Feeling great starts here.

Emotional well-being encompasses how you feel about yourself, your ability to successfully manage your feelings as you deal with life's challenges, and the quality of your relationships. Being emotionally balanced can be a strong contributor to your overall mental and physical health.

Signs of Emotional Health

Being emotionally healthy is more than simply being free from depression, anxiety, or other psychological issues; it also refers to having positive characteristics, including:

  • Resiliency in the face of difficulties
  • The ability to adapt to change
  • A sense of purpose
  • A feeling of completeness and contentment
  • The ability to create fulfilling relationships
  • A felling of self-confidence and positive self-esteem
  • The ability to have fun and enjoy yourself

Impact on Physical Health

Your emotional state can often cause a significant physical response (as demonstrated by the "fight or flight" response that is triggered by a perceived threat). Where you are at emotionally can also have a significant impact on your overall physical health. This phenomenon—sometimes called the "mind/body connection"—can be particularly acute when you are anxious or upset. Experiencing extreme stress over a period of time, for example, might trigger a physical response—or cascade of responses—that could lead to the development of high blood pressure or stomach problems, for example.

While the following symptoms can indicate the presence of other serious illnesses (and as such should be discussed with your health care provider), they can also be signs that your emotional health is out of balance:

  • Back pain
  • Change in appetite
  • Chest pain
  • Digestive issues
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Lightheadedness
  • Palpitations
  • Sexual problems
  • Sleep issues
  • Sweating
  • Weight change

When to Seek Professional Help

If you continue to suffer from the effects of emotional distress and feel overwhelmed by it, you should contact a professional. Here are some red flags to look out for:

  • Inability to sleep
  • Feeling down, hopeless, or helpless most of the time
  • Problems with your ability to concentrate that are interfering with your work or home life
  • Using alcohol, drugs, food, or tobacco to cope with difficult emotions
  • Negative or self-destructive thoughts or fears that you can't control*
  • Thoughts of death or suicide*

* Having self-destructive behavior or thoughts, especially suicidal ones, is a symptom that needs immediate attention. If you experience such feelings and feel that you need help, call your EAP (see information to the right) or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s toll-free number, which is available 24 hours every day of the year: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This service is available to everyone. You may call for yourself or for someone you care about. All calls are confidential.

Everyone is different; not all things for emotional balance will be equally beneficial to all people. Some people may enjoy relaxing and slowing down, while others need more activity and stimulation to feel better. The important thing is to find activities that you enjoy and that give you relief.

Some people may need someone qualified to provide them with the necessary tools and guide them in the right direction, so don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional, when you need to.

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Emotional Well-Being

5 Ways to Improve Your Emotional Well-Being

To improve your emotional health, you first must try to recognize your emotions and understand what may be triggering them. Sorting out the causes of sadness, stress, and anxiety in your life can help you manage your emotional health. Here are some helpful tips.

1) Express your feelings in appropriate ways.

If feelings of stress, sadness, or anxiety are causing physical problems, keeping these feelings bottled up can make you feel worse. It may be helpful to reach out and ask someone outside the situation—such as your EAP counselor, a family doctor, a friend, or religious advisor—for support and advice to help you improve your emotional health.

2) Look for balance.

Try not to obsess about the problems at work, school, or home that could lead to negative feelings. Instead, focus on the positive things in your life and make time for the things you enjoy. You may want to use a journal to keep track of things that make you feel happy or peaceful. Try to write every evening before you go to sleep. You may just get a better nightís rest.

3) Develop resilience.

People with resilience are able to cope with stress in healthy ways. Resilience can be learned and strengthened with different strategies, such as:

  • Maintaining a positive view of yourself
  • Accepting change
  • Keeping things in perspective
  • Developing a strong social support network of friends, loved ones, and like-minded acquaintances

4) Calm your mind and body.

Relaxation methods—such as meditation—are useful ways to bring your emotions into balance. Meditation can take many forms. For example, you may come to a meditative state quietly sitting on your own, with a spiritual group, or while exercising, stretching, or breathing deeply. Visit the FOH's Stress Awareness page for a simple meditation technique.

5) Take good care of yourself.

Physical health is a big contributor to emotional health. To keep your stress levels low, try practicing the following routine: Get regular physical activity (walk, bike, swim, etc) to relieve pent-up tension, eat healthy meals that give you good nutrition, and get quality sleep. Also, try to avoid overeating and consuming too much alcohol.

Adapted from content copyrighted by American Academy of Family Physicians

Did You Know?

EAP logoIf you need support, you can always contact your EAP (Employee Assistance Program). Offering short-term counseling, the EAP can help you and your family members deal with many of life's challenges, including help with work, family, personal matters, and sometimes legal and financial issues, too. Check your agency’s intranet or speak to someone in your HR department for contact information for your EAP.

If your agency is an FOH EAP customer, you have 24/7/365 access to your EAP at absolutely no cost to you. To contact your FOH EAP, call toll free, anytime day or night, 1-800-222-0364 (TTY: 1-888-262-7848) or access the EAP on the Web at www.FOH4You.com