Our emotional health is something we regularly need to take inventory of and make changes in our lives to improve. As we observe Emotional Wellness Month in October, we recognize that limb loss or limb difference is only part of your story. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) emotional wellness toolkit, there are six strategies we can implement that will promote greater emotional health as we navigate our individual challenges.
1. Build resilience – Resilient people have fewer negative emotions and are able to bounce back from difficulties faster. Do this: Develop healthy physical habits; take time for yourself each day; look at problems from different angles; practice gratitude; explore beliefs about the meaning and purpose of life; social connections and community
2. Reduce stress – Learning healthy ways to cope with stress can also boost resilience. Do this: Get enough sleep; exercise regularly; build social support network; set priorities; show compassion for yourself; schedule regular times for a relaxing activity that uses mindfulness/breathing exercises; talk to a mental health professional
3. Get quality sleep – Sleep affects both mental and physical health. Do this: Go to bed at the same time each night; wake up at the same time each morning; limit electronics before bed; relax before bed; avoid alcohol, large meals, and stimulants
4. Strengthen social connections – Social connections can influence biology and our well-being. Do this: If you’re a family caregiver, ask for help from others; join a hobby group; take a class; volunteer; get active; build strong relationships with your kids if applicable; travel
5. Cope with loss – Loss can take many forms and everyone’s grieving process is different. Do this: Take care of yourself; talk to friends; find a support group; Don’t make major changes right away; talk to your doctor; consider additional support; be patient
6. Be mindful – Becoming a more mindful person requires commitment and practice. Do this: Take some deep breaths; enjoy a stroll; practice mindful eating; be aware of your body; find mindfulness resources
Learn more from the National Institutes of Health emotional wellness toolkit and resources. We also encourage you to consider joining a support group, browse our mental health and wellness information, and explore the Mental Health tab on our Thrive blog.