How are you feeling today?
When was the last time you asked yourself that question? If it's been a while, now may be a good time to do a thorough emotional health check.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, "Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population." Mental illness is a growing illness in the United States and around the world. It is something that needs to be treated with care and must be recognized in order to fully heal.
Your emotional health is just as important as being physically healthy. Your emotional health determines a huge part of your life and if you do not feel emotionally capable of handling certain trials or obstacles in your life, overcoming them will just be that much more difficult.
While it isn't easy to recognize issues with your mental health on the surface, you can begin by asking questions:
How am I feeling today?
Why do I feel the way I do?
What am I doing that is making me feel this way?
What things in my life influence my mood for the good or bad?
Who in my life is making an impact on the way I feel?
Answering these questions and others may provide a good starting point for understanding your emotional well-being at the current moment. You may consider asking questions about your emotional health in the past and how it has led up to your feelings at the present time or even ask questions of how you want to feel in the future and how you may strive to achieve that.
Asking questions about yourself is a healthy practice for coming to understand your inner self. The process will help you recognize a problem and help you come to an understanding of who you are and who you want to be. Taking a closer look inside not only yourself, but your soul, will help you get to a place where you want to be.
In any given situation, make a note of how you act and react. The way you act in certain situations may point to habits you have developed when faced with a problem or challenge. More importantly, taking notice of how you react to certain things is an important step in recognizing your emotional health. Is the way you act or react good or bad? The only way to know is how your actions make you feel at the time. Again, ask yourself how you feel in these situations and what you could personally be doing in order to improve your emotional health.
Recognizing is just the first step, but actually making changes to how you act and react in certain situations is the next. If you want to improve your emotional health, the change starts with you. It may be daunting at first, but take it one step at a time, one challenge at a time, and I promise that you will be able to improve.
This is a simple one, but an important one. Perhaps the best way to understand is to make a list. First, write down all of the things that make you unhappy. This may be the easiest list out of the two to make, which is why you do it first. Once you've finished writing your unhappy list, now make a list of all the things that make you happy. It may be difficult to come up with something, even so, there has to be at least one thing in the world that makes you happy. Once you have that one thing written down, you'll be surprised just how much more comes to mind of things that make you happy.
Now, compare and contrast the lists. If you find one list is greater than the other, it's okay. Each day is a new day and a new challenge. Your challenge? Add at least one thing to your list of what makes you happy each day. Look up instead of down and start seeking out those things that are good in your life and your entire perspective on life will be changed.
In a recent post by Brandon Stanton, the creator and curator of Humans of New York, he came across a young woman in Colombia with a telling story of mental illness:
While she experienced horrible panic attacks, this young woman found that the more she talked to others about how she felt, the more she found that other people felt just the same as she did.
Don't be afraid to talk to others about your feelings. There's nothing more freeing than being able to confide in someone who is willing to listen to you and share their own advice and thoughts with you. You'll be surprised just how many other people are going through similar things to you. We can work through our problems together if we would just talk to each other.
If you are feeling like your emotional health is lacking, seek out help from a loved one or a doctor. A doctor will be able to help you to come to understand what you're going through and perhaps even give you some medication to help you with your emotional health. There's nothing wrong in seeking out help from a doctor. Their sole purpose in life is to help and to heal.
If your emotional health isn't what it could or should be, a doctor will be able to help you. Most importantly, surround yourself with people who love you, who you know you can confide in. They will be able to help you improve your emotional health and help you to become the absolute best person you can be.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or thoughts of suicide get help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit their website at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.