Emotional (and mental) wellness is something some people don’t think they need to pay attention to, but its SO important to protect, nourish and intentionally pursue emotional wellness.
What is emotional wellness/health?
This is my definition: emotional wellness/health is apart of your mental health. It’s feelings which lead to certain thoughts and behaviors that impact other areas of your life.
According to Healthyplace.com :
Emotional health is a state of positive psychological functioning. It can be thought of as an extension of mental health; it’s the “optimal functioning” end of the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that make up both our inner and outer worlds. It includes an overall experience of wellness in what we think, feel, and do through both the highs and lows of life.
Did you know, your emotional health can impact your physical health?
When you are angry do you sometimes literally feel your blood pressure rise? Or start getting chest pain when you are worried or anxious? Oh I know I have! and its not a good feeling. Emotions aren’t meant to be held on to. Its okay to feel sad, angry or sometimes anxious…but its not a good idea to hold on to these things and internalize them. The bible tells us not to go to sleep angry (Ephesians 4:26) …but lets take a minute to understand why. Let me start by saying its O.K. to be/feel angry but its not ok to be angry and go on a complete rage, calling names or harming yourself or others. When we go to sleep with angry in our hearts that anger can grow and turn into bitterness.
A bitter person often walks around, spewing their bitterness on other people and a downward spiral ensues not too long after. Now your angry, bitter, resentful all these things because of something someone said or did. One thing I have learned this year is not to let anyone project their nasty behavior or attitude onto you. Sometimes its easy to be petty and be like well I’m gonna slang that attitude right back at him or her! But what good will it do? Its YOU that will feel it when its all said and done, and their attitude has nothing to do with you baby (*best said in a New Orleans accent–but thats a different topic haha), that attitude is a reflection of them and something they need to sort out.
How to handle your overwhelming emotions-instead of projecting onto others:
- Praying and or having recorded prayers on replay. Praying helped me to keep my head above water and to not have a complete and utter mental breakdown. I prayed long prayers, warfare prayers, short prayers, silent ones…I had to pray to make it through the rough time I was having. Prayer prayer videos helped me too… Pastor Robert Clancy has absolutely AMAZING videos pertaining to almost everything one could possibly be going through in life. They help me right now in a major, major way. Watch them here.
- Spending time in nature or just outdoors in general. Being around in the sun, and around trees/plants, and mountains truly have a calming effect on the body. Houston in particular has some of the most beautiful parks, as well as New Orleans, Washington, DC and the new England area.
- Exercising–This is like therapy for me. Whenever I would feel angry or anxious even depressed, I’d go to the gym and lift weights. I instantly felt more relaxed and It helped me sleep better most times.
- Journaling– I felt this was one of the ways I could make sense of the abuse I was experiencing. I could write down my thoughts in its raw form.
Last year and part of this year I experienced emotional abuse, gas-lighting, narcissistic abuse. It was terrible, I didn’t know how to handle it because obviously it was something I hadn’t experienced to that level. This is exactly why we need to learn how to protect our emotional health, not only in situations like the one I went through but in everyday life: at work, school, home, church etc.
Protecting and Pursuing Emotional wellness:
Use DISCERNMENT!! Everyone who comes into your life IS NOT your friend. Understand this and begin to put this into practice. Are they the type of person who always takes and never gives? They belong in a certain place in your life. Don’t get close to this person. Watch and observe people…not in a creepy or weird way, but just be quiet and observe. Is this person manipulative? a user? a gossip? jealous/envious? If so, RUN as fast as your legs can carry you, don’t look to the left, right or center! I don’t play about keeping toxic people around me not now or ever again. It’s important to note that in as much as its good to be observant its also important not to keep a wall up all the time or act out of past hurt/ experiences, which isn’t healthy either.
Its perfectly OK to keep certain people at a distance or cut them off completely in order to have peace of mind. If someone makes you feel a certain way…say no to the invitation. Hang out by yourself, light a candle or two and have a solo night complete with movies and popcorn. Sometimes for me having too many people around puts me in overdrive and it can be draining. Saying no to going out of your way to do something for someone when you know you can’t do it is 100 percent fine. I always say its better to do something cheerfully than do something and then start complaining *side eye*. Be polite but direct.
To sum it up:
I’d like to conclude by saying that protecting your emotional health is something that should be practiced every single day. Recognize what you are feeling, process it and leave it alone. Give those emotions to the Lord. It can be as simple as saying, ” Lord I’m so angry right now, take this anger away from me and fill me with your peace”. As I’m typing this I’m learning and growing too. I’m putting one foot in front of the other on the path of growth in this area of my life, lets begin on this journey together, shall we?