We’ve spent so much time as a collective focusing on health as it appears from the outside we have skin creams and eye serums, nail salons, hair balayage, eyelash extensions, waist trainers, and green juice– but the truth is, you can’t tell how ‘healthy’ someone is purely by their aesthetics and appearance. As the saying goes, “it’s what’s on the inside that counts” so can we work to place more emphasis on the way that we feel? On our holistic health including emotional, spiritual, social, and psychological wellbeing, as well as our physical needs?
This is essential if you want to feel connected to yourself and to be able to relate to and connect with others. Here’s how to build your emotional competency:
- Feel your emotions – sit with them, acknowledge them, tell yourself the truth
- Express your emotions – assert your needs to yourself and to others
- Set and honour boundaries – once you’ve communicated your needs, follow through
- Is this based on my past experiences?
- Is this serving me now?
- Are these needs related to my present experiences?
- Is there anything that I’m suppressing to appease others?
Are these needs related to my present experiences? Is there anything that I’m suppressing to appease others
Being in your body
- Practice being in your body, sinking in and feeling your body in the present moment
- We are always trying to escape or hide from something and fill in the uncomfortable gaps by buying things, using people, activities, and by keeping busy.
Just take a moment to be with yourself and feel how you’re feeling.
Here are 3 resources to help you to be in your body for a moment:
Okay, here’s something else that’s interesting, hear me out on this one. Research shows that religiosity and spirituality are protective factors (keeps people safe) against suicidal thoughts and actions. So, if you’re struggling with your mental health and wellness on the inside, if you don’t identify as religious or spiritual, here are some of the practices that studies have shown to be effective in promoting mental wellbeing:
- Gratitude practice – if you don’t identify as religious or spiritual you can still practice gratitude, most religions place a significant amount of importance on human life so practice being grateful today. Instead of dwelling on what it is that you don’t have or what you want, reflect on all of the amazing strengths that you have, your skills, your abilities, people in your life, opportunities, etc.
- Connection with others – Most religions involve community and studies showed that those who attended church had more favourable outcomes in regard to mental wellbeing than those who simply engaged in prayer on their own. So, if you don’t identify as religious or spiritual reach out to people, go out to brunch with friends, talk, video chat with your family, arrange and board games and charcuterie night – In my opinion, the most important part is to be present in whatever it is that you’re doing, don’t miss out because you’re stuck in your spiraling thoughts – really connect and be present with others
- Seek support – Most religions want to help ease human pain, suffering, stress, and anxiety by getting closer to ‘Source, God, The Universe, The Divine, etc.’ – if you don’t identify as religious or spiritual here is your takeaway for this one: seek help, reach out to others, get a therapist, talk to your family – you don’t have to do it all alone. Take it from me – an ultra-independent “don’t need no man” kinda woman. It is OK to depend on others, Western society has made individualism super sexy, and I can’t help but wonder, what if we really homed in on interdependence? What would it look like if we didn’t just hang out with our friends for fun and reach out after days of struggle when we’ve finally got it all under control recounting what had happened over the past couple of days – what if we really leaned on others for support? What would it be like? What if we didn’t struggle in private but were OK with reaching out to those who love us?
Here are some spiritual practices that have become Westernized that you can easily access to lower your actual physiological response to stress and anxiety:
- Mindfulness-based practices
- Listening to music
- Chanting and singing
If you’re not comfortable trying these things on your own, there are a ton of resources online. You can even join me for my Specialty Holiday Clinics that I’ll be running via Zoom. I’ll guide you and coach you through each of these live classes.
Specialty Holiday Clinics- online:
Tuesday Dec. 21 – Breathwork, stretching, and meditation @ 6PM-7PM
Thursday Dec. 23 – HIIT Cardio Sweat @6PM-7PM
Monday Dec. 27 – Strength Training @5:30PM-6:30PM
Friday Dec. 31 – HIIT Cardio Sweat @9AM-10AM
Sunday Jan. 2 – Breathwork, stretching, and meditation @9AM-10AM
- Mate, Gabor. When the Body Says No – the Cost of Hidden Stress. Random House Canada, 2012.
- Morkel, V., & McLaughlin, T. (2015). Promoting Social and Emotional Competencies in Early Childhood: Strategies for Teachers. Kairaranga, 1, 16.
- Nelson, G., Hanna, R., Houri, A, & Klimes-Dougan, B. (2012). Review Protective Functions of Religious Traditions for Suicide Risk. Suicidology Online, 3, p. 59-71