What is Emotional Health and How to Improve it

“There’s no such thing as a ‘bad’ emotion; all emotions are signals from the body that something needs your attention.” – Samantha Shakira Clarke

In today’s fast-paced world, our emotional well-being often takes a back seat to the demands of our daily lives. It’s essential to understand what emotional health is and how we can enhance it to lead a more fulfilling and balanced life.

Definition of Emotional Health

Emotional health, often referred to as emotional well-being or emotional wellness, pertains to our ability to understand, manage, and express our emotions effectively. It encompasses our capacity to navigate the ups and downs of life while maintaining a sense of balance and resilience. A person with good emotional health can recognize and cope with stress, build and maintain healthy relationships, and adapt to change.

Signs of Good Emotional Health

  1. Self-awareness: People with good emotional health have a keen understanding of their emotions. They can recognize and label their feelings, which empowers them to address their emotional needs.

  2. Emotional Resilience: Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity. Emotionally healthy individuals can withstand life’s challenges without being overwhelmed.

  3. Positive Relationships: Building and maintaining positive relationships with others is a hallmark of emotional health. These relationships offer support and opportunities for emotional growth.

  4. Effective Stress Management: Coping with stress in a constructive way is a key indicator of emotional health. It involves using healthy strategies to manage and reduce stress.

  5.  Emotional Expression: Emotionally healthy people can express their feelings in a healthy and appropriate manner, whether through communication, creative outlets, or physical activities.

The Impact of Emotional Health on Overall Wellbeing

Emotional health plays a profound role in our lives, influencing not only our mental state but also our physical well-being. When our emotional health is in equilibrium, it bestows upon us a sense of happiness, contentment, and a clear sense of purpose in our journey through life. However, the connection between emotional health and physical health runs even deeper, as it can significantly reduce the risk of various illnesses. Here’s an in-depth exploration of how repressed emotions can get stored in the body and contribute to disease, supported by evidence-based research:

  1. The Mind-Body Connection: Our emotions and physical health are intricately linked through the mind-body connection. When we experience stress, anxiety, or prolonged emotional distress, our bodies respond by releasing stress hormones like cortisol. Chronic stress can lead to inflammation, a known contributor to many chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders.

  2. Repressed Emotions and Their Impact: Emotions that are suppressed or unexpressed can become stored in the body over time. This phenomenon has been studied in the field of psychoneuroimmunology, which explores the connection between emotions, the nervous system, and the immune system. Research by Dr. Gabor Maté, a renowned expert in the mind-body connection, has shown that repressed emotions can weaken the immune system and increase susceptibility to diseases.

  3. Chronic Pain and Emotional Burden: Studies have found that unaddressed emotional issues can manifest as physical symptoms, including chronic pain. This phenomenon is often associated with somatic symptom disorders, where emotional distress is converted into physical complaints. The work of Dr. John Sarno in this area is particularly noteworthy.

  4. Heart Health and Emotional Stress: Research in cardiology has highlighted the relationship between emotional stress and heart disease. Prolonged emotional stress can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis and increase the risk of heart attacks. The American Heart Association recognizes the impact of emotional health on heart health.

  5. Holistic Healing Approaches: Holistic healing practices like mindfulness, meditation, and somatic therapy aim to address repressed emotions and their impact on physical health. These practices have been associated with improved emotional well-being and reduced risk of certain illnesses. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) programs, for example, have shown benefits in various clinical trials.

Challenges to Maintaining Emotional Health

In the pursuit of emotional well-being, we often encounter formidable challenges. Our daily lives are filled with stressors, the lingering weight of past traumas, and the relentless pressure of societal expectations, (And don’t get me started on time stressors!) Despite the undeniable significance of emotional health, we frequently find it elusive.

Perhaps the most daunting challenge in maintaining emotional health is our struggle to recognize the true worth and validity of our emotions. Confronting these obstacles represents the crucial first step in our journey toward better emotional well-being. It’s a common trend for many to either ignore or suppress their emotions, labeling them as signs of weakness or mere inconveniences. In reality, our emotions act as vital signals from our bodies, gently pointing us towards the issues that our conscious minds may be avoiding or intentionally ignoring.

Acknowledging these challenges directly, especially in a world where emotional health is often overlooked, is the key to finding a path forward. Understanding the significance of our emotions and their role in our lives is the first step in overcoming the challenges that hinder our emotional health. Instead of adversaries, our emotions are our allies on the road to a more balanced and fulfilling life.

Strategies to Enhance Emotional Health


Prioritize self-care routines that help you relax and recharge. This can include activities like meditation, exercise, or spending time in nature. I personally find that the term ‘self-care’ can sometimes deter people. I prefer using the term ‘regulation’ because when we introduce the science of nervous system regulation, it tends to make individuals take rest and self-care more seriously. It’s essential to recognize that self-care is not a selfish or lazy act, (as some of my clients initially believe). Instead, it plays a fundamental role in restoring our system to a state of homeostasis. This, in turn, is crucial for our ability to regulate emotions and respond appropriately in various situations.


Practicing mindfulness can help you stay present, reduce anxiety, and manage stress effectively. Mindfulness is not a state we live in, but a place we return to. Look for moments of presence throughout the day, whether it be soaking in a glimpse of the sunset, sensing the comforting warmth of that morning coffee, or taking some time in the evening to listen to music that brings you back to the now. Each time we practise mindfulness, we are deepening the capacity to be present with what it – including our emotions!

Seek Support:

Reach out to friends, family, or a therapist when you’re going through a difficult time. Sharing your feelings can be a powerful way to maintain emotional health. We are emotional beings who not only thrive on emotional connections, but are designed to co-regulate with one another. We biologically are inclined to feel safer with community around us. So use your connection to a loved one, animal or nature as a form of external emotional support.

Emotional Intelligence:

Enhance your emotional intelligence by recognizing and understanding your emotions. This can lead to better decision-making and healthier relationships. It’s remarkable how many professionals develop their business, communication and operational skills, but when asked about their emotional skills they look at me like i’m speaking another language, or asking them to jump off a cliff! 

I cannot overstate the significance of ongoing emotional intelligence development for your success in business and life.


When to Seek Professional Help

If you find that your emotional health is consistently compromised, and it’s affecting your daily life, seeking professional help is a wise decision. Therapists and mental health professionals can provide guidance and support to improve your emotional well-being.

In conclusion, emotional health is an integral part of overall well-being. By understanding what it is, recognizing its signs, and taking steps to enhance it, you can lead a more balanced and fulfilling life. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help when necessary, as your emotional health is worth nurturing and protecting.

By prioritizing your emotional health, you can experience the benefits of improved well-being and a more satisfying life.

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