• Joel Rosenberg, Chief Mental Health Officer

Be healthy by being happy - emotional wellbeing

Emotional well-being is a collection of all the feelings we experience on an average day. Typically, this is measured by comparing our positive and negative feelings. When we have high emotional well-being, we may strongly experience positive feelings such as happiness and excitement or calmness and contentment. We also will not be experiencing any harsh negative feelings such as nervousness and tenseness, or sadness and fatigue. Although there are many similar models for understanding our positive and negative feelings, we’ve included a simple framework below. Most of our core feelings can be categorized into either high energy or low energy, or pleasant or unpleasant.

Take a moment to reflect on how this applies to you.

Each of these types of feelings has their purpose for us, but generally, we’re doing better when we’re experiencing a lot of pleasant emotions, and not too many unpleasant ones. For example, imagine your “perfect day”. It’s probably filled with doing things that make you feel excited and alive (typically these are passions or hobbies), and things that make you feel safe, sound, and content (typically these are creature comforts like good food and entertainment or spending time with an old friend). Our “perfect day” also probably doesn’t involve too much unpleasantness. We probably feel in control of what we’re doing (rather than tense and nervous) and we probably feel present and engaged in what we’re doing (rather than feeling bored and mindless like we sometimes feel after the 5th episode of Netflix in a row).

Finally, when we’re experiencing high emotional well-being, we know it! One of the most common measures of emotional well-being is a “self-perception scale”. It’s a one question measure that asks: “Rate your life overall for these days”, on a scale of “worst possible life overall” to “best possible life overall”.

This is why external measures of our quality of life don’t guarantee our emotional well-being. If we spend all day feeling like an expert at work and doing the work we’re great at, we come home to a loving family and take a nice bubble bath to end the day, but aren’t ultimately satisfied with our life, we’re unlikely to have great emotional well-being. Suppose we are upset by the magnitude of our rootedness and responsibility, or that we long for more challenge in our life to give us that feeling of “winning” and accomplishment once we overcome it. Our emotional well-being can’t be that great, even if we checked all of the conventional boxes for a happy life.

To learn more about emotional wellbeing, as well as tools to keep it high and help you get through life when it's low, check out the Resili App for free.

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