Developing Emotional Resilience For Good Health

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Developing Emotional Resilience For Good Health

Making lifestyle changes to bring about good health requires developing emotional resilience. The other day I wrote an article called “Is good health really possible?” I introduced four essential lifestyle changes that are necessary to support your mind, body and soul on its journey to good health. Today I want to tell you about four others, which are less well known, but equally essential.

The core principle of implementing healthy lifestyle change to achieve good health is making the right healthy choices. It is important to look at the bigger picture over and above what you feed your body, and how you use it. There are other factors that can cause strain and present challenges for people trying to develop and maintain good health. Things which will knock you off course. So, staying strong and committed is important. To do that you need emotional resilience.

Emotional resilience refers to one’s ability to adapt to stressful situations or emergencies. Resilient people are able to “ride the waves” and adapt to adversity without long lasting effects; less resilient people have a harder time with stress and life changes, both major and minor.

Taking steps to look after your health by dealing better with pressure, and reducing the impact that stress has on your life is essential. The four lifestyle changes I will write about today are necessary to improve your emotional resilience, and therefore your health.

I think we build resilience to prepare for whatever adversity we’ll face. And we all face some adversity – we’re all living some form of Option B. Sheryl Sandberg

You need to bring about these four lifestyle changes if you want to benefit from good health.

Positive Thoughts and Emotions

Are you somebody who looks on the sunny side of life, or do you see a future filled with dark, stormy clouds?

Your thoughts and emotions impact your physical health in a big way. Having a positive outlook will benefit your physical health. Research has found a link between a positive mental state and improved health, including lower blood pressure, reduced risk for heart disease, healthier weight, better blood sugar levels, and longer life. While ‘Optimism’ has been proven to improve the immune system, prevent chronic disease, and help people cope with unfortunate news.

Negativity is not good for your health. Negative attitudes and feelings can create chronic stress, which upsets the body’s hormone balance, depletes the brain chemicals required for happiness, and damages the immune system.

We tend to believe that emotions and internal thoughts are just “part of us” and can’t be changed. Research, however, has established that emotions are pliable. They can be changed by:

Altering an external situation
Shifting our attention to a more positive aspect of a situation
Re-appraising a situation
In a nutshell if you are aware of your thoughts and emotions, you can choose to change them!

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” Willie Nelson

If you want to set about changing your negativity check out a previous post I wrote Detox Your Mind.

Stress Reduction

Stress is a normal and unavoidable part of life — but too much stress can affect your emotional and physical wellbeing. About 70% of doctor visits and 80% of serious illnesses may be exacerbated or linked to stress because when the stress response keeps firing, day after day, it can put your health at serious risk.

It can cause a variety of symptoms and affect your overall well-being.

Symptoms of chronic stress include:

irritability
anxiety
depression
headaches
insomnia
overeating or not eating enough.

Many health care professionals consider chronic stress a significant risk factor for illnesses such as cancer and heart attacks.

Reducing stress in your everyday life is vital for maintaining your overall health, as it can improve your mood, boost immune function, promote longevity and allow you to be more productive.

So, what can you do to shift yourself into a healthier pattern and reduce stress? One of the most effective and rewarding techniques is meditation, which encourages you to relax your mind and examine your inner self with a sense of honesty and compassion, rather than judgment and criticism. Meditation practice helps to let go of old patterns of stress, tension and distraction, and encourages a more spacious and relaxed state where our innate healing capacity can emerge. This process can inspire you to find a deeper source of real motivation to make healthy changes in your life.

“You can’t always control what goes on outside, but you can always control what goes on inside.” Wayne Dyer

If you want to reduce your stress check out a previous post Relaxation Technique Three: Meditation 

Social Support

Loneliness and isolation has been associated with a wide variety of health problems including high blood pressure, diminished immunity, cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline.

Research shows that social support provides important benefits to our physical and emotional health. However, many people pull back from others when they’re experiencing ill health. This aggravates our feelings of loneliness, often making us worse.

Reconnecting with others in healthy, supportive ways is an essential component of developing Emotional Resilience for Good Health.

Many of the people in your life can provide social support. These can include your parents, spouse or partner, children, siblings, other family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, health professionals and sometimes even strangers. Joining groups and communities can be a tremendous support network.

If you want to improve your social support check out a previous post  Visual Impairment – Loneliness and Social Isolation

“Be strong, be fearless, be beautiful. And believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.” Misty Copeland

Strong Sense of Purpose

What sustains you? What puts a smile on your face and lights up your heart? What gets you up in the morning? It is so easy to get caught up in the ongoing activities and demands of our lives, often forgetting or losing track of what is most meaningful to us.

A study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine in 2015 said people with a sense of purpose in life have a lower risk of death and cardiovascular disease. Striving to find a meaning in life is the most powerful driving force in humans. Living on purpose feels alive, clear, and authentic.

A 2009 study of over 73,000 Japanese men and women found that those who had a strong connection to their sense of purpose (which they call ikigai) tended to live longer than those who didn’t.

Having a purpose gives you a reason for getting out of bed in the morning. It helps you stay healthier and even live longer. When you feel as if your life has meaning, research shows that you may be less likely to develop sleep problems, have a heart attack, or die prematurely.

Maybe it’s because having greater sense of meaning makes us feel as if our lives matter more, so we look after ourselves far better.

So what is your purpose? What is your “why”?

The “why” spoken of here is the purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you to do what you do.

If you want to find your purpose check out a previous post Be Happy … Have a Sense of Meaning and Purpose in Life

“Resilience is knowing that you are the only one that has the power and the responsibility to pick yourself up.” Mary Holloway

So try to make these lifestyle changes, boost your emotional resilence so as to improve your life, and your health.

 

 

 

photo credit: dmitryzhkov 3_DSC8233 via photopin (license)

Healthy Lifestyle Plan
About the author: Larry Lewis
My name is Larry Lewis, Health & Wellness Life Coach, Founder of Healthy Lifestyles Living, contributor to the Huffington Post, recently featured in the Sunday Mail Newspaper and somebody who went from being an owner of a chain of gyms and fitness fanatic, to a visually impaired overweight and incredibly sick person. Read about my illness to wellness story.

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