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The Road to Wellness: Emotional Well-being

By March 27, 2017August 16th, 2021Well-being
Three women smile at sunset

When someone asks about your health, it’s natural to think about how your body feels. Do you have a cold? A nagging back pain? Or maybe you think about how you could hit the gym more often, or work more vegetables into your diet.

Too often, we focus on our physical well-being and forget how important our emotional well-being is. But emotional well-being is a must for your overall health, and when it’s lacking, your physical health can suffer too.

What is emotional well-being?

Emotional well-being refers to how we feel — happy, sad, angry, silly, frustrated, hopeful — the whole range of emotions we experience and how well we are able to express (and control) these feelings. All of these emotions are normal and healthy, and they each serve a purpose.

For example, anger is a defense mechanism meant to protect you from harm while fear is also meant to protect you from danger by causing you to run. You may have heard of this referred to as “fight or flight.” And while it’s normal to feel angry from time to time, it’s not normal — or healthy — to feel this way constantly.

How can I control my anger?

Your coworker isn’t pulling his weight on your project. Your spouse doesn’t clean up after herself. Your dog forgets he’s housebroken. Every day, there are countless triggers that make us angry. In fact, the average person gets angry between 15 and 20 times a day. But what’s important is how long your anger lasts and how you deal with it.

Most people resort to one of four ways to “mismanage” their anger:

  • Keeping their anger bottled up inside
  • Yelling and swearing
  • “Getting even”
  • Binge eating, exercising excessively, shopping, or other obsessive compulsive behaviors

Even if it feels good at the time, none of these anger styles are good for you and they can even put you at risk for a number of physical ailments, including migraines, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia1.

Pay attention to what triggers your anger and what your reaction is. Think about whether you can change your expectations, avoid this type of situation, or try to resolve the issue. Try a number of different methods to practice control and see what works best for you.

Here are seven quick tips to control your anger that you can start with.

How can I find happiness?

There’s no arguing the need for happiness in our lives. It’s even written in the Declaration of Independence. But as the oft’-quoted Benjamin Franklin said, “The Declaration of Independence only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”

So how do we catch it? If money can’t buy happiness, then what does? True happiness is about attitude, about perspective, and about gratitude. It requires us to be grateful for what we have, and stop wishing for what we don’t.

We need to spend more time with the people who make us happy, and less time with those who don’t. We need to take risks, take breaks, and take walks. We need to find and follow our purpose, see the good in ourselves, and think about how we can use it to help others. And we need to laugh more!

Looking for more tips? Here are 10 simple ways you can find happiness.

How can laughter help my well-being?

Laughter is good for the soul. It makes you happier, it relieves stress, and it eases anxiety. But laughter is also good for the body — decreasing muscle tension, lowering your resting blood pressure, and releasing neurochemicals that make you feel good.

If you want to follow doctors’ orders, you should try to get at least 15 LOLs a day. If that sounds like a lot, then you may want to get some pointers from a youngster because the average four-year-old laughs 300 times a day.

You can also try these 10 tips to lighten up and laugh more.

IBX Members

Having fun with family and friends is an important part of your emotional well-being! As a member, you have access to wellness and member perks, like Blue InsiderSM for exclusive deals and discounts on amusement parks, hotels, shopping, movie tickets, sporting events, museums, and other attractions. Need more tips to boost your emotional well-being? Call a Health Coach at the number listed on the back of your member ID card.

Stay tuned for the next installment of The Road to Wellness, where we will focus on spiritual well-being. Want to catch up on the others? Read the whole  Road to Wellness series.

1 Source: Seaward, Dr. Brian Luke, The Road to Wellness. The Wellness Council of America. Omaha. 2013.

Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. If you have, or suspect that you have, a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.


Lorrie Reynolds

With 25 years of preventive health and wellness experience, Lorrie Reynolds is Director of Wellness Client Accounts for Independence, accountable for leading and directing the Plan’s worksite wellness programs. At Independence she has been accountable for preventive health outreach, clinical guidelines, health education content, wellness solutions operations, and expansion of preventive health outreach in the community. She proudly serves as an Advisory Board Member for the Independence Blue Crew volunteer program, and is a certified National Diabetes Prevention Program Lifestyle Coach.