Having a diary is in no way just reserved for angsty teenagers but can be a very therapeutic tool for people of all ages. Sometimes it’s hard to even understand or put words to what we are thinking and feeling.
Many people find it easier to express emotions by writing them down. This may vary by which media you choose, but the point is that your words are out for you to observe outside if your own head. It may seem tedious at first but according to psychological research (Henry and Slomp, 2008), journaling may create a healthy self-care ritual that strengthens your emotional health and wellbeing.
2. Be mindful.
Mindfulness is a very hot topic in the health and wellbeing atmosphere now. Being mindful though, isn’t that scientific and doesn’t require much at all other than a willing mind.
Mindfulness-based therapy was however scientifically proven to reduce anxiety, depression, and promote overall emotional wellbeing in a 2010 meta-analysis by Hofmann et al. Practicing mindfulness entails you to focus solely and deeply on one thing. A common, but not the only way, to begin practicing mindfulness is through meditation.
3. Avoid high substance use.
In our society, drinking alcohol is socially and culturally accepted. What isn’t talked about enough is that it can have a significant impact on your mood and wellbeing. With drugs, it is a bit more obvious.
But any substance that you ingest will affect emotions. It is tempting to reach for a beer or glass of wine at the end of an emotionally hard day, some may even regard it as self-care. In all actuality, this way of thinking may be counterintuitive.
A 2014 study in Finland unsurprisingly found that frequent alcohol use is associated with poor mental health, especially with life satisfaction and psychological distress. While drinking in moderation tends to be perfectly healthy and normal for most, it is important to find your “moderation” that keeps you feeling your best.
4. Experience intimacy.
This can be with a partner in a committed relationship or anyone that you feel close to. Obviously with a partner being intimate can mean sexual intimacy, which happens to be fantastic for emotional and mental wellbeing. Non-physical intimacy in a relationship can be just as important, and can come in the forms of emotional, experiential, and spiritual intimacy. Being intimate allows you to feel vulnerable which to some may seem quite scary, but vulnerability is both a normal and healthy aspect of being emotionally grounded.
5. Get adequate sleep.
Lack of sleep can have drastic effects on our overall mood and mental health. In a 2014 review by Goldstein and Walker, the authors stated that sleep, specifically REM (rapid eye movement) sleep supports brain homeostasis to prepare the brain for emotional functioning the next day. On the other side of this, too much sleep can throw off our emotional health as well.
Most adults require 7-9 hours of sleep per night. While not everyone may fall into this average, it is important to gauge how many hours it requires for you to feel your best. In addition to the quantity of your sleep, sleep quality is just as important.
Helpful tips for better sleep provided by the Mayo Clinic are: stick to a schedule, don’t over hydrate or drink caffeine too close to bedtime, have daily physical activity, manage your worries for the next day before bedtime so they aren’t heavy on your mind, limit light from screens around bedtime, and keep the bedroom cool and comfortable (aka an optimal environment for a good night’s rest).