Foundations for Emotional & Mental Wellness: Penticton Counsellor

October 11, 2011  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

Often we think of wellness in terms of physical health. What about emotional and mental well being- concentration and focus, a sharp memory, decision making, rationalization, ability to handle stress, and be emotionally stable? Have you ever considered what optimizes emotional and mental well being?

We all have situations in our lives that are difficult and unpleasant. As humans we are biologically wired to experience emotions such as fear, sadness, and pain as a function of survival. But sometimes we can fall out of balance, become overwhelmed by these emotions and suddenly we find ourselves irritable and having difficulty sleeping or being emotionally reactive and moody. We may also notice changes in our brains; recognize impaired concentration, poor memory and lack problem solving skills.

Experiencing some of the above symptoms is appropriate given some life circumstances- crisis in our daily lives, conflict in our relationships, health issues, or adjusting to change. But if these symptoms are persistent and last more than a couple of weeks; it could be an indication or precursor of a mental illness such as depression or anxiety.

The good news is we can be preventative and take steps to create a foundation for stability. It may seem like common sense; but if you think about it, when we are stressed it’s hard to turn off our brains, we turn to comfort foods or succumb to a suppressed appetite, we retreat to our homes and stay in, and drudge through the days that seem endless. Prevention in the following seven areas gives us a head start:

   1.Get a good nights rest! Here are some basic guidelines for sleep hygiene:

            ~have a bedtime routine

            ~go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time each morning

            ~have a comfortable sleep environment (dark, cooler temperature, comfy bed)

            ~minimize distractions

            ~avoid alcohol, caffeine and foods high in sugar before bed

            ~keep the bedroom free of problem solving and financial planning

2. Eat well! 3 meals a day with snacks in between and avoid foods high in sugar and fat. Limit caffeine intake

3. Avoid Alcohol, Illicit Drugs,  & Caffeine

4. Exercise 20 minutes a day. It doesn’t have to be at an expensive gym, just go for a walk

5. Activate! Do activities that are enjoyable or give you a sense of accomplishment

6. Find humour in your life… This may be as simple as watching a comedy, visiting the “joke of the day” websites, or looking for irony in your life

7. Be Social. Real face to face interactions with people are important. Go for coffee, visit a friend, volunteer for a local organization. (And just so you know, updating your status on Facebook doesn’t count).

 If you take care in all these areas, you’ll be in great shape to face a crisis in your life. Imagine trying to navigate a crisis or day to day life in the opposite state- being tired, hungry, hung-over, being alone and doing nothing enjoyable!