What is good emotional health?
People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. They feel good about themselves and have good relationships. They can keep problems in perspective.
Itís important to remember that people who have good emotional health sometimes have emotional problems or mental illness. Mental illness often has a physical cause, such as a chemical imbalance in the brain. Stress and problems with family, work or school sometimes can trigger mental illness or make it worse.
However, people who are emotionally healthy have learned ways to cope with stress and problems. They know when they need to seek help from their doctor or a counselor.
What about anger?
People are sometimes not aware of what causes their anger, how much anger they are holding inside or how to express anger. You might be angry about certain events or your own or other peopleís actions. Also, many little things can build up to make you feel that life is unfair.
If you find yourself becoming increasingly irritable or taking unhealthy risks (like drinking too much or abusing drugs), you might have a problem dealing with anger. Itís very important to talk with your doctor or a counselor about getting help.
What can I do to avoid problems?
First, notice your emotions and reactions and try to understand them. Learning how to sort out the causes of sadness, frustration and anger in your life can help you better manage your emotional health.
How does stress affect my emotions?
Your body responds to stress by making stress hormones. These hormones help your body respond to situations of extreme need. But when your body makes too many of these hormones for a long period of time, the hormones wear down your body ó and your emotions.
People who are under stress a lot of often are emotional, anxious, irritable and even depressed.
If possible, try to change the situation that is causing your stress. Relaxation methods, such as deep breathing and meditation, and exercise are useful ways to cope with stress.
Can emotional problems be treated?
Yes. Counseling, support groups and medicines can help people who have emotional problems or mental illness. If you have an ongoing emotional problem, talk to your family doctor. He or she can help you find the right type of treatment.
Tips on dealing with your emotions
Learn to express your feelings in appropriate ways. Itís important to let people close to you know when something is bothering you. Keeping feelings of sadness or anger inside takes extra energy and can cause problems in your relationships and at work or school.
Think before you act. Emotions can be powerful. But before you get carried away by your emotions and say or do something you might regret, give yourself time to think.
Strive for balance in your life. Make time for things you enjoy. Focus on positive things in your life.
Take care of your physical health. Your physical health can affect your emotional health. Take care of your body by exercising regularly, eating healthy meals and getting enough sleep. Donít abuse drugs or alcohol.
Source: Debi Traeder, Prevent Suicide Wisconsin coordinator