Are you struggling with anxiety, depressive feelings, or just plain dissatisfaction with your life? Sometimes our emotional health can be a side effect of how we are treating our body. Our Emotional Health Checklist can help you identify possible areas that might help you to feel better:
- Are you getting enough sleep? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that teenagers need between 9 and 10 hours of sleep per night. Getting less than this amount can cause feelings of mental instability, as the body does not function well when it is sleep-deprived. If you are not getting much sleep at night, change this. A good rest can be more beneficial for the mind than anything else.
- How are your eating habits? Food gives our mind energy, and if we are not eating “healthy” energy, how can we expect our minds to function in a healthy way? A lot of caffeine and sugar can cause major changes in our bodies, as we get a “high” and then “crash” several hours later. If you are not providing your body with “healthy” energy, change this. By taking good care of your body, you will also be taking good care of your mind.
- How much do you exercise? Exercise releases hormones in our body that make us feel good. It also helps to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, and helps to clear the mind of bothersome thoughts. Multiple research studies have been published with results indicating that vigorous exercise can greatly reduce symptoms of depression. If you are not exercising regularly, change this. A little extra physical activity every day or every other day can help keep emotions in check.
- How is your thinking? Sometimes we can get into patterns where certain thoughts trigger anxiety or depression. Try keeping a journal of your thoughts throughout the day by writing down what you’re thinking about when you start to feel anxious or depressed. If you can identify a trigger thought, you can then work at replacing it with a comforting statement (“I can handle this,” “I am going to get through this,” “I am ok”).
- Are your mood changes mainly during the winter months? For some people, the decreasing hours of sunshine during the winter greatly affects their mental health. Many people have the “winter blues,” and some have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), both of which can be minimized with some basic self-care.
Our emotional health is often a reflection of how well we take care of ourselves. Take care of your body and you take care of your mind. If you do take care of yourself and you still feel emotionally unhealthy, then it might be time to be seen by your doctor or a therapist.