Emotional health plays such an important role in your wellness journey. The mind and body are connected which means that your emotional wellness can have a direct effect on your physical well-being. Individuals looking from the outside in are unable to see certain MS symptoms that can influence your emotional health. However, depression and anxiety are very real emotional symptoms that often accompany MS. Unfortunately, because others cannot physically see depression and anxiety, these Continue reading
By Penelope Conway
I woke up in tears yesterday. No reason. Nothing bad happened to me in the middle of the night. I didn’t wake up from a nightmare, my goldfish didn’t die and I wasn’t in a lot of unbearable pain. My emotions just went haywire all on their own. I hate when that happens. I take meds to help keep my emotions stabilized, but yesterday’s dose must have been a dud.
Multiple sclerosis has this way of messing with a person’s emotions. Sometimes there’s a Continue reading
By Doug Ankerman
They go together like milk and cookies, peas and carrots, Forrest Gump and Jenny.
Emotional and physical wellness go together like shoes and socks (or socks and sandals on middle aged males).
You can’t have one without the other.
But how so? Aren’t they two different things, some may ask?
I used to think Continue reading
By Stacie Prada
I used to feel such relief that I was married and didn’t need to be out in the dating world. It sounded horrible, and I enjoyed having my relationship set with the expectation there’d be no divorce. Then I started having health issues and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis after 15 years of marriage.
When a married person is diagnosed with MS, the rate of divorce is about the same as the general population, but the gender disparity is enormous. A study by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center1 found that Continue reading
By Alene Brennan
When I was diagnosed with MS, I was in a complete fog.
The diagnosis came by surprise and it was just six weeks after my mother passed from cancer.
Talk about a wave of emotions.
I was sad. I was angry. I was frustrated. I was lonely. I was overwhelmed.
While I wasn’t sure exactly how, I knew that these emotions were affecting my health. If I wanted to be on a path to healing, Continue reading
Taking care of your emotional health is as important as taking care of your physical health. Really, they go hand in hand. Eating and sleeping well and exercising regularly can help you feel better about yourself. Conversely, if you are in a good mood, you are more likely to make good decisions related to your physical health. For example, when you feel good, you’ll look forward to exercise and not view it as a chore.
When I think about emotional wellness, several words come to mind:
Happiness – Are you making choices and doing things that bring you joy? Life is too short to waste it on things (and even people) that bring you down.
Acceptance – When things don’t go your way or you have a personal setback, you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. Take a step back, learn from your mistake and then make a plan to move forward.
Optimism – It’s emotionally draining if you always think the worst will happen. It can cause serious mental and physical health problems. So, try being more optimistic; focusing on the positives rather than the negatives in people and situations.
Resiliency – Life is full of setbacks. What defines us is how we respond to them. As the band Chumbawamba sang in their 1997 hit Tubthumping, “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You are never gonna keep me down”. These are simple words to live by.
Positivity – Much like optimism and happiness, it’s important to have a positive outlook on life. It is so much easier to attack challenges in life with vigor rather than dread.
According to the Mayo Clinic, positive thinking is linked to a wide range of health benefits including:
- Longer life span
- Less stress
- Lower rates of depression
- Increase resistance to the common cold
- Better stress management and coping skills
- Lower risk of cardiovascular disease-related death
- Increase physical well-being
- Better psychological health
This doesn’t mean that everything in your life will always be positive. It’s normal to have a variety of emotions. However, working to replace unhealthy thought patterns with positive ones will help prevent you from getting stuck in negativity. Give it a try and see what happens. I’m positive you’ll think it’s a better way to live!
Throughout the month of January, we have discussed our personal journeys in wellness, but one piece has been missing. Often when we describe wellness, we think of physical activity and healthy eating. But one important piece that hasn’t been discussed is emotional wellness. Emotional wellness is defined as “being attentive to your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, whether positive or negative” (University of California- Riverside).
In the daily hustle and bustle which is our lives, we forget to think about our feelings and often brush them off or push them away so that we can deal with another task we have been given. The idea behind emotional wellness is to not allow ourselves to push our feelings away.
Becoming aware of your thoughts and feelings can be difficult. One way to start becoming more aware is to journal. For those who have never kept a journal, starting is the hardest
part. In a previous blog, Dear Diary, I discuss some helpful tips to get started.
Perhaps writing about your feelings is not your thing, maybe talking more openly with a friend or family member would be easier. In everyday conversation, try tuning into your feelings and discussing them more openly. Avoid words like “good,” “fine,” or “OK.” These words are often used when asked how we are feeling, but are not “feeling” words. Some more descriptive feeling words can include “relaxed,” “alone,” or “delighted.” These words provide greater meaning to your emotions and will help you to better understand yourself.
In what ways do you maintain your emotional wellness?