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Mental Health: Keeping Your Emotional Health

   

What is good emotional health?

People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. They feel good about themselves and have good relationships. They can keep problems in perspective.

It’s important to remember that even people who have good emotional health can sometimes have emotional problems or mental illness. Mental illness often has a physical cause, such as a chemical imbalance in the brain. Stress and problems with family, work or school can sometimes trigger mental illness or make it worse. However, people who are emotionally healthy have learned ways to cope with stress and problems. They know when they need to seek help from their doctor or a counselor.

 

What is good emotional health?

People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. They feel good about themselves and have good relationships. They can keep problems in perspective.

It’s important to remember that even people who have good emotional health can sometimes have emotional problems or mental illness. Mental illness often has a physical cause, such as a chemical imbalance in the brain. Stress and problems with family, work or school can sometimes trigger mental illness or make it worse. However, people who are emotionally healthy have learned ways to cope with stress and problems. They know when they need to seek help from their doctor or a counselor.


What about anger?

People are sometimes not aware of what causes their anger, how much anger they are holding inside or how to express anger appropriately. You may be angry about certain events, your own actions or other people’s actions. Many little things can build up to make you feel that life is unfair.

If you find yourself becoming increasingly irritable or taking unhealthy risks (such as drinking too much or abusing drugs), you may have a problem dealing with anger. It’s very important to talk with your doctor or a counselor about getting help.


What can I do to avoid problems?

First, notice your emotions and reactions. Try to understand them. Learning how to identify what is causing sadness, frustration and anger in your life can help you do a better job of managing your emotional health. The box to the right gives some other helpful tips.

How does stress affect my emotions?

Your body responds to stress by making stress hormones. These hormones help your body respond to situations of extreme need. But when your body makes too many of these hormones for a long period of time, the hormones wear down your body — and your emotions. People who are under stress a lot are often emotional, anxious, irritable, and even depressed.

If possible, try to change the situation that is causing your stress. Relaxation methods, such as deep breathing and meditation, and exercise are also useful ways to cope with stress.


Can emotional problems be treated?

Yes. Counseling, support groups and medicines can help people who have emotional problems or mental illness. If you have an ongoing emotional problem, talk to your family doctor. He or she can help you find the right type of treatment.


Other Organizations


Source

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff.

American Academy of Family Physicians

Reviewed/Updated: 11/09
Created: 05/00

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