Emotional health is key to holistic wellness. We value it as one of the six dimensions of wellness at Habitude Fitness! I often hear some of my class members comment that our HIIT class is their therapy, or the week goes better after they get their Tuesday night sweat session in. This proves that our stress level, our thoughts, actions, and behaviors can be affected by how we feel physically. We shouldn’t be surprised! We know that when we get nervous we may experience butterflies in the stomach or a red face. Stress can cause hives, increased aches and pains, ulcers or even ignite some IBS. We might not even realize the effects our emotions are playing on our health, but the physical symptoms we experience from day to day are a sign to draw our attention inward.
There are so many things minute by minute throughout our day that can affect how we feel emotionally. From the heavy traffic on the way to work, or a co-worker not pulling their weight. Perhaps you have little ones at home, get sad when the winter grey sky arrives, or are struggling with your body image. Chronic health issues or financial worries may consume your thoughts as well as school, friends, work, and just trying to manage it all. Maybe you’re swamped with work and the light at the end of the tunnel seems dim. When we get emotionally stressed by those we love the most, the symptoms could be even worse. Whatever triggers emotional upset is sometimes out of our control. However, how we react and deal with this upset is something that can make each of us not only happier but healthier!
The holidays are quickly approaching and this can be a fun and joy-filled time for many. However, it can also cause a heavy dose of stress. Dealing with to-do lists, travel, spending, and families (and the ups and downs that accompany them), can either make us bitter and distant, or provide a challenge and opportunity to let go, forgive, and love. (And for some reason, that is SO much more difficult!!:)
Each of us is uniquely wired and gifted. With our uniqueness often comes difficulty relating to, and understanding others. I believe many of us adopted the language to interact with those around us from our parents. We practice what we were taught or what was modeled for us. However, as we grow up, move away, get married, get jobs, and experience life; the things we value, and the way we interact are bound to change!
Gary Chapman, the author of The Five Love Languages, has made the intricacies of relating to others easy to understand once you know who you are and who the people around you are.
The Five Love Languages include words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, quality time, and physical touch. Chapman states that typically we feel most understood and loved when those around us are speaking OUR language. In the same sense, you will naturally gravitate to treating others how you like to be treated. Or rather, how you best feel loved, heard, valued, and understood. Sometimes this works, but most of the time it doesn’t hit that home run you may desire. (Unless of course, you both share the same language!;)
My primary love language is words of affirmation. I am a words person and always have been! To ease the emotional tension I can write in a journal or talk to someone and feel a lot better. I love to hand-write cards to honestly express to others my gratitude, how I am feeling, or what I am thinking in regards to our relationship. The same holds true when words are spoken to me. They can make me feel loved and cherished a million times over, or wreck me for a good while. This has been a good growth opportunity for me as I grow in learning how to deal with others and their words. I have learned that sometimes people are not capable to express themselves, or can’t understand like I am hoping they would. Then, it’s up to me (i get to choose my response) to navigate this in a healthy way and not to hold them at fault. Looking at things realistically helps me to let go, forgive, and love more appropriately and more effectively.
If you would like to know what your Love Language is, take a free assessment. There are resources for interacting with your spouse, your kids, your company, your teens, singles, and those in the military.
I believe if we are all more mindful of what could be stressing us-big or small, we can approach any upset with more confidence. It’s when we ignore or bury our feelings that the snowball effect begins.
No, we can’t control our hectic long commutes, but we can find solutions on how to keep our tension down. Books on CD, your favorite tunes, deep diaphragmatic breathing, neck stretches, a delicious cup of coffee, saying something you are grateful for, or listening to your favorite podcast may all aid in taking your mind away from a less than desirable situation. (And this is indeed a discipline You can just do these things and all gets better. You have to work with them and practice the changes you want to make!) When it comes to issues bigger than traffic, keep in mind that connecting, fixing wrongs, or relating to others effectively is far from easy. It will take humility, patience, perseverance, and maybe even letting someone down. As a recovering people pleaser, saying no has gotten easier and made me a healthier woman!
We all desire the best for our lives, as well as for those around us. No sits backs and says, “Yeah, I think I want to just go through the motions of my life.” We want big things!
Let’s remember to be patient and forgiving.
Don’t hold a grudge.
Don’t sweat the small stuff this holiday season.
Don’t be afraid to do what you need to do to take care of yourself and maintain your values – doing the right thing pays off eventually.
Have open honest conversations with those you love, even if it hurts at first. Talking is healing and necessary for understanding and personal growth.
Agree to disagree, get enough sleep, spend time doing things you enjoy.
Laugh! (When I am stressed I try to watch some Jimmy Kimmel or reruns of The Office, New Girl, or Friends:)
Stretch, eat healthily, and find people in your life that you can trust to engage with- people you can be yourself around!
How is your emotional health today, and what can you do to get healthier?
In this with you…