5 Ways to Tell if Your Emotional Health is in Danger
Even when the whole world feels gray and cold, and all we can see is the brown, lifeless earth peeking through the snow — we still know spring is coming soon.
Soon the ground will be lush and robust and bright green, though it looks fragile and flattened and threadbare right now.
Every once in a while, our emotional health can feel the same.
We can experience a bit of thawing out, a sense of renewal and energy beginning to come into view. But along with the promise of healthier, more robust days ahead, the truth becomes all the more clear, regarding how sensitive and fragile our current emotional state is.
As women, we can sometimes allow the demands of our role and the task-oriented nature of our days to steamroll and numb out the need for proper care and feeding of our inner selves.
And the transition from the long winter we are leaving behind us to the freshness of spring ahead is a perfect time to take stock of our emotional health.
When we start to experience signs of a weakened and raw emotional state, it is a red flag to slow down, turn off the noise, and look inward to restore and renew our emotional well-being. It’s a concept I talk about a lot: that of energy drains, leaks, and crutches.
Here are some ways I’ve come to know my emotional well-being is taken care of, robust, and healthy:
1. Minor things stay minor.
When I’m struggling emotionally, minor things feel major. I have a hard time letting little things go, but instead, they become magnified in my own mind and in the way I react to them.
2. Other people’s “stuff” is other people’s “stuff.”
When my emotional health is wearing thin, I internalize other people’s “stuff” as my own. When someone else is having a bad or irritable day, I take it personally and engage on that level, instead of letting their emotions be their own.
3. My “stuff” has a place to go.
When I’m emotionally fragile, my “stuff” doesn’t have a place to go. Instead of processing and releasing my own emotions and moods that arise day in and day out, they begin to fester and build internal pressure — most especially in a negative, overly-dramatic inner dialogue.
4. The nature of my energy is positive and edifying.
When I’m in a good emotional place, the momentum of my inner flow and inner energy is positive, it is affirming and I hold a spirit of gratitude and rejoicing. I can sit with the things in my life that feel challenging or not perfect and have a deeper feeling that all is well and all is being perfectly taken care of.
5. I respond to life.
The reality is that while you can’t always be in control of all things, you are always in control of your response…until you are running on frayed emotions and then you forgo responding and go straight to reacting. When we react our way through life, we diminish that precious pause between receiving something from the outside world and giving back in return. When there is no pause, there is no wisdom or self-control — and reactions have the familiar undertow of anger, hastiness, and impatience.
What guideposts or markers indicate the state of your emotional health? A well-cared-for life transcends physical nurture.
When we tend to the soil of our inner lives, the real fruit is born. And the magic, of course, is that this tree is tremendously responsive to tender loving care, morsels of attention, spaces of respite, and retreat from the world, in order to renew and restore a barren landscape.