Emotional

Six signs of strong emotional health

Six signs of strong emotional health

Developing emotional health takes time and dedication. It is not something that is an overnight success – but it is an essential aspect of living well.

As with most things in life, the reward corresponds to the effort put in. Because it takes time and dedication, the reward is substantial.

The first steps are to become aware of and then accept your role in changing behavior patterns that are not serving you well. This is in everyone’s own hands.

But as soon as someone accepts that they are free to choose how they respond to situations, their emotional health will start gaining strength.

Being emotionally strong means you will have learned not to give time or waste energy on negative emotions such as self-pity, excessive pride or envy.

In place of these you have room for the positive stuff in life – uplifting emotions such as hope, trust and love. You will tend to increasingly and automatically look for the positive.

You become someone who can embrace change rather than resent and fear it. You are comfortable in your ability to make choices that previously most likely would have left you procrastinating because you were full of anxiety.

Being emotionally strong means having the right tools in your emotional toolbox. You know how to use these tools – and as a result life in general gets progressively better.

Here are six major signs of strong emotional wellbeing:

1. You learn from your mistakes

Emotionally strong people may say the mantra: “There are no such things as bad things, only things to learn and grow from.”

We are all human – therefore we make mistakes. It’s totally acceptable.

By seeing mistakes as learning exercises we save ourselves from negative feelings of remorse, guilt and overwhelming anxiety. These all steal our energy.

In fact, people with the strongest emotional health, while perhaps not inviting bad things into their life, almost immediately know that everything can be learned from. This means they can continue growing.

Then, when something similar arises, they can deal with it in a much more efficient manner. It also means they are able to help other people who seek their guidance when a similar situation happens to them.

2. Recognizing when things are out of your control

A phrase often heard in recovery circles is: remember that you are powerless over other people, places and things.

But what we do always have control over is our attitude. That means we are in charge about how we react to someone or something.

It’s why the serenity prayer that’s said at many Twelve Steps meetings is so helpful to so many people. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Understanding that certain things are out of our control allows acceptance to come much more swiftly. This stops a self-imposed burden from pushing down on our shoulders.

It allows us to be emotionally healthier and stronger. This means that when things do come along that are in our control we have much more energy and clarity of mind to deal with them in the right way.

3. You have healthy boundaries

A big step in becoming emotionally strong is to have healthy boundaries. It means that you know yourself and have enough self-love and self-assuredness to set and keep these boundaries.

It is that you are comfortable enough to say no to certain requests that cross your boundary. It means you can stand up for yourself when someone is threatening your healthy boundary.

Having a healthy boundary stops someone from being a people-pleaser. It is all a part of being aware enough to choose positive patterns of behavior.

4. You live one day at a time and deal with problems as they happen

Avoiding problems that come along only allows the issues to fill up your head. By living each day at a time and staying in the now you will free your mind of yesterday’s issues and tomorrow’s worries.

It is pointless to regret the past as it won’t change a thing. Likewise, to worry about the future.

In fact worrying about the future only guarantees one thing: you will ruin the present moment due to the worrying.

Swiftly dealing with problems and putting them to bed keeps your mental and emotional filing cabinet in good order. It gives a sense of job done, and that gives priceless peace of mind.

Epictetus, one of the most influential people from the Stoic school of philosophy, said this much way back in the 3rd Century BC: “Caretake this moment. Immerse yourself in its particulars. Respond to this person, this challenge, this deed. Quit evasions.

“Stop giving yourself needless trouble. It is time to really live; to fully inhabit the situation you happen to be in now.” 

5. You express gratitude

By focusing on abundance and what you have in life rather than lack and what you don’t have, you’re giving yourself emotional strength.

Daily gratitude lists – when you write down things for which you are grateful – will keep your focus on the positive things in life. These are often things taken for granted, but that we would miss if we didn’t have them.

