I’m meeting with a group of women tonight to discuss how to handle difficulties in their lives. I’m focusing a good chunk of my presentation on strategies to promote emotional wellness. I think we can all benefit from these, so I thought I’d share with you:

1.Return to the basics of physical health and find balance in the following:
a.)Engage in physical activity of a type that you have found enjoyable in the past. Exercise has many healing effects including the release of endorphins and improving sleep.
b.)Eat healthy and regularly. Be sure that you are having regular and balanced meals with the appropriate nutrients. Remember to eat healthy portions as well.
c.)Get an appropriate amount of sleep each night. Keep your sleep in check: schedule, quantity, quality. Stay away from too much and too little sleep. Build healthy sleep routines.
d.)Get some amount of sunlight every day. The sun serves to nourish and energize us.

2.Get together with people that are important to you. Don’t suffer in isolation; reconnect with others. Start with small steps and build from there.

3.Talk it out. Rather than bottling things up, share your feelings, concerns, and frustrations with someone you trust. Prayer is also a good way of talking things out, and is always accessible.

4.Take a few minutes to count your blessings. Savor the dignity and worth inherent in being a unique human being. You can train yourself to see the good in your life and increase your gratitude.

5.Stand up for your rights to have opinions and feelings; to speak and be listened to; even to make mistakes. Give yourself permission to say “no” to burdensome or unreasonable requests and demands.

6.Don’t let feelings of hurt and anger rage inside. Learn to express your feelings timely and appropriately. This may feel awkward at first but will come easier with practice.

7.Do 5 acts of kindness every day. Focusing your thoughts and actions on others will help take the pressure off of your own troubles. You will also feel that euphoria that comes from serving others.

8.Take responsibility for your difficult feelings. Begin to take control of these feelings rather than letting them control you. Begin by identifying what factors are contributing to your difficulties. What is within your control to decrease or eliminate the impact of those factors?

9.Don’t measure yourself against others. Each of us has different experiences; judging yourself to be either better or worse than other people is not fair to anyone.

10.Set realistic goals. Set yourself up for success by breaking your goals down into small steps. Smaller steps are more manageable and can greatly decrease your rate of burnout or giving up due to feeling overwhelmed. Acknowledge the progress you are making.

11. Know your emotional family history. It’s important to understand what tendencies run in our families, how we have learned to view the world, and what we are most susceptible to. Take the opportunity to learn how those you love and trust have managed their own emotional struggles.

12. Practice acts of self care each day. Take care of yourself so you can offer your best self to others. It’s difficult to run on an empty tank so remember to strengthen yourself so your own reserves don’t go dry.

13. Make time to journal. It’s good practice to release your emotions on paper so they don’t churn inside of you. You can have a separate journal for posterity and a “Free write” journal where you are free to write down any and all feelings you are facing, even the scary or embarrassing ones.

14. Let go of perfectionism. Nobody is perfect! While working hard, learn to appreciate and even celebrate when you are good enough, okay, and pretty great. Celebrate your successes all along the way. Recognize your efforts made rather than the distance still to go until the unattainable perfection.

15. Learn to ask for and accept help from others. Get over yourself. Recognize that each of us has tough days and today just might be a challenge for you. Just as you would reach out to someone else when they are struggling, allow others to assist you in your time of struggle.

16. Plan ahead. Know what things are likely to trigger feelings of depression and plan how you can be aware of and compensate for their effects in advance.