Awareness and cultivation of your emotional wellness is vital in recovery. Whether you are just starting out on your recovery journey or are years along the path, staying emotionally well can support and bolster your efforts and can help to keep you clean and sober now and in the future. Emotional wellness does include being aware of your feelings, but it is so much more than that, too. Staying healthy in this realm is extremely important because it gives you strength. Keeping your feelings in balance and in check and knowing how to cope when the going gets tough is valuable because your emotions tie in directly with your overall health. With that in mind, keeping your feelings bottled up inside of you is dangerous, and you need to learn how to experience them in a healthy and effective manner, in ways that do not put your sobriety at risk.
What is Emotional Wellness?
Emotional wellness has many aspects, but when they are all fine-tuned and working together, they help to keep you levelheaded and focused on your overall health. First, emotional wellness starts with self-awareness. Emotions are natural, and we may experience a wide variety of them each day through life’s normal ups and downs. Being aware of our emotions as we move through different experiences is necessary for personal understanding and for self-regulation. By observing our emotions in different situations, both good and bad, we begin to see patterns. Perhaps our reactions don’t always match various triggers. In getting to know oneself from an emotional standpoint, we can begin to recognize times we are reacting appropriately to external stimuli, and also situations in which we may overreact. Once these cycles begin to be recognized, an individual can begin to alter and control inappropriate responses to certain obstacles and disappointments.
However, with that said, it’s also important to truly feel our feelings – negative as well as positive ones. Again, feelings and emotions are natural. As humans, we are designed to feel many things intensely. A day can quickly go from wonderful to horrible, and it can just as quickly go the other way. Acceptance of our feelings allows us to feel things fully without trying to push them down inside ourselves, and reminds us that it’s possible to feel all of our natural and true emotions without feeling guilt or shame about any of them.
More Aspects of Emotional Wellness
In addition to truly feeling our feelings and accepting them as they are, emotional wellness also encompasses our ability to deal with various stressors in our lives. When encountering stress in the past, you may have turned to drugs or alcohol to avoid it or to cope. Those options are no longer available to you, so you must develop new coping strategies. Being able to not only identify your emotions at any time, but also being able to predict what they might be should a struggle or disappointment arise, can be a big help to you when dealing with life’s challenges. If you know what is coming, and know how to may react, it will be much easier for you to react healthily and appropriately when the time comes.
Everyone experiences sadness, grief, fear, disappointment, and embarrassment sometimes – it is all a part of the experience of being human. Some people have better bounce back skills than others, but they can be learned and nurtured, too. Learning healthy methods of dealing with stress can change your life. Rather than wallowing in negative emotions, take steps to improve how you feel. Practice self-care, exercise, meditate, and reach out to others for support. In your darkest times, professional help may be of much assistance to you. Not only do therapists and counselors give you an opportunity to vent about your emotions, they can also help you to learn problem-solving skills that can help you to more easily work through difficult emotions independently in the future.
Making Positive Choices
One way to help support your emotional wellness is something you are already doing each day in recovery. Making positive and healthy choices consistently can help you with this aspect of health in many ways. First, when you make positive life choices, you can more easily predict the outcomes of the situations you encounter in everyday life. There are fewer surprises, and therefore you won’t encounter as much intensity in the swing of life’s ups and downs. Further, making good choices about your life will help to give you a more positive outlook about life overall, and will help you to be more upbeat and balanced in general.
Also, fostering positive relationships with others can help to support your emotional wellness, too. When you improve you relationships, and develop your communication skills with those you love, there will be fewer rifts that may lead to dark places. And, building strong relationships with others will also help you to build a support network that will listen to you when you need a sympathetic ear, and that will otherwise be there for you in your times of need. This aspect of emotional wellness goes the other way as well – not only should you surround yourself with friendly, loving people who care about you, but you should also make an effort to avoid negative people and people who want to steer you down the wrong path. Real friends will help you, not harm you, so it’s better to stay away from people who may be detrimental to your overall emotional wellness when possible.
How to Improve Your Emotional Wellness
Emotional wellness is something we all need to work on throughout our lives, but there are many things you can do to help improve it as you go.
- Get to know yourself. Watch your emotions and see what triggers different feelings, and also how you react to them. Keeping track of your feelings in a journal each day may help you to see patterns.
- Be optimistic. Although it sounds easier said than done, keeping a positive attitude about your life and your future can do so much for your overall emotional wellness.
- Learn to manage stress. There are unhealthy ways to deal with stress, but there are healthy ways, too! Learn strategies that work for you, and apply them each time you are feeling overwhelmed.
- Practice self-care. So many of us spend a lot of time helping others in our lives, and we accidentally overlook ourselves. Take time to get plenty of rest, meditate, exercise, practice yoga, spend time in nature, create art, write, and spend time with loved ones. Do what works for you, but remember, nurturing yourself also nurtures your emotional wellness.
- Strengthen your social connections. For extroverts, spending time with others can be invigorating and can be a big help to you emotionally. Although introverts get their energy from being alone, even they can also gain much from a strong support system of friends and family. Reach out to people who love you when you need help.
- Get professional help. When you are really having difficulty with your emotions – whether it be long periods of darkness or even just difficulty regulating your moods – go see a counselor or therapist. They will have suggestions for you and can help you to improve your overall emotional wellness, and can give you the strength to move forward.
Emotional wellness is an important part of the recovery process. Do all you can to learn about yourself and your feelings and create strategies to nurture positivity and optimism in your everyday life. Reach out for help from others when you need it, and consistently evaluate your feelings and reactions while feeling them wholly. Taking these steps can be of much support to you in recovery, and you can grow stronger emotionally each day.
At Clear Sky Recovery, we want to help you to take your first steps on the road to a life free of alcohol and drugs. Our innovative ibogaine treatment can help you get to the root of your addiction and break free of it. Our facility in Cancun, Mexico is located right on the beach, and our staff has many years of experience helping people just like you. Please give us a call today to discuss whether or not ibogaine is the right choice for your recovery. We look forward to hearing from you!
Dr. Sola is one of the world’s leading experts in medically-based ibogaine treatment; he has more clinical experience with safe and effective ibogaine administration than any other M.D. in the world today.