What is Emotional Health, and why is being emotionally healthy so important?
Let’s talk about WHAT it is first.
HealthyPlace.com define emotional health as,
Emotional health, a concept synonymous with wellbeing, is vital to living a life of wholeness, balance, and contentment. Simply put, an emotional health definition is one that includes resilience – getting up when life knocks you down.
So, emotional health is essentially your ability to deal with life effectively while achieving and creating the balance and happiness you desire.
This fact also answers the question of WHY it is so important for our life as a whole.
According to the American Psychological Association,
Emotional health can lead to success in work, relationships and health. In the past, researchers believed that success made people happy. Newer research reveals that it’s the other way around. Happy people are more likely to work toward goals, find the resources they need and attract others with their energy and optimism — key building blocks of success.
In order words, based on research, we now know that happy people outperform their peers in almost all measurable business metrics, especially sales performance – because they are happy, not the other way around!
In fact, the study of happiness has been at the forefront of much research over the last decade and it has revealed a lot of valuable insights for the business world as well as how organisations are managed.
Happiness cannot be seen as merely a “soft” topic anymore.
Effective leaders understand that happy people are more productive, contribute to a better workplace, and achieve organisational goals much more consistently and long-term than their peers who don’t appreciate the value of their people’s emotional state.
But even if you’re not in a leadership position, it is equally important for you to understand the impact of your own emotional state on your well-being, energy levels, efficiency, productivity, and satisfaction in the workplace.
In order to achieve better results within your specific role, you need to appreciate the impact of your happiness levels on your overall performance.
If you don’t, you might run the risk of under-performing, not due to a lack of skills, but because of something as simple as feelings of unhappiness.
The question becomes, therefore,
What can you do to increase your levels of happiness (personally and professionally)?
The short answer is, becoming emotionally healthy.
And there are a few things you can do to improve your emotional health.
Being emotionally healthy has a lot of advantages.
Chances are you actually know a few emotionally healthy people already.
Their relationships always seem to go smoothly.
They get their work done on time.
They seem to be happy most of the time.
They don’t have any huge financial challenges.
They seem to be healthy and in shape for the most part.
They seem to always have enough time to get everything done.
Yet, by the same token, they don’t seem any more talented or intelligent than you.
They are like you, yet they’re getting different results.
What’s the difference?
Why do they manage life more easily and effectively than you do?
The answer is, emotionally healthy people do things that others do not do.
It’s as simple as that.
And, they don’t do these things every now and again, but consistently.
So what can you learn from emotionally healthy people?
Emotionally healthy people do 9 things that others do not do:
They create healthy boundaries
Successful relationships require healthy boundaries.
When boundaries are undefined or unhealthy, the relationship will eventually have a negative impact on your life.
Emotionally healthy people understand this, and therefore have relationships with boundaries (both personally and professionally).
Relationships without boundaries, especially in the workplace, is a recipe for disaster.
Therefore, consider where you’re vulnerable and create boundaries to protect yourself.
They delay gratification
Whether you want to finish school, lose 20 kilos, or get your work done before 5:00 pm, it’s necessary to delay gratification.
A lot of research has been done on the correlation between success and the delay of gratification.
In fact, they found that children who display this trait tend to be more successful later on in life than those who don’t.
And it doesn’t change with adults.
The same thing is found.
For example, eating a cupcake now is more gratifying at the moment than declining.
But in the long run, forgoing cupcakes will help you meet your goal of losing weight.
Or, delaying taking a coffee break again will most likely help you get your work done on time, which might mean finishing up for the day earlier.
However, giving in might mean not completing your tasks for the day which then adds more pressure to tomorrow’s list.
Those that act impulsively and can’t delay gratification lack the ability to follow through with wise long-term decisions.
If you make life easy on yourself in the short term, you pay the price in the long term.
Emotionally healthy people can be by themselves
Being able to spend time in solitude and silence, is a real sign that you’re OK being in your own company which is most likely a sign that you have healthy self-esteem.
Healthy self-esteem is, of course, foundational for being happy.
And as we now know, happiness is key to productivity and long-term satisfaction in the workplace (and life).
Now, “by yourself” doesn’t mean sitting on the couch with a pizza and Netflix.
You’re not alone.
You actually have two companions with you.
Can you sit quietly, by yourself, with nothing but your thoughts?
Or does anxiety about your life create too much discomfort?
Why is that do you think?
How much time do you spend distracting yourself from reality?
What can you do to change that?
They are able to adapt to change
Do you go with the flow or does any change throw you for a loop?
Emotionally healthy people are able to roll with the punches and maintain a positive attitude.
Flexibility is an extremely important skill to master in the modern-day world.
Flexibility is often a sign of what is called, a growth mindset, which is key to high performance.
The opposite of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset.
This is typically what many of us call, being close-minded.
Close-mindedness is not conducive to growth or productivity.
It definitely restricts levels of happiness, which means a whole cascade of unhelpful consequences, e.g. feelings of frustration, depression, stress, anger, and reactive behaviour.
None of these is constructive within the workplace or any other relationship for that matter.
They deal with discomfort effectively
Following on from the previous point, emotionally healthy people can deal with discomfort effectively because they are flexible.
