11 Emotional Wellness Activities To Encourage Positive Mental Health

Updated January 14, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

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 regularly for improving your mental and emotional health.

Boosting Mental And Emotional Wellness Can Be Tricky

Importance Of Emotional Wellness

Many people think that emotional health and mental health are the same, but that’s not necessarily true. Mental health is shaped by our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. Many different things 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. So, while emotional health is not the same thing as mental health, there are ways that they connect. Learning how to maintain your emotional health can go a long way in helping with your mental health as well.

11 Emotional Wellness Activities For Positive Mental Health 

  1. Make Sleep A Priority

Sleep is an important part of taking care of yourself. It can play an important role in determining the status of your mental and emotional health. When you are not getting enough rest, it can be difficult to manage challenges in life. It can also be difficult to function as you’d like; you may feel tired, irritable, unmotivated, or sad. You might also find that you lack patience and struggle to handle stressful situations.

It’s recommended that adults try to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. During these hours, brain activity is high as your mind works to recharge itself and rid itself of waste. Research shows that REM (rapid-eye movement) sleep can significantly impact mental health symptoms and emotional reactivity. Too little sleep can leave you feeling sluggish and unable to tackle the day, but getting too much sleep can produce other problems as well. If you’re struggling to get the rest that you need at night or find that you’re either sleeping too much, it can be helpful to talk with your doctor to discuss what underlying concerns might be at play. 

2. Exercise

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, helping with anxiety and depression. This can help you to have a more positive outlook on life.

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, yoga, or running.

3. Practice Deep Breathing

Deep breathing can be a helpful strategy to use if you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or otherwise in need of some space. 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, illness, dizziness, and short, quick breaths.

Deep breathing exercises can help to interrupt the cycle that stress can have on your body. When you practice deep breathing, you may notice that your heart rate and blood pressure return to normal. Practicing this alongside meditation and mindfulness can help support other aspects of your life as well. 

4. Volunteer Your Time

Volunteering your time to a cause or organization that helps others can go a long way in helping your emotional health. It can help you shift your thoughts and feelings off yourself and onto something or someone else and give you a sense of purpose.

If you’re going through a difficult time, volunteering may give you the ability to 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 navigating lots of emotions, putting your focus on something else for a while can give you and your mind a much-needed break.

5. Spend Time With Friends

Spending time with friends can have a positive impact on your emotional health in many ways. Participating in activities that you enjoy together can help you take any focus off the negative emotions that you might be experiencing and put your energy on something positive.

Quality time with others can also remind you that you aren’t alone, both in regard to managing your emotional wellness and finding ways to experience joy in life. Having a strong support system of loved ones can be a huge help as you work toward the best version of your own emotional wellness.

Boosting Mental And Emotional Wellness Can Be Tricky

6. Take Time To Unplug

In this 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.

7. Do Some Journaling

If you struggle with processing and thinking about your emotions, you may find it helpful to do journaling regularly. 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 differently. It may help you to realize the struggles that you’re facing and what things you can do to address them.

8. Make A Wellness And 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. 

9. 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 may 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.

10. 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, for instance, you might find some tangible ways that you can change your habits.

You can learn how to choose what you think about it. For example, if you notice that you tend to respond to perceived failures by focusing on 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.

11. Talk About Your Feelings

For many, a big part of being emotionally healthy is feeling and understanding your feelings enough to put them into words. Taking the time to talk about and process your feelings can help you see which steps you may need to take to make things better. If you often suppress your emotions, it may take some practice to be able to identify them and separate them from one another. Being able to communicate with others, though, can make it much easier for you to gain perspective and develop solutions that work for you.  

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 working with a licensed therapist. 

Online therapy is convenient and beginner-friendly, but it also has been shown to be effective, perhaps even more effective than in-person options. One study found that digital cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) was an effective treatment for treating and reducing anxiety and depression symptoms. The evidence points to the efficacy of online therapy as well as its potential for the future; as mental health resources become more accessible, it’s likely we’ll see an uptick in the quality of our mental and emotional wellness across the board. 


If you’re looking to get your emotional wellness on track, there are lots of small changes you can make that might help you along the path. To help you navigate these changes and more, consider speaking with a licensed mental health professional. With a strong support system and personal dedication, you can likely see changes to your emotional wellness quickly and easily. 

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