We live in a world that is constantly sending and receiving information; electronically, digitally, in-person, there are hundreds of exchanges taking place each and every moment of the day. With leaps forwards in interconnectivity and technology driving a movement that builds connection we are unmistakably being brought together globally as a result. We are no longer separate islands or continents; we are a global hub and network; a hive of activity.
With masses of information at our fingertips, that no longer stays dormant, it is striving to get our attention; algorithms ensure that targeted advertising is carried out consistently to our electronic devices. There has long been awareness of the effects of globalisation and the impact of the increase of information flow and our resulting behaviours to this phenomena. Time otherwise spent in face to face conversation, silence or stillness has been replaced by scrolling, sometimes sharing every thought and movement and to some extent living out our desires online, projecting the person and life we choose to portray.
The busy lives we lead has an incredible impact on our well-being; this we know to be true. The acceptance of the presence of stress in our lives, oftentimes at high levels that remains constant for months, if not years, on end, perpetuates cycles of intense emotional stress, anxiety and overwhelm. One aspect of emotional well-being is simply slowing down, pausing, taking a break and switching off from the humdrum to regulate our nervous system.
The consequences of seeing burnout, chronic pain, illness, dis-ease, psychological and psychic overwhelm manifesting across populations, countries and cultures indicate the very need for balanced well-being. Building emotional resilience is consequently a vital factor in well-being, health and life fulfilment. Read on to receive exercises and techniques on how to build and maintain emotional well-being.
Why is holistic wellness important?
Modern day living requires an enormous amount of day to day negotiating and decision making. From the moment we wake up in the morning we find ourselves orienting ourselves and family, loved ones, in the day’s activities, as well as tuning in to the web of information that is ever streaming towards us through our screens and devices. We know too well how this can scale up and become what feels like a constant demand of our attention.
Where our attention goes, energy flows.
It is not surprising that increases in anxiety, stress levels and depression are among some of the dis-ease we are experiencing as a result of stimuli overload. Our nervous systems regulate our capacity to feel calm, grounded and safe, which is expressed through our overall sense of well-being physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Our well-being therefore depends on our ability to stay regulated, which is severely tested and compromised with the advent of overstimulated environments.
Holistically, we are all interconnected parts of the whole; as individuals and part of our wider collective family, society and global community. Our environment, the people in our lives and the culture we are among all play significant factors in contributing to well-being too. Holistic health practitioners and modalities such as Ayurveda recognise and emphasise the importance of one’s capacity to manage and adapt to these factors in correlation to well-being.
Emotional awareness and flexibility is therefore needed to cultivate a healthy relationship with oneself. Building emotional resilience through practices of mindfulness, self care and compassion is vital for maintaining emotional well-being. Self care, emotional wellness and well-being is no longer a luxury or ‘would be nice to add on’ for our lives; it’s required as part of survival in modern day society.
Indicators of poor emotional well-being
Our innate and primal adaptation as humans that has kept us present on earth for millennia has evolved over time with us as we have cycled through our collective survival. An interesting dynamic however, is how adaptation has led us through agricultural, industrial and technological ages that has provided new baselines and definitions in how our primary needs of safety and security are met. Stress is inherently connected to our survival; as the mechanism that has ensured our survival and our adaptation to try to accommodate high levels of stress in modern day living contributes to imbalances in body, mind and spirit.
Symptomatically, these imbalances show up as chronic dis-ease, illness, psychological, spiritual and mental disturbances to our health such as anxiety, depression, hyper and hypo states of wellness. Holistic approaches to well-being consider health and well-being linked to the state of balance in body, mind, spirit, people, culture and environment. Each of these aspects of life are the individual or multiple sources that need nourishment to bring enrichment and vitality to our everyday lived experiences.
Emotional well-being constitutes the day to day experience of feelings and emotions, the quality of these experiences, the impact they have on us and our ability to cope and manage stress. The following are indicators that emotional well-being is out of balance:
- Frequent moods swings: high and lows (depressive and/or hyper tendencies)
- Loss of interest in activities, commitments usually enjoyed
- Emotional overwhelm, feeling helpless, disempowered in situations where otherwise we would normally have resilience to cope
- Social isolation and withdrawal from social activities, communities, family and close relationships
- Loss of energy, drive and motivation
- Low self esteem
- Feeling confused and unable or finding it difficult to make decisions
- Disrupted or poor sleep patterns (insomnia, oversleeping)
- Frequent feelings of guilt, anxiety and shame
Exercises for restoring emotional well-being
Whilst emotional well-being is linked to mental, physical and spiritual well-being, an important aspect of emotional well-being is to consider the general day to day experience of feelings and emotions. Acknowledging that the indicators of poor emotional health shared above are not exhaustive, nor in isolation in and of themselves, they are indeed interrelated to overall well-being. A crucial factor for restoring emotional well-being is supporting one’s ability to manage and cope with difficult and challenging emotions and feelings that arise as a result of situations, relationships and life experiences (life stressors included).
Regulating the nervous system is a component to emotional well-being that supports one’s ability to manage and cope with feelings and emotions. A dysregulated nervous system inhibits one’s ability to deal with emotionally challenging situations for example. The fight, flight, freeze or fawn responses are trauma responses to perceived threats that send our nervous systems into dysregulation.
Tools and techniques to regulate the nervous system support emotional well-being as well as mindfulness practices. The following are inspiration for supportive emotional well-being practices.
Refilling your emotional wellness:
- Journalling: Acknowledge, express and validate your emotions and feelings
- Self care: Take time for yourself each day to make sure your basic needs are being met
- Keep a gratitude list
- Social beings: Lean into or join a community network
- Movement: Exercise the physical body and consider holistic movement based practices (Yoga, Tai-Chi, Qigong, Martial Arts, Dance)
- Bring in joy: Surround yourself with things you love
- Practice mindfulness: Cultivates self compassion, love, peace and acceptance
- Rest: Ensure you are getting enough quality sleep
Support: consider consulting with a health and well-being practitioner to learn more about techniques and practices that you can maintain yourself in your daily life
Maintaining emotional wellness
Holistic health practitioners and practices are rooted in creating awareness of the significance of health and its vital role in living a fulfilling life. Taking responsibility for one’s own health and quality of life experience as a result is an empowering approach to being the true author of one’s life and in a sense, destiny. Therefore, the experience of satisfaction, fulfilment and joy stems directly from your state of well-being; physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
The importance of emotional well-being is the connective link to the physical, mental and spiritual experience of life too. One’s ability to manage, cope with and maintain a healthy emotional state requires practices that lend support to this aspect. A vital factor and consideration for living a healthy, balanced and fulfilling life in modern day society.
Furthermore, becoming the author of the life you wish you lead involves cultivating practices that support the areas of life such as body, mind, spirit, people, culture and environment. Creating space for emotional well-being in activities that replenish you and encourage you to slow down and take a pause from high level stress environments and situations, enabling the nervous system to be soothed and regulated. Mindful pauses in practices such as yoga and meditation support stabilise mood, elevate self esteem, reduce anxiety and stress and create connection to self.
Emotional well-being is supported by nurturing relationships that hold meaning and value in our lives. Spending time socially and in environments that help us to feel calm, safe and grounded support emotional regulation too. Additionally, being mindful of the quality and quantity of information we expose ourselves to on a daily basis adds a layer of consideration in emotional well-being.