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7 Tips for Better Mental and Emotional Health

What is emotional health, and how do you boost it? Here are science-based tips.

  • Mental health means more than a lack of mental disorders; emphasizing positive characteristics also boosts emotional wellness.
  • Some strategies to do this include doing activities you enjoy, building a better relationship with technology, being kind to yourself, and practicing gratitude.
  • Using positive reappraisal, adding positive stuff to your brain, and setting goals are also constructive ways to improve mental and emotional health.

Emotional health is defined as a lack of mental disorders, but it also includes positive emotional characteristics, like resilience, self-efficacy, and vitality. Given how many different aspects of mental and emotional health there are, there are actually lots of different things we can do to improve them (to start, you might take this well-being quiz). Here are a few things you can do:

 Dimitris Vetsikas/Pixabay
Source: Dimitris Vetsikas/Pixabay

1. Boost Mental and Emotional Health By Doing Things You Enjoy

An easy way to get an emotional boost is to do activities that you enjoy. Go out to eat with friends, play games, do crafts, or get a new hobby. Just doing fun things can go a long way in helping your mental and emotional health.

2. Build a Better Relationship With Technology

Spending too much time on our phones or online isn't good for our mental and emotional health. But if we learn how to interact with our technology in healthy ways, it doesn't have to be bad for us. We can learn how to have more positive interactions online and use our tech toys to connect with others. For more tips, check out my book, Outsmart Your Smartphone.

3. Boost Mental and Emotional Health By Being Kind to Yourself

Many of us are so mean to ourselves. We might have a vicious inner self-critic, or we might find that we judge ourselves harshly for any mistakes we make. But the truth is, we all make mistakes and have flaws. Self-acceptance, despite those flaws, is a key to happiness.

So be nice to yourself and give yourself a break. You could work on building skills, like self-compassion, and try to believe in yourself more.

4. Boost Mental and Emotional Health By Practicing Gratitude

The more we practice gratitude, the happier we are likely to be. And gratitude is easy. You could write a gratitude journal, make gratitude lists, share your gratitude with others, or even write a gratitude letter to someone you never properly thanked.

5. Boost Mental and Emotional Health By Using Positive Reappraisal

Positive reappraisal is an emotion regulation strategy that we can use to reinterpret a negative situation in more positive (or less negative) ways in order to make us feel better. If we don't use reappraisal (or we're not very skilled at it), this can lead to lower emotional health. But you can practice reappraisal to get better at it. Here's one reappraisal activity to try.

6. Boost Mental and Emotional Health By Adding Positive Info to Your Brain

The more information our brains have on a subject, the easier it is to recall anything related to that subject. That means if we have more positive words, info, and memories in our brains, it should be easier to bring to mind the positive stuff. One way to add more to the "positive stuff" in your brain may be to memorize words that have been rated as highly positive. Check out our positivity workbook for a collection of words.

7. Boost Mental and Emotional Health By Setting Goals

Did you know that working towards goals can be good for emotional health? Researchers suggest this is because moving towards meaningful goals can provide a greater sense of purpose. And if we are able to achieve them? Well, that can help us satisfy important needs, such as competence, autonomy, and relatedness. And satisfying each of these is good for mental health.

In sum

There are many ways to start boosting your mental and emotional health. By trying these out, you can likely feel a bit happier. Continue with these and engage in even more activities to see your emotional health grow.

Created with content from The Berkeley Well-Being Institute.

References

Hendrie, H. C., Albert, M. S., Butters, M. A., Gao, S., Knopman, D. S., Launer, L. J., ... & Wagster, M. V. (2006). The NIH cognitive and emotional health project: report of the critical evaluation study committee. Alzheimer's & Dementia, 2(1), 12-32.

Rohde, P., Feeny, N. C., & Robins, M. (2005). Characteristics and components of the TADS CBT approach. Cognitive and behavioral practice, 12(2), 186-197.​

Oltean, H. R., Hyland, P., Vallières, F., & David, D. O. (2019). Rational beliefs, Happiness and optimism: an empirical assessment of REBT's model of psychological health. International Journal of Psychology, 54(4), 495-500.

Emmons, R. A. (2003). Personal goals, life meaning, and virtue: wellsprings of a positive life.

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