We use the term mental health but we very rarely talk about emotional health… and yet our emotions are absolutely integral to the way in which we relate and engage with all areas of our lives.
When we talk about mental health issues, we are not just talking about the way that we think. We are talking about the way that we feel, and the way that our feelings affect us. To have a healthy mind we need to be in a healthy emotional state, we need to be feeling alright. When we talk about being mindful and we teach people about mindfulness, what we are actually trying to do is to enable them to train their mind to be more reflective and more aware of what’s going on, both in and around them and to develop their ability to listen to both themselves as well as to others. Our emotions inform this process.
I have met many people who are in a state of crisis and the one common denominator that I find, regardless of individual circumstances, is that every single person is struggling to relate to their feelings and to understand their emotional experiences. Even when their feelings are completely appropriate and a natural response to the kind of things that are taking place in their world at that time, they feel emotionally overwhelmed and don’t know how to handle this or how to cope. They lack an understanding of the way that they feel and they have no emotional language and no emotional vocabulary that will enable them to relate, understand and engage with what’s actually going on for them.
Language is descriptive, it creates a link between experience and thought. It helps us to define something, make sense of it and to hold it in our mind, enabling us to gain understanding, clarity and a greater comprehension. Having an emotional language and an emotional vocabulary is a valuable life skill that we need to have in our toolkit. It creates the link between our emotions and our mind and is crucial to our mental health.
Emotional health isn’t about being happy all of the time. Our emotional health is defined by our ability to understand and be responsive to our emotional experiences, to be able to feel the full range of our emotions and be OK with this.
Happiness doesn’t come from blocking out our more uncomfortable feelings. It comes from listening to our feelings and attending to them responsively and this enables us to be resilient and emotionally durable regardless of what’s going on in our world.
The aim and purpose of the A-Z Library is to raise awareness of the importance of Emotional Health and to be a resource that offers insight, understanding and pragmatic advice, free of charge to anyone who may need or benefit from emotional support and and learning.
I hope that this ever growing resource will be helpful to you and of value.
With very best wishes