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10 Things You Can Do to Foster Emotional Wellness

by Mark D. Lerner, Ph.D.

Chairman, The National Center for Emotional Wellness


The National Center defines emotional wellness as an awareness, understanding, and acceptance of our feelings and the ability to navigate challenges and change.


As an emotional wellness consultant, I'm frequently asked if I could provide concrete strategies or tools to foster our emotional well-being. Following is a concise list of things you can do for yourself. Feel free to share these with your friends and loved ones:


1. Become aware of your feelings and try to label them (e.g., “I’m feeling nervous." “I’m feeling sad.” “I’m feeling frustrated.” "I'm feeling angry." etc.


2. Try to identify your thoughts and how they're precipitating your feelings (e.g., “I’ve been thinking about what he said to me—and I’m feeling angry.”)


3. Accept that feelings are not right or wrong; they just are. It's been said that when one denies their feelings, they deny the truth.


4. After labeling a feeling, consciously slow down and think before you act; make goal-directed choices.


5. Realize that you can choose your focus—what you think about.


6. If you find yourself thinking repetitively about something that is causing you emotional discomfort (i.e., ruminating), identify the thought and dismiss it (e.g., “Stop it. This is not productive.”)


7. Know that it’s okay not to be okay during challenges and change. Allow yourself to experience normal reactions in the face of an atypical or abnormal event.


8. If you are grappling with uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, change what you're doing (e.g., Take a walk. Exercise. Listen to music. Read. Speak with a friend or loved one, etc.)


9. Speak with people with whom you can share your thoughts and feelings—people who listen more than they speak. Rely on genuine interpersonal face-to-face communication.


10. Strive to become the person you would ideally like to be.



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