The importance of maintaining your emotional health

Most of us wouldn’t think of missing our annual physical check-up, but are we also keeping track of our emotional health?

We all know that keeping track of our physical health is important, and scheduling time for routine blood work and yearly exams are crucial to our health. But, what about our emotional health? The state of our emotional health can show up as physical symptoms. For instance, in a World Health Organization study, 69 percent of those in the study who were diagnosed with depression had only reported physical ailments. Physical and emotional health definitely overlap, it’s the mind and body connection. This mind and body connection is why it’s so important to discuss your emotions with your doctor in addition to physical ailments you may be experiencing.

If your emotional health is out of balance, you may be suffering from some of the same symptoms we generally think of as only physical. These may be: back pain, change in appetite, chest pain, constipation or diarrhea, dry mouth, extreme tiredness, general aches and pains, headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia (trouble sleeping), lightheadedness, palpitations, sexual problems, shortness of breath, stiff neck, sweating, upset stomach and weight gain or loss.

Safeguarding your emotional health includes learning how to express emotions in healthy ways and keeping a balance in your life, which could mean learning to say “no” more often. Additional ideas for keeping a balance in your life is to practice some type a relaxation, such as: listening to music, taking time for friends and intimate relationships, expressing your creativity, meditating, deep breathing or attending a yoga class. Emotional health also includes taking care of yourself physically, getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals and taking time for physical activity.

Michigan State University Extension offers classes that may help your emotional health; RELAX: Alternatives to Anger and Stress less with Mindfulness are offered throughout the state.

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