6. Find and create practices to help yourself feel as good as possible.
If your goal this year is to feel calmer, more connected, less distressed, and headed to a better place by 2021, try out a few of the practices below (or others you find in your research). Practice any one that you can commit to trying for a month. Then evaluate if you feel better as a result.
If so, keep doing it. If not, that’s ok too. Just try out another practice until you find the one(s) right for you:
- Wake up in a way that feels the least anxiety-provoking. For example, I am not a morning person. Now that my kids are all grown, I give myself permission to have coffee in bed an hour or two before I have to get up and ready for work. I set my alarm clock accordingly.
- Start the day with grounding and breathing exercises and repeat as needed at least two more times throughout the day. Slowing down for brief periods may actually increase your productivity. It does mine.
- Muster your courage, risk embarrassment, and share something emotional with someone who is kind-hearted. Share from an authentic place inside you. No need to fix anything. It’s amazing how talking about our feelings openly with someone who listens compassionately transforms a bad feeling into something better.
- Start a book group or peer group to talk about life.
- At the end of every day, try a soothing ritual like taking a hot bath, having hot tea while you put the kids to bed, or stretching as you listen to music (you can do this with kids and teens too).
- Start a gratitude journal (there’s research that shows it helps). All you do is write down three new things every day for which you feel grateful. Some people write them on notes and drop them in a “gratitude box.”
- Cook a new healthy recipe every week.
- Write for five minutes in a journal without editing or judging what you write.
- Talk to your “future self” every now and again. Make sure you are moving toward your goals. Try this gentle exercise for a “future self” experience.
- Work the Change Triangle to name and validate your emotions. The benefits are many. The Change Triangle is the go-to tool that I use personally and professionally every single day to build emotional strength and resilience.
- With a partner or on your own, read books about psychology, trauma recovery, emotions, relationships, and communication that you can implement.
- Add your own: _______________________________
A new year is an opportunity for change. Yet, change is hard—very hard. This year, I am challenging myself with a Whole 30 diet for the month of January. It’s my second time braving this very daunting practice. It means no alcohol and no putting anything in my body that isn’t 100 percent natural.
I dread the feeling of deprivation and I am excited to exert my willpower and lose a couple of pounds. I intend to lean into the sensations of deprivation and meditate on them without gratifying my desire to feel full.
I hope you will challenge yourself in 2020 so in 2021 you can look back at this year with pride that you have done even one small thing differently and better. You can do it!
A+ for trying!
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For free resources on emotions, visit hilaryjacobshendel.com
Want to know more about how you can improve your emotional health? Check this video out below!
Originally appeared on Psychology Today Republished with permission
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why is emotional health important?
Emotional health is important because it’s a crucial part of a person’s overall well-being. Emotionally healthy people have a good grip on their emotions, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, and know how to handle tough situations.
What is emotional health?
Emotional health or emotional well-being can be defined as the person’s emotional quality and emotional response to the experiences they have in life.
What are some examples of emotional health?
Some of the most prominent signs of good emotional health are self-awareness, healthy coping skills, emotional agility, the ability to manage stress and tough situations, and living life with purpose.