11 Mental Health Activities That Encourage Emotional Wellness
Updated August 28, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Kristen Hardin
Mental health is starting to be talked about in the media more than ever before. But it can still be difficult to know what things you can do to boost your mental health and address your emotional health and wellness. Below you’ll find mental health activities that you can use on a regular basis for improving your mental and emotional health.
What is Emotional Health?
Many people think that emotional health and mental health are the same, but that’s not true. Mental health is made up of emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. There are many different things that can impact a person’s mental health including genetics and life experiences.
Emotional health is more about being in tune with your emotions. It’s about being able to recognize and handle the emotions that you have as they happen in a healthy way.
So, while emotional health is not the same thing as mental health, there are ways that they connect together. Learning how to maintain your emotional health can go a long way in helping with your mental health as well.
Mental Health Activities to Encourage Emotional Health
- Make sleep a priority
Sleep is an important part of taking care of yourself. It plays an important role in your mental and emotional health. When you are not getting enough rest, it can be difficult to deal with situations that arise in your life. You may find that you lack patience and struggle to handle stressful situations that happen.
It’s recommended that you try to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. And it’s not just about getting too little sleep. Getting too much sleep can also be a problem as well. If you’re struggling to get the rest that you need at night or find that you’re either sleeping too much or not able to get enough sleep, it can be helpful to talk with your doctor to discuss any possible problems. While there are over-the-counter medications that you can take to fall asleep faster, you may want to talk with your doctor to discuss any possible causes of your sleep troubles.
There are several different ways that exercise or physical activity can help your emotional health and mental wellbeing. When you participate in physical activity, your brain releases hormones that work to boost your mood. This can help you to have a more positive outlook on your current situations.
Exercise can also help you sleep better at night. It has also been linked with boosting immune systems, which can be good for your general health as well.
Getting more exercise doesn’t mean that you need to head to the gym and work with a personal trainer. You can do simple things at home like going for a walk or run.
- Deep breathing
Deep breathing can be a helpful strategy to use if you are struggling with a difficult situation. When you feel your stress level rise or begin to experience difficult emotions, you may notice a physical response in your body. This could include things like increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, dizziness, and short quick breaths.
Deep breathing exercises can help to interrupt the cycle that stress has on your physical body. When you practice deep breathing, you may notice that your heart rate and blood pressure return to normal. This can help you to gain control over the difficult emotions that you might be experiencing.
- Volunteer your time
Volunteering your time to a cause or organization that you care about can go a long way in helping your emotional health. It can help you shift your thoughts and feelings off of yourself and on to something or someone else.
If you’re going through a difficult time, volunteering may help you gain a new perspective on the situation. It can also help you to get in better touch with your emotions as you see what other people are going through and become familiar with their stories. And if you’re dealing with difficult emotions, putting your focus on something else for a while can give you and your emotions a much-needed break.
- Spend time with friends
There are many ways that spending time with friends can have a positive impact on your emotional health. Participating in activities that you enjoy together can help you take any focus off of the negative emotions that you’re experiencing and put your energy on something positive.
Spending time with your friends can also cause you to laugh and enjoy your time, which has a positive impact on emotional and mental health as well. And there’s something that can feel rejuvenating about spending time with people who care about you when you’re struggling with difficult emotions.
- Take time to unplug
In this day and age of technology, it’s easy to feel like you’re always connected. This can be overwhelming if you feel like you’re constantly getting notifications of things that are demanding your attention. It can be difficult to be in the moment when you’re constantly being pulled away by the dinging notification sound of your cell phone.
It can be good for your emotional health to take a break from technology from time to time. Whether you are getting out of the house and heading out into nature, or simply taking time to turn off all technology and read a book or participate in an activity that you enjoy at home, unplugging can help you to unwind and reconnect with yourself and your emotions.
- Do some journaling
If you struggle with processing and thinking about your emotions, you may find it helpful to do journaling on a regular basis. Taking the time to write about your day and the things that you’ve experienced can help you get a better insight into the emotions that you have around the situation.
As you write, you may notice that you’re able to go deeper into the situation and think about things in a different way. It may help you to realize the struggles that you’re facing and what things you can do to address them.
- Get organized
Stress can have a negative impact on your emotional health. If you feel like you are constantly being pulled in different directions and are having a hard time getting things done, taking time to get organized can be beneficial for you. This can include things like learning how to manage your time better or learning how to set priorities in your schedule.
When you are constantly on-the-go and feeling overwhelmed, it can be difficult to be in touch with your emotions. Taking steps to help your life run smoother can also open up more time for you to process the situations that are happening around you and the feelings that are happening within you.
- Think about your thinking
It can also be helpful to pay attention to your thoughts. If you find that you are constantly thinking negative thoughts and using negative self-talk, it can have a negative impact on your emotional health.
You are able to learn how to choose what you think about it. If you notice that you are constantly struggling with thinking negative thoughts about yourself, you can purposely choose to replace those thoughts with positive ones. Doing so can help you start to address negative emotions that you feel about yourself.
This doesn’t only work with the thoughts that you have about yourself. Learning how to choose your thoughts about the difficult situations that you’re facing in life can also help improve your emotional health.
- Talk about your feelings
Part of being emotionally healthy is being able to feel and understand your feelings and emotions. This is difficult to do if you refuse to think about or talk about what you’re experiencing. Taking the time to talk about your feelings can help you see steps that you need to take in your life that can help improve your emotional and mental health.
If you struggle with talking about your feelings around other people, you can start by simply talking out loud to yourself. Sometimes this can help you become more comfortable with sharing your feelings.
If you don’t have anyone in your life that you’re comfortable talking to you about personal things like emotions and feelings, you may benefit from talking with a licensed therapist like those at BetterHelp. Not only is your therapist competent to listen to you as you work through emotions that you’re experiencing, but he or she can also help you in learning coping strategies for difficult times.
- Make a gratitude list
Some people benefit from keeping a gratitude list. This is simply making a list of things that you’re thankful for. It can be helpful to look back at this list during difficult times in your life. It can help you to see that there are things that you have to be thankful for and positive things in your life. Focusing on gratitude can be beneficial for improving your emotional health.
If you’re struggling in life with your mental health or handling difficult emotions, it can be helpful to talk with a therapist. Even if you don’t know exactly where your struggle is coming from, a therapist can help you get to the root problem and learn skills that you can implement in your daily life to improve your emotional health and wellness.