What is Emotional Wellbeing: Why and how can we boost it for the better in this modern world?
The demand of our current climate means that no matter where we go, we put ourselves under societal pressure. With the evolution of the internet at our fingertips and social media platforms bombarding us with content suggestive that we ‘could do better’ or ‘need to improve’, we have to have a new take and new approach to looking after our emotional wellbeing.
When we refer to emotional wellbeing we’re talking about what makes us feel positive, what we do to look after our mental health and how we perceive the situations around us. Unlike physical wellbeing, we don’t possess as much knowledge and information on how this all works. If we feel physically nauseous we consider what we’ve eaten in the previous hours or what we might have interacted with to cause us ill health; but if we feel upset, low or down the causes can be much harder to decipher.
Although there are many avenues to explore for causes of positive and negative emotional wellbeing - from working towards an award for high achievement to unfortunate bereavement - an easy example to use is a comparison of time before and up to the current day of the influence social media has had. If we consider that the early 2000s was the start of ‘social media’ or when it started gaining momentum, we can deduct that before this we had less interaction with marketing, comparison to others and socially conceived beauty ideals and our minds received more quiet time to contemplate, react and think.
‘Life in the ‘90s, before social media, was drastically different than life today. People were overall happier, more creative, and less indulged in the lives of strangers.’ (The Scarlet & Grey Free Press, 2018)
If we examine life from just photographs during the 50s, 60s and even 70s, what we are often confronted by is documentation of a happier civilisation. With no selfies and people communing for entertainment - life was simpler. When those of this generation were growing up, it was only their immediate town surrounding they interacted with and they left on holidays to experience the wider world. In these places, people had the opportunity to be the best in their fields. From crafts to trades, smaller towns would only have one teacher, one journalist, one carpenter etc. This is a rudimental view but the fundamental concept is there. Without the influence and connection of the other 7.5 billion people in the world, they were all capable of living a contented life. Happy, educated and working towards their goals, self-worth was present in a form that ceases to exist now we are constantly comparing ourselves to others. Not just daily, but hourly.
But, what does this all have to do with emotional wellbeing?
Our emotional wellbeing is dictated by our experiences and the way we process events. We have to accept that our world has evolved to positively bring us more information in an exceptionally frequent manner, but at the cost that the speed of this advancement hasn’t allowed us to develop the capability of managing all of this as comprehensively as we need.
This isn’t a problem. We just have to use different ways to promote healthy emotional wellbeing for ourselves because it isn’t as easy as it used to be. Accepting this change and acknowledging that it is more difficult is the first action to a better outlook.
So, what are the easiest things to implement to help boost our emotional wellbeing?
Connection with people
As much as our connection to the 7.5 billion others in the world is potentially excessive in giving us too much to manage, we have to build strong relationships with other people. We are social creatures and thrive on interaction with others. We should seek friendships with people who want the best for us. This both helps us navigate where we are in the world whilst encouraging us to better ourselves. As much as one friend or family member can help you, you can help them.
We can be overtaken by the time that we are consumed by our phones. We are all acutely aware that this isn’t healthy and that we should be being active instead. Being active is a physical action that elicits a chemical reaction. When we move our bodies release serotonin and dopamine which both cause improvement in our mood. It also gives us that needed time away from technology and time to contemplate ideas and thoughts.
Take notice of positives
As our example suggests, we don’t see our achievements and positive moments as much as the previous generations. As soon as we do something we believe to be good, there’s someone, somewhere else, who’s done it ten times better. We must take the time to acknowledge our positives and see that we are working towards a larger picture. The best way to do this is in a practice of gratitude in meditation. Connect to the heart and feel so grateful for all that you have achieved and continue to achieve.
Learn something new
We have also been consumed by the regimented paths we’ve set ourselves. When was the last time you did something that wasn’t to forward a career or learn about how to make someone else’s life better? To become rounded in the world today we feel as though we must take huge trips across the globe when actually, learning a small new skill - just because - will have a much better and lasting positive effect, building self-confidence and self-esteem.
Lowering our stress levelsLowering our stress levels is so important in maintaining healthy emotional wellbeing. Taking time to notice when stress levels are starting to rise and stopping what we are doing for 10 minutes to meditate will have a positive impact. Also as most of us are working at home at the moment, make sure you create a calming atmosphere by using aromatherapy oils or mists such as lavender and frankincense around your every day environment.
We’re all searching for our purpose and where we fit in. Again, the overarching social pressure doesn’t help this. But, we can do something to make someone else’s life better and in return see a reward in self-worth. This also builds our fond connections with others and kindness will always prevail. Giving can be a simple as giving someone a compliment, a gift for no reason to a involved as volunteering at a food bank. Just to give, in one way or another can really help to boost out emotional wellbeing.
Happiness and life satisfaction have a direct impact on our health. We can protect our emotional wellbeing by being mindful and considering the way we treat our bodies. Similarly, taking a look at our online life balance and going back to basics can help us in accepting how changeable life is and look after our emotional wellbeing.