Your mental and emotional health influences how you think, feel, and behave in daily life. It also affects your ability to cope with stress, overcome challenges, build relationships, and recover from life’s setbacks and hardships. Whether you’re looking to cope with a specific mental health problem, better deal with unpleasant emotions, or simply want to feel more hopeful, energetic, and balanced, there are plenty of things you can do to take control of your mental health. No matter how hopeless or helpless you currently feel, these strategies can help boost your mood, build resilience, and increase your overall enjoyment of life.

What you can do to improve your mental and emotional health

  1. Connect face-to-face with supportive people
  2. Get moving in fun ways – as much and as often as you are able
  3. Explore a variety of techniques for managing stress
  4. Choose a diet rich in omega-3 fats to support mental health
  5. Get enough quality sleep – 7 to 9 hours a night
  6. Invest in activities that give your life meaning and purpose

 

How does mental, emotional, and social health affect our lives?

Mental and emotional health affects the way you feel about yourself, the quality of your relationships, and your ability to manage feelings, handle stress, and deal with challenges, disappointments, and losses.

Your social health is essentially the other side of the same coin. Mental and emotional health problems—as well as many physical health problems—often arise when the nervous system has been overwhelmed by stress. Since the body’s natural and most efficient method for coping with stress is face-to-face social contact with a trusted, understanding person, social health plays an important role in building mental and emotional health. Helping yourself involves reaching out and connecting to others.

The strength of your social and mental/emotional health directly relates to the level of happiness, satisfaction, and contentment you experience in life, as well as your overall health and well-being.

The role of resilience in mental and emotional health

Being mentally healthy doesn’t mean never going through bad times or experiencing problems such as depression or anxiety. But just as physically healthy people are better able to bounce back from illness or injury, people with good emotional health are better able to bounce back from adversity, trauma, and stress. This ability is called resilience.

People who are emotionally and mentally resilient have the tools for coping with difficult situations and maintaining a positive outlook. They remain focused, flexible, and productive in bad times as well as good. Their resilience also makes them less afraid of new things or an uncertain future. Even when they don’t immediately know how a problem will get resolved, they feel hope that a solution will eventually be found.

Depending on the quality of the relationship with your primary caretaker, in infancy you may have learned the skills that enable you to connect to others in ways that build resilience and emotional health. If you did not, it’s important to know that these skills can also be learned later in life. It’s never too late to build resilience and improve your emotional well-being.