Before you go on a run or take part in an extensive workout, what do you do? If you’re like most people, you probably stretch or do a quick warm-up to prepare yourself. But do you do the same every day for your emotions?
In an emotional sense, you exert yourself every day through the natural ups and downs of life. Your emotional balance is just as important as your physical needs. Finding a balance can help you to fight against mental health conditions like depression so you’re less likely to find yourself included in the 16 million adults in the U.S. who struggle with it.
Emotional balance begins with understanding your needs. Everything from meditation to finding hobbies you enjoy can help you to achieve a better balance — but how can you tell if your emotions are “off” in the first place?
Once you understand the root of what’s causing an emotional imbalance, you can work on strategies to find peace within yourself once again.
How to Know if Your Emotions Are Off-Balance
Many times, signs of physical imbalances and issues are easy to identify. If you pull a muscle, you’ll feel pain. Emotional imbalances can be harder to check on at first, but once you start to better understand your needs, you can become more in-tune with your own emotions and what they’re trying to tell you.
A good rule of thumb is to simply “trust your gut.” If you’ve been feeling different lately or something has been off, don’t ignore it. You might need to check on your emotional balance if your emotions seem like they’re all over the place. Sometimes, that can manifest itself in bouts of extreme sadness or anger. Are you lashing out when you’re usually a calm person? Are you experiencing bouts of road rage when you’re slightly inconvenienced?
Finding ways to calm yourself down, especially on the road, can help you to stay focused. Try these things:
- Listening to a podcast or audiobook
- Listening to music
- Deep breathing exercises
- Meditating getting behind the wheel
Another good way to keep your emotions in check is to ask yourself whether you’ve been feeling fulfilled lately. Feeling fulfilled doesn’t necessarily mean you feel happy all of the time. In fact, the World Happiness Report recently found that people are generally feeling worse across the globe. Being happy and being content or fulfilled are two different things.
Fulfillment starts with being loved the way you need to be loved. The Five Love Languages are fairly widely known:
- Acts of service
- Words of affirmation
- Quality time
- Physical touch
Many people believe love languages are limited to romantic relationships. This isn’t true. They are connected to any type of relationship in your life including friends and family. If your love language is quality time, for example, and you haven’t been able to get together with your best friend, you might be feeling disconnected and unfulfilled.
What is Impacting Your Emotions?
People experience at least one emotion 90% of the time throughout each day. The good news? The most frequent emotion is joy. We probably don’t have to tell you how quickly something can turn that joy into something negative and throw off your emotional balance.
Sometimes, it can feel easier to ignore or deny the things that are causing you emotional distress or imbalances because they’re difficult to face. Many times, emotional imbalances can stem from problems in the workplace. You might think your continual work-related drive will lead to success, but workplace addiction can actually cause burnout, stress, mental health conditions, and problems with your relationships and family life. You need to strike a healthy work-life balance to let go of your addiction.
Something like a “digital detox” can not only help you to step away from work, but it could help with another possible source of an emotional imbalance; social media. A recent study published in the Journal of Depression and Anxiety found that those who spend more time on social media are 2.7 times more likely to be depressed than those who don’t use it often.
Another potential source of imbalance is money. Money is often a top worry for many people. Whether you’re worried about your job, struggling with a gambling or betting problem, or dealing with debt, take a look at your financial situation and how it could be impacting your mental health.
Finally, consider your overall well-being including your physical health, and how it could be impacting your emotions. If you’ve been diagnosed with an illness or you’ve recently been injured in an accident, have you taken the time to process it? Ignoring how those things truly make you feel or not fully accepting what happened can greatly contribute to feelings of being off-kilter.
How to Achieve a Better Balance
Once you understand the root of what’s causing an imbalance, you can work on strategies to find peace within yourself once again.
One of the easiest ways to strike a balance? Take a break.
If you’re having a particularly rocky day, hit the pause button. Breathe. Step back from what you’re doing and find some time to relax. Sometimes, hitting “reset” internally, even if it’s only for a few minutes, can help you to feel more like yourself. Other simple strategies you can put into place include the following:
- Meditating/deep breathing
- Listening to music
- Reading a book (or even looking at books in a store)
- Reorganizing your schedule
- Doing something you enjoy
Your emotions play a huge role in how you handle life itself. Consider each day to be a marathon. You wouldn’t run it without properly preparing yourself physically, so make sure to do the same for your mental and emotional health. If you’re feeling off-balance before the big race, take the time to get back on track before taking the next step.
Guest post by Ainsley Lawrence
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