You can include your health, your five senses, your family and friends, your home, food in the fridge, running water and even smaller things such as having a pair of trainers or a comfortable cushion that you love to put your head on to relax.

Expressing gratitude helps to keep you in the present moment too by focusing on things around you and in your life. Gratitude is very powerful towards having strong emotional health – and such as depression and anxiety cannot exist alongside gratitude.

6. Letting go of your resentments

By quickly being able to recognize a resentment and dealing with it you will boost your emotional strength. You remove the power a resentment usually holds over you – and so can swiftly get on with your life.

Strongly connected with this is forgiveness. People who have strong emotional health know that forgiveness, while also good for the world around, is amazingly positive for themselves.

Frequently, when we have a resentment against someone, that person cannot feel a thing, and yet we go on feeling terrible or consumed with anger as we think about them. We are hurting ourselves.

It’s been said to be the equivalent of drinking poison, and then waiting for the person we resent to die…

So not having – or swiftly letting go – of any resentments, and then forgiving gives an immense boost to our emotional health.

Our expert team has decades of combined experience in helping people achieve strong emotional health and wellbeing. If need be, we can also initially guide people to achieve emotional rehabilitation.

Discover how we can help you or someone you care about by contacting us today.

emotional dependencies alcohol

The top 5 emotional drivers of alcohol dependency

Many psychologists operate on the belief that all human behaviour is because of our environment. In a way, the same principle also applies to the emotional reasons behind alcohol addiction.

If this concept has any truth to it, any unhealthy behaviours that lead to alcohol abuse have the potential to be developed this way too.

The good news is that humans can get taught to unlearn just as much as they are taught to learn.

What is alcohol dependency?

Alcoholism is a psychiatric diagnosis that was reclassified under the DSM-5 in 2013, as alcohol use disorder (previously classified as alcohol dependence).

When someone has an alcohol use disorder, they are psychologically or physically dependent on alcohol.

What are the symptoms of alcohol dependency?

According to experts, alcohol dependency has four key symptoms:

  • Physical dependence: This includes shaking, anxiety, sweating and feeling sick when stopping alcohol after a bout of heavy drinking
  • High alcohol tolerance: The more a person drinks, the stronger the alcohol threshold -meaning they require a higher intake of alcohol to get drunk
  • Strong urges or cravings: The persons urge and, the compulsion to drink is intense
  • A lack of control: A person is incapable of controlling the amount they drink on any given day or occasion

Risks and complications

The risks associated with alcoholism are threefold:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Mental

Physical

When someone continuously abuses alcohol – it can have a detrimental impact on their physical wellbeing.

Health conditions that are associated with alcoholism or alcohol use disorder are:

  • High blood pressure
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle (females)
  • Erectile dysfunction (males)
  • Colon, oesophagus and liver cancers
  • Bleeding in the digestive tract

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, other health conditions such as heart disease, brain dysfunction and pancreatic cancers are associated with alcoholism.

Epidemiological studies show that breast cancer is more prevalent in those who drink alcohol daily.

A study, which included a total of 58,000 women with a breast cancer diagnosis showed that those who drank more than 45 grams of alcohol a day, had 1.5 times the risk of contracting breast cancer compared to those who don’t drink that much.

Alcohol weakens the immune system:

Other studies show that drinking too much can weaken the immune system leaving people open to conditions such as pneumonia and tuberculosis compared to those that do not drink too much.

Emotional

The emotional repercussions of alcohol abuse can be devastating to the addict and the addicts family – these include:

  • Depression
  • Isolation
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Anxiety

Not only do the effects of alcohol abuse produce emotional problems, but overusing alcohol can also trigger negative feelings such as anger, overreacting to things, and an inability to control emotions (dysregulation).

