Emotional Health & Wellness is this weeks topic for our Wellness Wednesday series.
Week 1: Wellness Wednesday: Removing Toxins From Our Homes, by my dear friend Sarah, of Renaissance Mama.
Week 2: Wellness Wednesday: Exercise & Movement, by my generational twin, Steph Penington.
Week 3: Wellness Wednesday: Food & Gathering, by my very talented YWAM friend Bethany Reid, of CommunityEats.
This week, Denise Legg, of Hope & Wellness Omaha, is sharing on Emotional Health & Wellness. Denise graduated from Grace University in Omaha, Nebraska with a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is a Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner and Licensed Professional Counselor. Her experience includes over a decade in ministry and leadership in a faith-based organization, in-home and agency counseling as well as group work. Denise specializes in helping leaders, caregivers, and professionals heal from and prevent burnout.
a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.
instinctive or intuitive feeling as distinguished from reasoning or knowledge.
normal function of human beings throughout the world, known in every culture
the state or condition of being in good physical and mental health.
Emotional wellness is vital to our overall wellbeing and an important part of authentic self-care.
The mind, body, and spirit are intimately connected. Emotions are a normal part of being human. We all experience emotions. Happy. Sad. Fear. Shame. Anger. Hopeless. Frustration. Bitterness. Joy. Grief. Hope. Stress. It is completely normal to feel happy, angry, and sad.
But, the pain of feeling and processing some of our emotions can become overwhelming and we may deny, ignore, and stuff our emotions. If these emotions are not processed or released, they can cause our bodies to stop working properly. A dear friend and mentor once told me, “If you don’t cry, your body will!” Illness, disease, fatigue, headaches, ulcers, back pain, and digestive issues can be the result of our emotional state.
Our emotions are stored in various parts of the body. This happens subconsciously.
– Joy, grief, and sadness are stored in our heart and lungs. This is why there are stories of people who have actually died from a “broken heart”.
– Stress is stored in the brain and heart and has been shown to cause heart attacks and affect focus/mental clarity.
– Anxiety and worry are stored in stomach.
– Anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness are stored in the liver. The liver is the organ that detoxifies the body. If it’s not working properly, then toxins build up in your body and affect the function of your body systems (i.e. circulatory, digestive, respiratory, endocrine, immune, reproductive, muscular, nervous, skeletal, and lymphatic systems).
For example, stress. We all know about stress. There is good stress and bad stress. Stress can actually kill. According to www.Stress.org, three out of four doctor visits are due to stress related aliments, stress is related to 60% of all human related disease and illness, stress shrinks the brain and leads to psychiatric problems, and stress related aliments cost our nation over $300 billion each year in medical bills and lost production. Managing our stress and other emotions is crucial to our emotional wellness and our quality of life.
7 Key Steps to Emotional Wellness
Make self-care a priority in mind, body, and spirit by taking care of you. Taking care of others is important, but if you’re not here who will take care of them? You need to be strong, healthy and well. So, in other words, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”
Accept Change and Accept That You Can’t Control Everything
In life there are only two things you cannot control or change. The past or other people. Sometimes things will happen that you do not have control over. But, you do have control over how you respond. Choose to accept the changes. Choose to respond with kindness. Choose to walk away when necessary. Take a deep breath and remember to refer to Key #1: Love Yourself.
Choose to forgive those who have offended and hurt you. Bitterness and unforgiveness are stored in our liver. This affects our wellbeing. Remember that forgiving someone does not release him or her from the consequences of their actions, nor does it mean you trust them or allow them into your life.
Laugh and Cry
Laughing releases endorphins, lowers blood pressure, and gives you a great abs workout! Crying helps to flush out toxins, helps to release and process grief and loss, and crying actually makes your stronger. Both laughter and tears reduce our stress hormones. So, watch a funny movie. Dance in the rain. Be silly with the kids. Talk a walk. Let the tears flow.
Eat Well, Exercise, and Play Hard
Eating well matters. What you eat affects your mind, body and spirit. Plan your meals. Choose healthy whole foods; organic fruits, vegetables, and meats. Eliminate processed foods as much as possible. Choose healthy snacks. Limit caffeine and alcohol. Your body will thank you!
Exercise. Just 20 minutes of cardio 3 times a week will boost your serotonin levels and increase your overall energy levels. Take a walk. Ride your bike. Park farther away from the store. Use the stairs. Just MOVE.
Play hard! Host a summer BBQ. Invite a friend for coffee. Join a book club. Go to a matinee by yourself. Take a class at the community college. Take time for YOU!
Diffuse, Inhale, and Apply Essential Oils
Implementing essential oil into your emotional wellness plan can have great benefits. Essential oils can lift and enhance your mood, assist in balancing your emotions, reduce the effects of stress, and support overall emotional well-being.
Our sense of smell is our strongest sense. Fragrance and scent is directly connected to our memories and emotions. Think Grandma’s fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, Mmmmm. When we inhale or diffuse essential oils, the fragrance reaches the limbic system in our brain. The limbic system is the emotional seat of our brain.
Seek Professional Help
Sometimes the pressures and stresses of life can be overwhelming and we need more help. If you are not feeling like yourself, have experienced a major loss or trauma, or find yourself turning to drugs, alcohol or others things to numb the pain you’re feeling, it’s time to reach out for help. Anxiety and depression are very serious and need to be addressed. Talk to someone you trust about recommending a counselor or therapist in your area. Asking for help in a time of need is not weakness but authentic self-care. Reach out today; there is HOPE.
Talk to your doctor. Sometimes there is a medical reason behind our emotional state. For example, thyroid issues, vitamin deficiencies, and other medical conditions can have symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Remember, the mind, body, and spirit are intimately connected. Each part affects the other. Emotions are a normal part of the human experience and emotional wellness is vital to overall well-being and vibrant wellness. So, take the time to invest in your overall well-being and emotional wellness. YOU are worth the investment! Live Loved. Love Well. Carry Hope.
Stay tuned for our last Wellness Wednesday post coming next week!