Emotional Wellness: Your attitude towards life and your ability to adapt to your environment, interact with others, and cope with stress.
Emotional Intelligence: Your ability to identify, express, and use your emotions to promote personal growth.
Emotional Regulation: Your ability to influence your emotions, when and how you experience them.
Nine Characteristics of Emotionally Healthy People
Self-awareness: The ability to reflect and redirect emotions to manage distress or elation.
- Be objective. When you separate yourself from your emotions, you may see things more clearly. To keep a healthy boundary between you and your emotions, remind yourself that you are not your emotions, they do not dictate your behavior, and you can feel emotions without becoming them.
- Practice reflection. Use the Self-Reflection Guide for Medical Students!
Self-acceptance: The ability to accept yourself as you are.
- Accept your emotions and vulnerability. It can be difficult to face and process difficult emotions, especially if they are not considered socially acceptable. Instead of letting your emotions bubble and eventually boil over, decide to acknowledge, and feel them. Without accepting vulnerability, you can never truly come to know yourself or let yourself be known by others.
Self-care: The ability to care for your health and wellbeing.
Use the eight dimensions of wellness domains to explore the self-care strategies that provide you the most value.
- Physical Wellness: Eat healthy, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, practice good hygiene, and maintain good posture.
- Emotional Wellness: Find ways to be mindful, practice relaxation, and challenge negative thinking.
- Financial Wellness: Determine your short- and long-term financial goals and live within your means.
- Social Wellness: Seek and maintain healthy relationships with family, friends, and mentors. Set healthy boundaries when necessary.
- Environmental wellness: Strive for physical and psychological safety by always being aware of your environment.
- Intellectual Wellness: Be curious and creative, laugh, and maintain a child-like playfulness.
- Occupational Wellness: Identify and understand your purpose in the work you do. Reflect and make meaning of your experiences.
- Spiritual Wellness: Explore your spirituality by connecting with your values and expressing gratitude.
Emotional agility: The ability to remain curious and maintain an open mind when faced with setbacks.
- Identify and understand your emotional triggers.
- Label your thoughts and feelings
- Own your emotions
- Act in ways that support your values
Coping skills: The practice of strengthening stress-response strategies when you are calm and in control. This way, you can access those strategies more easily when in distress. Popular healthy coping skills:
- Practicing focused breathing
- Engaging in hobbies that bring you happiness
- Connecting with nature
- Exploring the arts (Music, art, literature, etc.)
- Prioritizing quality sleep
- Engaging in reflection or prayer
Kindness and integrity: The ability to interact with others with genuine curiosity and compassion.
- Practice kindness. One of the quickest and easiest ways to provide yourself with a boost of good feelings is to do something kind for someone else. Thinking about that act of kindness at the end of the day will allow you to relive that good feeling.
- Try a loving-kindness meditation.
Living with purpose: The ability to use one’s inner experiences to serve others and focus on the bigger picture.
- Check out the Self-Reflection Guide for Medical Students and connect with the values most important to you. Regularly check in with yourself and ensure your actions align with your values.
- When faced with fear, trust in yourself and what you believe in.
Manages stress: The regular practice of serenity and being able to remain calm when things get hard.
- How you manage stress is unique to you. As humans, we need some stress. Some stress keeps you alert and driven. It is not about eliminating all stress; it is about remaining at optimal stress levels where you are focused and motivated.
Resources to Help Understand your Emotional Landscape
Recommended TedTalks: How To Talk about Your Feelings TedTalk Playlist
- Guy Winch. Why we all need to practice emotional first aid.
- Susan David. The gift and power of emotional courage.
- Brené Brown. The power of vulnerability.
- Sangu Delle. There’s no shame in taking care of your mental health
- Mandy Len Catron. A better way to talk about love
- Nikki Webber Allen. Don’t suffer from your depression in silence
- Tiffany Watt Smith. The history of human emotions
- Ryan Martin. Why we get mad, and why it’s healthy
- Elizabeth Lesser. Say your truths and seek them in others
- Renee Lertzman. How to turn climate anxiety into action.
The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown
13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don't Do, by Amy Morin
The Power of Vulnerability, by Brene Brown
Permission to Feel, by Marc Brackett
The Book of Human Emotions, by Tiffany Watt Smith
Mastering Adulthood, by Lara E. Fielding