They are comfortable with change and interruption for the most part.
It’s important to understand that nobody is fully comfortable with change because we all like familiarity and certainty.
However, those that have a growth mindset are more able to respond more positively when change does happen.
And we all know that “change” is the one constant that is guaranteed.
An inability to accept and respond to this reality effectively, will render you ineffective and perhaps even obsolete in the long run.
Lacking the ability to deal with change effectively, will make you ineffective in the workplace.
The reality is that those that can’t deal with emotional discomfort lead chaotic lives.
It’s only when the discomfort of not taking action becomes so great that they’re finally able to do something.
But by then, it’s too late.
Again, any leadership in an organisation will find it difficult to accommodate this.
When you can take a deep breath and take effective action in the face of emotional discomfort, life becomes easier.
They love (care about) others
Only emotionally healthy people can truly “love” others in a positive way.
To care, trust, and attach to another person honestly requires good mental health.
Why is this important in the workplace?
An organisation is basically the combination of various networks (relationships) between people.
The effectiveness of an organisation depends on the health of these relationships.
That means internally (within the organisation) as well as externally (with customers/clients).
Whenever customers/clients experience poor service from an organisation, chances are it’s simply a reflection of the existing quality of relationships within that organisation.
People who are happy, treat other people differently from people were unhappy. It’s a fact.
Therefore, if I feel content in my relationships with co-workers, those positive feelings will be mirrored in my customer service. And vice versa.
Also, emotionally healthy people genuinely “love” others, because they love themselves.
Again they have healthy self-esteem.
It is therefore vital to make sure that you create healthy self-esteem personally, and/or facilitate it in your organisation.
If you’re in a leadership position, it is important to assess the health of your employees’ self-esteem.
How do they actually feel about themselves?
This is important because happier people will be more effective in your business and organisation.
If they’re not happy, you might want to consider what can be done about it.
Leaving it unaddressed will cost you money in the long run.
They take care of themselves physically
Do you only eat when you’re hungry?
Do you make healthy food choices?
Are you able to get yourself to exercise even if you don’t feel like it?
Do you go to the doctor and dentist regularly?
If your emotional health is up to par, you can do these things consistently.
As a leader, a manager, the physical condition of your team is often a tell-tale sign of what is happening internally for them.
I appreciate that this is an uncomfortable topic, but people typically express how they feel internally, externally.
I’ve sat down with so many people over the years, and people’s levels of unhappiness are almost always tied to their physical condition.
If people are overweight, and they feel embarrassed about it, their happiness levels are not as high as they could be.
No matter what they tell you.
Conversely, when people are in shape and genuinely feel content with their physical state, it doesn’t influence their performance negatively but does supplement productivity.
Emotionally healthy people take care of themselves physically.
They look at what they eat and how much they work out.
We live in a world where this is typically a taboo subject, but we can’t deny the facts.
What this means for you personally, is assessing how you feel about your body right now.
Are you doing everything you could be doing to be as healthy as possible?
This is important because a healthy body will typically lead to a healthier self-image, which in turn will influence your levels of happiness. And that’s positive for a whole range of reasons.
If you’re a leader, you might want to consider endorsing healthier living in your business.
I appreciate that you can’t have this conversation with everyone without making them feel worse, but there are subtle things you CAN do.
- Firstly, lead from the front. Take care of your own body and health.
- Secondly, support a workplace that endorses health.
I’ve been part of teams where excess eating and drinking is the norm, and it has far-reaching consequences for performance, brand awareness, and peoples general levels of well-being and happiness.
Again, it will cost you money.
This is a simple but super important principle that emotionally healthy people understand.
Emotionally healthy people are reliable
There’s not much to say about this one.
The simple question is: Can people count on you to keep your word?
In other words, are you trustworthy and reliable?
If you are, you’d most likely find that you are much more a go-to-person than someone else who isn’t.
If you want more responsibility in your workplace, perhaps consider people’s perception of how reliable you are at the moment.
Fulfilling your promises and obligations is one sign of emotional health, and a good way of getting ahead in the workplace (and life in general).
If people can’t trust you because you’re unreliable, you might want to fix that.
They act proactively
Are you able to look ahead and see the potential sticking points and then avoid them?
Or do you wait until the wheels are coming off before you take action?
Living and working well isn’t just about skillfully dealing with challenges.
Ideally, it’s about intelligently avoiding them when possible.
Leaders typically look for people who are proactive rather than reactive.
Reactive people tend to create more problems than solve them.
Now, some people are great at reacting to a crisis, which is typically unforeseeable.
However, proactive people tend to pay attention to things and are therefore more aware of possible consequences of certain actions as well as trends in the marketplace/environment.
They are therefore more prepared than their counterparts.
People who are proactive are great assets for any leader or a business owner.
Especially when they are reliable also.
Are you more proactive or reactive?
If you find you’re leaning towards the latter, perhaps consider how you can turn that around.
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.
Do you need to make a change?
My challenge to you in this post is to work to create habits that support the areas mentioned above.
It will most likely serve your personal and professional life hugely.
Acquire these traits of emotional health and you’ll find that you’re living a life that you enjoy very soon.