An Action Plan That Works — Rachel Kelly
Achieving emotional wellness is not something that is always as easy as it seems.
We all know that certain someone who always seems to be relaxed, contented and able to face whatever life throws at them. While some people are genetically predisposed to be more positive generally, for others, being happy is something that we need to work on. Just as we would run to train our leg muscles, we can do different mental exercises to help us build up our happiness muscles.
You cannot simply become happy. It’s not as simple as flicking a switch in your head. Happiness is often an indirect consequence of the way we think and our actions. So while who won’t go from grumpy to grinning straight away, by incorporating some of these easy techniques into your day as part of an action plan for emotional wellness, you’ll soon notice a difference in your outlook.
4 Activities For Emotional Wellness
Number 1: Change how you express yourself
What we say to each other and to ourselves is very important, but so to is the way we say things. Recently I’ve started trying to adjust the way I speak to myself and other people.
Using words that are too definite makes it very easy to be harsh on yourself. Saying that you ‘always eat too much cake’ might not be strictly true, and sets of a negative pattern in your mind that means actually eating more healthy becomes harder and harder.
So, instead of using words like ‘never’ and ‘always’, which can be so damning, I’ve started to replace them with words like ‘sometimes’ or ‘today’: ‘today I didn’t get any exercise, but that’s ok, because maybe I will tomorrow’.
Number 2: Be Thankful, Even for the Little Things
This one can be a hard one to get started with but I’ve found it to be so incredibly useful, especially when I’ve had a particularly bad day.
It can sometimes be so easy to focus on the negative things that have happened during our day, that we overlook all the little good things. And the more we focus on anything negative, the worse our mood becomes.
So, when you get home after a particularly tough day, instead of thinking about all the bad things that happened, take a sheet of paper and write down three good things that you are grateful for, no matter how small.
Today, mine are:
- I had a lovely breakfast this morning
- Although I had a very busy day, I had a lovely little chat with a friend who I haven’t seen in a long time
- When I was in a rush, my bus came straight away and so I didn’t have to wait
Number 3: A Healthy Body Equals A Healthy Mind
This is no surprise, and there’s nothing revolutionary in this advice, but its something that we all forget, and need to be reminded of.
Our physical health and mental wellbeing are linked; if you’re struggling to improve one, try improving the other. Find an exercise that you enjoy, and try to do it everyday. It doesn’t have to be something particularly strenuous, just going on a short walk will make a huge difference to how you feel, particularly if you tend to be sitting down at a desk for work.
In terms of what you’re eating, make sure your plate as colourful as possible. Vibrant fruits and vegetables are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, while white foods tend to be refined and will cause an energy to spike and then slump.
Number 4: Change it Up
Sometimes routine can make us feel secure; it’s true that if we’ve been through a big upheaval, routine can give us a sense of steadiness, like an anchor at sea.
But keeping hold of a routine for too long can quickly become a burden rather than a safety net. If you’re feeling like you might be suffering from re-doing your old routine over and over again, try something new. Get together with a friend and book a new class — try zumba, yoga or boxing. You don’t have to stick with it forever, and only going once isn’t a bad thing. Just a small deviation from your regular routine will make you feel more alive, get you learning a new skill and help you meet new people.
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Originally published at rachel-kelly.net on February 22, 2016.