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Our emotional health has to do with the way that we manage our thoughts, and feelings through life. Managing our emotional health can help with everything from our mood to our relationships, to our decision making.

Here are some small things that you can do to take care of your emotional health.

1. Zoom Out

Zooming out is a CBT technique that therapists often use with their clients to help them to gain a bigger perspective. It requires that we adjust our lens and look at the bigger picture. This is helpful if you are struggling with negative thinking or decision making. Ask yourself, what is the most important thing here? What really matters?

2. Breathe deeply

So many people enter my office saying that they don’t want to practice breathing. We are wired to go, go, go. Many of us are resistant to slowing down our nervous systems. Let me share the science with you.

Our sympathetic nervous system prepares our bodies for battle. Lots of us get stuck in fight or flight due to trauma or stress. On the contrary, the parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for preparing our bodies for rest and digest. It literally tells our bodies to calm down and relax. Guess what stimulates the PNS? Deep breathing.

Try 4-3-7. Breathe in for 4 counts, hold it for 3 counts and breathe out for 7 counts. Breathing out for longer than you breathe in, puts your body in a state of relaxation.

3. Decrease caffeine

Pay attention to your caffeine intake, particularly if you are struggling with anxiety. Caffeine stimulates your fight or flight response, thus worsening symptoms of anxiety. If you are anxious and love your coffee, grab a decaf today.

4. Practice reframing

Most therapists love a good cognitive reframe. Why? Because a reframe can help to ground us immediately. A reframe involves changing our thinking. It can decrease anxiety and reduce our negative thoughts. It can give us a different perspective.

Thought: I am stuck with this forever

Reframe: This is temporary. I have choices

Thought: I am a failure

Reframe: I am on a learning curve. It takes time to learn new skills

Thoughts: Break ups are an end

Reframe: Break ups can also be an opportunity for a new start

5. Do a feelings check

Brene Brown talks about the importance of emotional literacy and the fact that if we don’t know how we feel, we don’t know ourselves. “When we name an emotion or experience, it doesn’t give that emotion or experience more power, it gives us more power.”

Get in the habit of doing feelings check with yourself. How am I feeling today?

6. Move

The brain and the body have a continuous impact on one another.

Most of us know that movement releases endorphins, but did you know that movement improves emotional regulation and reactivity? Indeed, it does. This means that movement can aid our mood and our even our relationships.

Try new movements or keep it simple and just take a walk!

Turn on the music and dance!

Lifts weights

Play golf

Take a boxing class

Go kayaking

Do a Pilates video

Stretch your muscles!

Movement also can help us to build mastery over a new skill. When we do this, it increases our self-esteem and confidence, which impacts our emotional health.

7. Choose supportive people

Researchers at the University of Virginia found that friends can change our view of a challenging situation and that the presence of a friend in the same room can reduce our stress.

Why are friends so good for us?

They offer logistical support helping in times of crisis, and there is a thing called positive peer pressure. Our friends can influence our habits and our overall happiness.

8. Use alternative or complementary treatments such as massage, acupuncture, Infared Sauna or the cold plunge.

Alternative therapies can:

Ease anxiety and stress

Promote relaxation

Reduces cortisol levels

Boost endorphin levels

Help with pain relief

9. Make an appointment with your therapist when you need a tune up

Nothing beats have a therapeutic relationship with a therapist who gets you. You can sit in their office or log into your telehealth session and feel at ease right away.

10. Make a list

Modern life can be overwhelming. When You wake up in the morning, your brain might be flooded with all of the things that need to be done from finances to projects to buying summer reading books. These worries can put our nervous systems into fight or flight mode which eventually causes fatigue, anxiety and stress.

According to Masicampo, research found that “you don’t have to finish the goal to offload it, you really could just make a specific plan for how to attain it to get it to stop occupying mental space”.

List making can help for the following reasons:

Organizes your brain

Gets you focused

Gives you a sense of control to focus on what is in your power

Decreases anxiety

Research show that making a list before bed improves sleep

Gives you a sense of accomplishment

Creates mental space

Modern Therapy is a small therapy practice in Luisiana. We work with people who want to heal themselves or their relationships. We work with lots of different people, but we specialize in the areas of couples therapy, addiction and grief. Contact us for a free phone consultation: 504-452-1483.

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