By Grace Snarr
The thing is, being well isn’t completely about being physically healthy. Last article, we discussed being mentally and spiritually well. This week, we’re going to discuss emotional health and what keeps it in balance.
Just like the other three aspects (physical, emotional, and mental), emotional health needs just as much attention to create full wellness. Disregarding even one quadrant can lead to anxiety, illness, and overall unbalance. It can feel as if you’re dangling over a pit of crocodiles, and the rope is looking like it is at the end of its rope.
The thing is, being emotionally well isn’t difficult. The trick is creating specific, targeted routines to keep you in check. This process is similar to a tune up of a cherry-red Ferrari. (Hint: you’re the Ferrari.) Being willing and open to creating growing space is crucial to whole emotional wellness.
We often get so caught up in being the best: the best player, the best student, the best in our friend group. Sometimes, we even stop regarding what’s best for us, and instead, believe what others think is best for us. Believing this can harm us in more ways than one. It can even destroy our former perception of who we are, to bits! We will become the result of what’s happening around us, not what we choose.
Preventing this problem is the first step. In many instances, we don’t realize we are losing our emotional balance. Unfortunately, it is when we’re tumbling through the air that we realize we’re lost, when we’re actually falling.
One way we can prevent this is taking care of the other four quadrants. Without physical, mental, and spiritual health, we cannot expect to achieve emotional health. Drinking lots of nourishing water, staying connected to God (Higher Power, Allah, whatever you prefer to call the Divine), and seeking out the best education and information are all different ways we do this.
If we recognize that we have already slipped a bit, don’t freak! It’s okay. It is just a matter of decision, of deliberate choice, that determines our fate.
The next step is going to sound stupid, it’s so simple.
Keep a journal.
Psych Central Magazine says this on journaling:
“There is increasing evidence to support the notion that journaling has a positive impact on physical well-being. University of Texas at Austin psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker contends that regular journaling strengthens immune cells, called T-lymphocytes. Other research indicates that journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.”
“Okay,” you say. “I could eat broccoli every day, and it would make me healthier. Duh.” Well, yeah, it would. But we’re not just talking about the physical aspect of journaling. Let’s go over a few key points to the emotional benefits of writing.
- Clarify your ideas and emotions. Have you ever felt jumbled? Like you’re inside one of those drink mixers? I have, and I know that once I begin to feel that way, I can turn to my journal. Free writing is also a great way to release tension in your mind.
- Find yourself. By writing routinely, you can begin to see your thought patterns, how you feel, and who you are! It’s incredible to pull back five pages and see the progress you’ve made.
- Reduce stress. Writing about your emotions is one of the best tools to release them. When you feel like you want to punch someone, write about it. Write about your jaw clenching, your fists balling up. Trust me, when you feel like emotions are taking over, writing in your journal can put this into perspective.
If you don’t have one already, begin by writing in a journal for five minutes a day. If you like what you see above, I promise you’ll feel it when you start.
The third step is to take a piece of paper. Write three things that tick you off, make you sad, hold you back, etc. Then, burn it. “Grace…” you say to me with a suspicious eyebrow raise. Guys, trust me, do it. Letting it all go frees up space to let some love in! Sounds weird, but then again, so does meditation and dancing in the rain.
I love knowing my emotional pain, stress, and hurt can be resolved. It’s a unique process for each person, but these steps are universal in accomplishing and resolving pain. I hope you enjoy!
Let me know how these steps have helped you, what you want to see more of, and how I can help more!
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Grace Snarr is a teen leader and freelance writer who is inspiring teens to achieve their dreams and follow their passions. She has worked with Daniel Blanchard, award-winning speaker, author, and educator. She has also written for Lyndsay Johnson on her popular site. Grace is a sunshine enthusiast, a lover of people, and a passionate writer and leader!