by Mark D. Lerner, Ph.D.
Chairman, The National Center for Emotional Wellness
In recent years, there's been a growing emphasis on health and wellness—often focused on exercise, dieting, and physical health. While these aspects are important, it's essential to acknowledge that wellness extends beyond our physical well-being. Emotional well-being is crucial to healthy lifestyles (Reed, P., 2020).
The National Center for Emotional Wellness defines emotional wellness as an awareness, understanding, and acceptance of our feelings and the ability to navigate challenges and change. Emotions are an integral part of being human, and acknowledging and managing them profoundly impacts our overall well-being (Edwards, E., & Sabri, M., 2021; Park, C. L., et al., 2023).
Research has consistently shown the influence of emotional wellness on our physical health. Studies have linked emotional well-being to a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity (Keyes, 2009). Furthermore, emotional wellness has been associated with improved immune function, better cognitive performance, and enhanced longevity (Ryff & Singer, 2008).
Unfortunately, emotional wellness is not prioritized in our society. Many people overlook the importance of addressing their emotional needs—leading to increased stress, anxiety, and depression. The pressure to conform to societal expectations and the incessant pursuit of success leave many people neglecting their emotional well-being (National Institutes of Health, 2023).
The National Center for Emotional Wellness recognizes the significance of emotional health and offers practical information, training, and support for healthcare providers, organizations, and corporations. By promoting emotional wellness, we aim to equip individuals and organizations with tools and strategies to effectively navigate the challenges and changes in life,
Individuals must recognize the importance of prioritizing their emotional needs. Engaging in activities that promote emotional wellness, such as practicing mindfulness, meditation, journaling, seeking support from friends and loved ones, and expressing oneself through creative outlets, can significantly contribute to overall well-being (Smith et al., 2010).
Healthcare providers play a crucial role in addressing emotional wellness. They can create a safe and supportive environment for patients to express their emotions and concerns, fostering trust, empathy, and compassion. By incorporating emotional well-being into their practice, healthcare providers can improve patient outcomes and address the needs of the whole person.
Organizations and corporations are also responsible for prioritizing emotional wellness in their workplaces. Research has shown that companies that invest in employee emotional well-being experience numerous benefits, including increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, and improved retention rates (Chapman et al., 2014). Organizations can create a positive work environment and nurture their employees' well-being by implementing wellness programs focusing on emotional health.
Acknowledging and addressing our emotional well-being can enhance our understanding of wellness and lead to more balanced and fulfilling lives.