 Mental

Someone that continually abuses alcohol may notice a difference in their ability to function on a cognitive level. Symptoms include:

  • Euphoria
  • Decreased impulse control
  • Mood instability
  • Aggression
  • Memory loss
  • Clumsiness and slower reflexes (such as slurred speech and disorientation)

Top 5 emotional drivers of alcohol dependency

Emotional triggers for alcoholism

It is hard to say what drives a person from having the occasional tipple to full-blown alcohol abuse.

But, many factors put a person at risk of becoming an alcoholic in the future. Alcoholism is usually a byproduct of social and environmental factors, mental health and genetics.  

The more risk factors a person possesses, the likelier they are of developing some form of alcohol addiction. Below are some of the emotional drivers of alcohol dependency:

#1. Mental health issues:

When someone has mental health problems, the challenges they face every day can be overwhelming.

Since alcohol is a depressant, meaning that it often slows speech or other functions, it may seem helpful when someone is feeling anxious or depressed. In the long run, though, it can lead to alcohol dependency.

#2. History of alcohol abuse in the family:

Those with a parent or close relative who abused alcohol are automatically at an increased risk of developing issues with alcohol in the future.

Alcoholism is known as a family disease as it affects not only the addict but the whole family unit. If a child is around a parent that abused alcohol, they are up to five times more likely to abuse alcohol themselves.

#3. Drinking from an early age:

Those who drink at an early age are more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder when they become adults according to the Mayo Clinic.

Not only has a person developed a dependence on alcohol early on, but they have also built a tolerance towards the substance – meaning that it takes more than just a few glasses of wine to get drunk.

#4. Traumatic experiences:

Many people abuse alcohol to numb out the unpleasant feelings associated with a traumatic experience or event.

These traumatic experiences may be single events (such as witnessing a close relatives illness) or, they may stem from childhood (such as experiencing physical or sexual abuse).

It seems that any traumatic experience can produce a dependency on a substance such as alcohol and the effects can vary from person to person.

#5. Peer pressure:

Peer pressure can happen at any age with alcohol since being social is one of the reasons behind drinking.

Going to a wedding or celebration almost always includes drinking alcohol and the pressure to drink from others is often a feature.

When a person refuses to drink at a social gathering, they might get accused of being a lightweight or a party pooper.

This form of societal pressure can be challenging for those in early alcohol recovery stages.

The pressure to drink is also normalized within certain cultures more than others, and this normalization can result in excessive drinking.

Alcoholism prevention

To prevent alcohol use disorder people must be aware of any red flags that might suggest that either themselves or a loved one is heading towards alcoholism.

Some of the red flags to look out for include:

  • People who drink more than 12-15 times a week
  • Pay special attention to those with alcoholism in the family
  • People with mental health conditions (or other addictive disorders)
  • A person becoming angry or defensive when talking about their drinking 
  • Isolation
  • Neglected personal hygiene
  • A person needing to drink more and more to get the desired effect
  • Missing work or school
  • Drinking alone and binge drinking

There are a number of alcohol prevention plans that can be helpful to all ages -such as:

  • Education – this can involve all age groups as drinking affects people of all ages differently. Understanding the facts on ageing and drinking and how to avoid alcohol poisoning are beneficial
  • Being as transparent as possible about how alcohol and other drugs such as prescription drugs and herbal medicines can cause complications if taken together or used incorrectly
  • Spreading awareness around the health implications of alcoholism (particularly for those belonging to the older generation) such as high blood pressure, memory loss, stroke, and a lack of coordination and balance
  • Understanding any triggers such as boredom, loneliness, loss of a loved one and depression

Treatment

Seeking early treatment for alcohol abuse is crucial in stopping the addiction cycle. Early intervention can help prevent the adverse effects that accompany alcohol use disorder. 

Residential treatment centres offer plenty of treatment options for alcohol addiction such as group counselling, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy and 12 step programs.

Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous are also beneficial for those in alcohol recovery.

If you are worried about your (or a loved ones’) drinking habits, it might be time to get in touch with a professional who can help. Contact the team at Tikvah Lake today to discuss your options further.

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