Emotions are not problems to be solved.

They are signals to be interpreted.

– Vironika Tugaleva

We all know a few emotionally healthy people. Actually, we would all like to think we are that person to our group of friends. Sometimes, we are.

You know the people I mean. Those people whose relationships seem to flow smoothly and evenly all the time. Those people who seem to get all of their work done on time. Happiness appears to be their most common state of mind and presence. They do not seemingly have the financial challenges that plague everyone else. They maintain a healthy body weight.

But, when you look deeply, they do not really seem to be any more talented or intelligent than everyone else. So, what is their difference? How can they manage life much more easily and effectively than you do?

To remain emotionally healthy, does not mean that all emotions are repressed or ignored. To get to a state of emotional health and spend most of your time there, there are habits you will need to cultivate. Emotionally healthy people do things that others do not:

1. Set healthier boundaries.

  • Successful long-term relationships require healthy boundaries.
  • When boundaries are flexible, malleable, ill-defined or unhealthy, the relationship will eventually have a negative impact on your life and mental health.
  • Think about the areas in life where you are most vulnerable and create fixed boundaries to protect yourself and guard your heart.

2. Learn to wait on it. Whatever “it” is…

  • Whether you want to finish school, lose 15 pounds, or get out of the office every day by 5:00pm, it is vital that you learn to delay some gratifications.
  • What does that mean?
    • If your office staff is anything like mine, there is always food floating around or some cause to celebrate… with food.
    • Eating a cupcake right now is obviously more gratifying in this moment than declining. However, in the long run, skipping cupcakes will help you meet your goal of losing weight.
  • Acting impulsively and satisfying every craving we have along the way will impede our ability to follow through with wiser long-term decisions.
  • If we are always looking for ways to make life easy on ourselves in the short-term, we will pay the price in the long-term.

3. Learn to enjoy your own company.

  • Emotionally healthy people can spend time by themselves.
  • “Being alone” does not mean sitting on the sofa, physically vegging out on a large while mentally vegging out on Netflix.
    • You are not alone. You actually have two companions with you.
  • Are you able to sit quietly, by yourself, with nothing but your private thoughts?
  • Or, does anxiety about your life create so much discomfort that you cannot still your mind?
  • Consider how much time you spend distracting yourself from reality?

4. Be flexible.

  • Emotionally healthy people are able to adapt to change.
  • Do you tend to go with the flow or does the smallest change make you break stride?
  • Emotionally healthy people are able to roll with life’s ups and downs while maintaining a positive attitude.

5. Deal with life’s discomforts as they arise.

  • People who do not deal with emotional discomfort often lead very chaotic lives.
    • In these situations, it is only when the pain of having failed to take action becomes so great that they are finally forced to do something different. By then, many times, it is already too late.
  • When we can take a deep breath and take effective action in the face of emotional discomfort, life feels a little more under our control.

6. Give Love.

  • Emotionally healthy people can truly love others in positive ways.
  • To care, to create an atmosphere of trust, and to become attached to another person honestly requires good mental health.

7. Take care of your physical health.

  • Do you only eat only when you are hungry?
  • Do you make healthy food choices?
  • Are you able to get yourself to exercise even if you do not feel like it?
  • Do you visit your doctor and dentist regularly?
  • If your emotional health is up to par, you can do these things consistently.

8. Be dependable.

  • Emotionally healthy people are reliable.
  • Do people feel as though they can count on you to keep your word?
  • Fulfilling your promises and obligations is one sign of emotional health.

9. Be Proactive.

  • Can you look far enough into the future to see potential land-mines or sticking points, and then make a plan to avoid them?
  • Or, do you wait until the wheels are coming off before you are forced to take action?
  • Living a balanced life is not just about dealing with challenges. Ideally, it is about avoiding some of the challenges altogether.

Are you emotionally healthy?

Emotionally healthy people do things that unhealthy people do not.

The ability to control impulses and deal with emotional discomfort effectively are two of the most important components of emotional health.

Is it time to take stock and make a change?

Start with one or two of these strategies and watch how your life begins to unfold, to even out.

Photo Credit: 3nei Flickr via Compfight cc