7 Tips to Improve Emotional Health
Last updated: July 2021
Our mental health is very important to our overall health and well-being. However, in many cases, it is often the last aspect of our health to be treated.
Trial and error
Living with chronic health issues can bring up many different feelings and emotions, from sadness and despair to anxiety and shame. In fact, The National Institute of Mental Health has found that those living with chronic health issues may be more likely to deal with depression at one time or another.1
It may take some trial and error but mental health issues, like any other health issue, are treatable. Finding ways to treat any mental health concern, as well as your physical health, can provide help in coping with your chronic conditions.
Tips for improving emotional well-being
Find the best provider for you
In order to fully take care of your whole being it is so important you feel comfortable expressing your feelings and asking any questions you may have. If you need help finding a provider, you might try talking to another provider that you trust. If you don’t have a trusted provider you might consider calling your insurance company for recommendations or asking others in your area who deal with similar health issues.
Put in the time to learn
Be willing to put in the time to really learn about your condition. Having knowledge and understanding of your chronic health condition makes it easier to make well-informed choices.
Discuss emotional health
Don’t be afraid to discuss your emotional health and well-being with your provider. In order to treat you as a whole person, your provider needs to have a good understanding of what is going on. Living with a chronic illness can increase your everyday stress as well impacting your overall well-being. If you are dealing with feelings of anxiety or living with depression it can make treating your condition more difficult.
Find a way to come to terms with the fact that your roles in life, as well as your priorities, may change. Chronic health issues have a way of shifting your sense of self as well as your identity. When you are ill you may have to adjust your roles in certain areas of your life.
You may have been the one who was always taking care of others and now you may need to be the one receiving help. The feelings that accompany these changes can bring up many emotions. If you are struggling with the changes happening don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help.
New limitations and challenges
Be prepared to accept and acknowledge that chronic illness may present new limitations and challenges. This one can be really hard and may take some time and compassion for yourself to accept. But it is something that we all have to acknowledge at one point or another.
It can be hard to delegate tasks you have been doing on your own for many years to someone else. In the long run, you have to decide what is more important. Crossing things off your to-do list, or taking care of yourself? This may take some self-reflection and consideration of your situation to come to terms with it. But you need to give yourself some grace as well allowing you to take time to do things. Your to-do list may no longer get done in one day and that is okay.
Learn to practice mindfulness as means of stress reduction. Studies over the last few years have found that doing mindful-based practices are actually quite effective as a means of lowering stress. They can also help improve your ability to cope with pain and stress.2 Spending just 10 minutes a day in quiet reflection while doing deep breathing exercises or a guided meditation can help to lower your stress level.
This is not something everyone is comfortable doing so it may take some time and some practice to see the results. You may also find benefit in listening to your favorite music while relaxing and thinking of things that make you happy or bring you joy.
Exercise is an important part of physical and emotional well-being. Recent studies have shown that your mood can improve after exercise.3 You don’t need to pay for an expensive gym membership or products. Something as simple as walking can be beneficial. But remember to always check with your provider before starting any new program.
The whole person
As we discuss our health it is essential that we look at the WHOLE PERSON. Not just the problems impacting our physical health. Working to treat our mental/emotional health and spiritual health can greatly improve our physical health.
Besides heart failure, do you have any other chronic medical conditions?
Join the conversation