You know a few emotionally healthy people. Their relationships seem to go smoothly. They get their work done on time. Happiness appears to be their most common emotional state. They don’t have financial challenges. They maintain a healthy bodyweight.
They don’t seem to any more talented or intelligent than you. What’s the difference? Why do they manage life more easily and effectively than you do?
Emotionally healthy people do things that others do not:
- Create healthy boundaries. Successful relationships require healthy boundaries. When boundaries are undefined or unhealthy, the relationship will eventually have a negative impact on your life. Consider where you’re vulnerable and create boundaries to protect yourself.
- Delay gratification. Whether you want to finish school, lose 20 pounds, or get your work done before 5:00pm, it’s necessary to delay gratification. For example, eating a cupcake now is more gratifying in the moment than declining. But in the long run, forgoing cupcakes will help you meet your goal of losing weight. Those that act impulsively and can’t delay gratification lack the ability to follow through with wise long-term decisions. If you make life easy on yourself in the short-term, you pay the price in the long-term.
- Emotionally healthy people can be by themselves. “By yourself” doesn’t mean sitting on the couch with a pizza and Netflix. You’re not alone. You actually have two companions with you. Can you sit quietly, by yourself, with nothing but your thoughts? Or does anxiety about your life create too much discomfort? How much time do you spend distracting yourself from reality?
- They are able to adapt to change. Do you go with the flow or does any change throw you for a loop? Emotionally healthy people are able to roll with the punches and maintain a positive attitude.
- Deal with discomfort effectively. Those that can’t deal with emotional discomfort lead chaotic lives. It’s only when the discomfort of not taking action becomes so great that they’re finally able to do something. By then, it might be too late. When you can take a deep breath and take effective action in the face of emotional discomfort, life is a snap.
- Love others. Only emotionally healthy people can truly love others in a positive way. To care, trust, and attach to another person honestly requires good mental health. Think about your kids…
- Take care of themselves physically. Do you only eat when you’re hungry? Do you make healthy food choices? Are you able to get yourself to exercise even if you don’t feel like it? Do you go to the doctor and dentist regularly? If your emotional health is up to par, you can do these things consistently.
- Emotionally healthy people are reliable. Can people count on you to keep your word? Fulfilling your promises and obligations is one sign of emotional health.
- Act proactively. Are you able to look ahead and see the potential sticking points and then avoid them? Or do you wait until the wheels are coming off before you take action? Living well isn’t just about skillfully dealing with challenges. Ideally, it’s about intelligently avoiding them when possible.
Are you emotionally healthy? Emotionally healthy people do things that unhealthy people do not. The ability to control impulses and deal with emotional discomfort effectively are two of the most important components of emotional health. Do you need to make a change? Work to create habits that support these areas. While it’s possible to make these changes by yourself, getting professional help can be even more effective.
Please share your thoughts. How do you make yourself feel better? Are you teaching your kids healthy emotion habits, or there is something you think you might need to work on?