Emotional Wellness Month is a reminder to take a few moments each day (even just 5 minutes) to disconnect from life stressors, social media, work, family responsibilities, or whatever is keeping you from feeling calm. Take time to focus on your wellness.
Schedule time to meditate, take a walk, dance to a song you love, sing loudly, connect with someone who cares about you, read something, or do anything else in your wellness toolbox that allows peace of mind and enhances feelings of calm.
Keeping a healthy emotional balance helps us make healthy choices, have better relationships, and achieve our wellness goals. To honor the month, Lynn Miller shares her journey to emotional wellness.
What Emotional Wellness Means to Me
By Lynn Miller, Certified Advanced Level WRAP Facilitator, AHP WRAP Associate
How we feel can affect our ability to carry out daily activities, our relationships, and our mental health. For me, emotional wellness is the ability to successfully address life’s stressors, adapt to change in a positive way, and find the light during challenging times.
It would be nice if we knew what life held for us and we could be prepared, or even prevent the difficulties and experiences that cause us pain or heartache, but that isn’t reality. However, we can prepare to be resilient and mentally strong by using our WRAP.
When I think about times when I felt I couldn’t get through a situation, I think about what caused me to feel this way. What was missing?
As a person who was introduced to WRAP two decades ago—and who self-admittedly didn’t always use it—I reflect on the times when I did not accept personal responsibility for my own well-being.
Most times, I am emotionally well and can use my wellness tools and past experiences of my own recovery to guide me through challenging times. However, there was one time in my life when it felt the breath was knocked out of me and that I wouldn’t be able to crawl out of bed. My family had experienced a major crisis, and as matriarch of the family, it seemed to fall to me to make things right and somehow fix everything. I found everything breaking down, and I felt as though I was in a dark tunnel that seemed to become deeper and deeper.
Fortunately, I had a small army of support and was able to lean on my loved ones. But the balance I’d cultivated to handle adverse situations seemed to crumble. When I started finding my way out of that dark tunnel, I had to review many areas of my life, especially how I responded to the crisis. I realized that although I believed I was emotionally well, I was not.
For me, being emotionally well meant I was able to be productive, stay connected to people, and feel as though each day was an accomplishment. What I learned was that my emotional wellness was tied to “doing” for others, solving other people’s problems, and ignoring my own needs. I was depleted of emotional kindness to myself.
To gain a better grip on my emotions and my ability to become emotionally healthy, I took a deep dive into what was lacking in my life. This reflection challenged me to update my WRAP and take more proactive steps to create a better life.
I began tuning into my own needs and what I needed to support myself on a daily basis. Whereas I used to stuff my feelings down and not allow them to be known or expressed, I began allowing myself to feel my emotions—sit with them, process them, and honor them. Once I began to make this practice a priority, I began to feel lighter and more emotionally safe and well.
I started letting go of the shame. I stopped viewing my emotions as something “wrong” and began accepting them as part of my core self.
I also began challenging myself to stay in the present. Because of the pain and adverse experiences in my life, I often found myself intertwining a current challenge with the pain of past experiences, sending me down a dark tunnel.
Maintaining mindfulness, sitting with the feelings and emotions, and practicing meditation allows me to process the feelings and then release them.
The more I face my emotions and express them, the healthier I become. Far too often, I have been told to “let it go” or that I was too emotional or too sensitive.
Now, I embrace my emotional wellness, because I know there’s no shame in my feelings and emotions, but rather a freedom in feeling whatever I feel.
If I ignore my emotions, I’m not holding myself in unconditional high regard. I am learning every day that I have a right to express my feelings, making me a healthier member of the human race. I will continue to challenge myself to be my most authentic self and to be proud of that person. My WRAP has helped me strengthen my emotional wellness, and I’m grateful for its place in my life.
Lynn Miller is the Director of WRAP.