional wellbeing involves your ability to reflect on your actions, regulate your emotions and deal with change or unhappiness.
- It has a huge impact on your physical and mental health.
- There are five key factors that can help you improve your emotional wellbeing
- Connecting with people around you
- Having an active lifestyle
- Take notice
- Learning new things
- Giving to others
What is emotional wellbeing?
Emotional wellbeing is about how you think, feel, and experience the world around you. It includes lots of different aspects - your ability to be diplomatic, how you regulate your emotions, your ability to reflect on your choices, and your ability to deal with change, conflict or unhappiness. Emotional wellbeing is something we can all improve.
Emotional wellbeing is closely linked to mental health. Mental health or wellbeing is often related to your personal circumstances at the time, for example bereavement, relationship breakdown, work or housing difficulties.
Emotional wellbeing is how you deal with these things - how well you can reflect, regulate your emotions and be resilient. It’s important to remember that resilience is not ignoring your emotions or bottling them up. It’s knowing how to feel them and accept them, but not letting them hurt your ability to function.
Why is emotional wellbeing important
Good emotional wellbeing has tangible benefits on both your physical and mental health. It increases self-esteem, productivity, and performance.
It helps your blood pressure stay low, keeps your heart rate low, reduces the risk of anxiety and depression, and improves sleep. Happier people live longer, have better immunity to sickness and have a lower risk of depression.
Whilst we don’t wish to suggest that you can 'get over' depression, it is important to take small, manageable steps to try and help yourself as much as you can.
How can I improve my emotional wellbeing?
Research from the New Economics Foundation has identified five steps that contribute to emotional wellbeing - this theory has since been adopted by the NHS and the Australian government. These are the five steps they found:
Making time for friends and family isn’t shallow or frivolous - friendship and community is a fundamental human need. You can try calling someone instead of sending them an email or text message, asking the cashier in the shop how their day’s going, or getting back in touch with an old friend. It can seem scary at first, but most people want to connect with other people too.
2. Be active
This doesn’t have to mean a run or trip to the gym - just some light stretching or a short walk with a friend can make a world of difference. If you’re living with a disability or long term condition, you can find help on getting active with a disability on the NHS website.
3. Take notice
Being present in the moment, or ‘mindful’ is a great way to centre yourself. It’ll help you react more constructively to different, often difficult situations. If you feel your thoughts running away, you can try to notice something you can see, hear, touch, and smell. It can help you place yourself back in the moment.
Learning something new has incredible benefits. It allows you to keep your brain engaged, meaning you reduce your risk of dementia, it can build self-confidence and allow you to meet new people related to your hobby. Learning a new language, musical instrument or skill can open up a world of possibilities - potentially even allow you to develop a new career or move abroad.
Being kind to others can make you happy, and increase your self-esteem. There are lots of options - you can make or buy a small gift for someone you care about, take time to really listen to them about how they’re feeling, or even find somewhere in the local community to volunteer.