An illustration depicting the contrast between stress and emotional wellness in a person's life.

What Is Wellness and How it Affects Your Mood

Wellness is an ancient concept that involves a holistic point of view of our overall health. By developing mental and physical wellness you will improve your quality of life.

Wellness possesses an important influence on our health and overall mood, which is why today you will learn how it impacts your general health.

Wellness is a word commonly used to define mental and physical health.

Historically, many ancient practices are focused on finding a holistic equilibrium between the mind and the body, and that equilibrium brings a varied set of benefits to you and your closest ones. 

It is more common to focus on physical health than on mental health; however, the consequences of discarding mental wellness can not only affect our mood but also become detrimental to our overall health. 

In this article, we will explain the tight bond between emotional wellness your physical health, including the consequences to our immune system response. 

What is emotional wellness?

The National Center for Emotional Wellness states that emotional wellness implies a series of practices that will help us to bring awareness to our thoughts and emotions, thus making us understand and accept them as well as gathering the necessary tools to embrace life's changes effectively by developing emotional resilience (1). 

Emotional wellness has its roots in ancient practices such as meditation, yoga, acupuncture, and many others; but it became popular in the fifties (2). 

Emotional wellness is such an important part to get our physical and mental health in equilibrium, that it has been declared October as Emotional Wellness Month to bring awareness to this often-neglected area of our lives (3). 

The Wellness Wheel

Emotional wellness is just one piece of what is now known as the wellness wheel (4).

The wellness wheel is made of 8 dimensions, which are an important part of keeping our overall health and quality of life. These are the other dimensions of our wellness wheel: physical wellness, social wellness, intellectual wellness, environmental wellness, spiritual wellness, occupational wellness, and financial wellness.

All these elements possess a tremendous impact on your mental health. For example, practicing yoga may help us to decrease stress and anxiety, nurturing our relationships, and spending time in a healthy workplace or home can make a big difference to your mental and physical health. 

At the same time, emotional wellness can directly impact our physical health and overall mood, thus affecting our health and immune system. Its importance will be discussed below.

Why is emotional wellness so important?

Emotional wellness is often neglected by the daily stress from work, home, and finances. But, have you ever thought that emotional wellness can affect all aspects of your life including physical health, work, relationships and worsen your mental health? 

Emotions can affect everything within and around you. 

Just one intense negative emotion can alter your mood, thus making your day heavier and more stressful than expected. Additionally, that emotion can trigger thoughts that may alter your view of the world, hence negatively influencing your capabilities to deal with the tasks, and daily challenges of your life. 

Negatives feelings – such as anger, hopelessness, and helplessness – can create or worsen chronic stress symptoms, which intervene in your mood, alter your hormone balances – thus affecting your cognitive capacities – and debilitating your immune system (5). 

Impact of emotional wellness on our health

Emotional wellness management – or neglect – can bring important consequences to our mental and physical health, here are the most important:

  1. According to science, long periods of chronic stress may weaken our immune system, hence making us more prone to get sick (6)
  2. Chronic stress and negative emotions can also affect our cardiovascular health, making us develop heart issues, and hypertension (7)
  3. Repressed anger or frustration can also aid to develop gastrointestinal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, and getting sick due to infections or viruses
  4. High levels of stress can also decrease our lifespan by shorting our DNA strands, hence making us age faster
  5. Research has shown that nearly 80% of doctor's appointments are directly related to emotional distress that manifests in physical symptoms like dizziness and chest pain (8)
  6. Science has demonstrated that individuals with a long history of emotional neglect tend to suffer from poor nutrition, substance abuse, insomnia due to poor sleeping patterns as well as poor compliance to medical suggestions for changing negative behaviors. They also abuse emergency and public medication services (9)
  7. Emotional repression is also linked to immune suppression, hence making these individuals more prone to suffer a wide variety of illnesses from colds to cancer (10)

Emotional Wellness Toolkit

In the stressful world we live in, is easy to get carried away… These are some signs that you need to pause and invest in your emotional wellness (11):

  • You always feel tired
  • You are having sleeping problems
  • You are experiencing eating issues – eating too much or not eating at all –
  • You have relationship problems – either more relation conflicts or isolating from everyone –
  • You suffer from mood swings from irritability or guilt to worthlessness or hopelessness
  • You neglect your personal care – bathing, brushing your teeth - 

Here are some tips to improve your emotional wellness:

  1. Practice some meditation or breathing techniques to reduce your stress levels and boost up your immune system
  2. Watch and reduce your inner negative self-talk. Work with affirmations to change your negative mindset as natural ways to boost immune system
  3. Limit your substance intake: alcohol or tobacco abuse are ways to numb your emotion. Discarding them may improve your mood and boost up immune system naturally
  4. Exercising and eating more balanced may increase your endorphins and are other natural ways to keep your immune system strong. Brisk walking for 30 minutes and adding natural supplements to your daily routine are other ways to take care of your innate and adaptive immune system
  5. Boost up immune system naturally by practicing sleep hygiene. Try to turn off your devices on time to enjoy at least 7 hours of sleep to keep your innate immunity high and strong. 

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