Emotional wellness, often neglected in favor of physical and mental wellness, is also a critical component to overall health and well-being. The ideas do overlap, but emotional wellness has its own important benefits and requirements. Stress, sleep, mindfulness, and resilience are referred to as the pillars to measure and manage emotional wellness. But how does one improve emotional wellness? Addressing two of the biggest strains on emotional wellness, sleep and stress, may be the best places to start.
Sleep is perhaps both the most simple and the most complicated area of emotional wellness to address. The National Sleep Foundation & American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s recommendation is that adults over 18 get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Adults over 65 should strive for 7-8 hours. However, it’s estimated that 35% of adults don’t get their recommended hours of sleep and 20% of Americans actually suffer from some form of sleep disorder. The current average for sleep each night in the United States is 6.8 hours. That’s not terrible, but it certainly leaves room for improvement. To get more sleep, consistency is key. Going to bed and getting up at the same time each night and day help get the body in a routine. Many of the other recommendations are around avoidance, such as no naps after 3pm, no caffeine or alcohol late in the day, no nicotine at all, and no exercise or heavy meals in the hours leading up to bed time.
Stress is another major factor in emotional wellness. Stress numbers in the United States are especially high, with 77% of people experiencing physical symptoms caused by stress, and 73% experiencing psychological symptoms caused by stress. Managing stress, like sleep, is an exercise that requires practice. Stepping away from the stress, even just for 20 minutes, can sometimes provide some much-needed relief. Physical exercise can also help relieve stress, as can some comedic relief. Smiling and laughing can actually make a big difference!
Just like physical and mental wellness, emotional wellness requires exercise and time. Understanding the “muscles” that need to be exercised, and how to flex them properly is half the battle towards improving emotional wellness. The other half, is finding the time, and implementing the practices to make changes and get on the road towards stronger emotional wellness.
Posted on September 30 2019 in Blog