Emotional Health Week

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Photo: Ideas Into Action workshop. Result encourages emotional openness and wellbeing in all of our work.

Result Associate Teresa Wilson writes about Emotional Health Week.

Emotional Health Week gives us an opportunity to hit the pause button and consider this lesser-known cousin of mental health; our emotional health.

 What comes to mind when you think of those words? 

  • Do you instinctively understand what emotional health looks and feels like for you?
  • Do you have more of a cognitive understanding of what emotional health is?
  • Would you recognise ‘emotional health’ in others?
  • Or does your mind go a bit blank if you even try and think about it? 

There has been an explosion of communication and information about Mental Health over the last decade, that has gone a long way to de-stigmatising what was previously an incredibly taboo area. It speaks to the need that was present in our culture for people to be seen and recognised in their struggles, and to be given the language with which to make sense of their lives. (An area that comes up time and again on the training programmes we run, here at Result.)  

Creating a common language means that people feel less isolated and can begin a journey towards recovery, stability and wellness. Put simply, having the right words means we can access the right support.

But how many conversations have you had over the last year that included the words ‘emotional health’?

I’m guessing not many.

What is ‘emotional health’ anyway? 

Mental health is an overarching term which includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. 

Emotional health is a subset or aspect of mental health and refers to our “ability to cope with both positive and negative emotions, including our awareness of them.” In general, emotionally healthy people tend to have good coping mechanisms for negative emotions.”

So, our emotional health describes our capacity to navigate our emotional response to the data the world presents to us.

When it comes to that ‘emotional response’ I wonder how literate you feel when it comes to putting language to a concept as nebulous as ‘emotions.’ How many emotions can you even name or recognise within yourself?

We might know we feel a bit off, a bit flat or lacking in motivation, but could we point to the specific emotion that is linked to that feeling? 

We might all be able to name happy, sad and angry…but beyond that?

For so many of us, the family or culture or gender we grew up in led to us becoming pretty emotionally illiterate. For others, living with neurodivergent brains, the concept of labelling emotions may come with an added layer of complexity, given that the prevailing culture adheres to a neurotypical model of expression. 

But what remains true is that arming ourselves with more language can be a really helpful first step towards engaging with our emotional health, enabling us to stop, notice and name what we’re feeling, in the moment. 

Emotion Wheels

To help with this, you might like to explore the different emotion wheels available at Human Systems. Then, when you notice that you may be feeling a little ‘off’, you can navigate to the emotion that feels most activated in you and start to build a language with which to understand your own inner, emotional weather systems.

Noticing what we’re feeling is a really good start; it means we can offer ourselves support, reach out to others for help or support and generally create a first step towards more choice in how to respond to our emotions. This is particularly helpful when facing periods of challenge, stress or distress.

To develop your coping mechanisms even further - and to move from a reactive to a proactive position in relation to your emotional health - you might also like to add in this beautiful practice that is rooted in self-compassion. The more you practice these three steps, over time, the more you will be able to support yourself emotionally whenever times are tough.

Self-compassion Break

Step One: Notice

Close your eyes. Imagine yourself observing yourself, zooming out slightly to witness how you’re feeling. Take some time to check in. Where you are most feeling your emotions? Tight chest? Rolling stomach? Clenched jaw? Maybe put a hand to where you’re feeling the emotion in your body and let it rest gently there. Now see if you can simply name that emotion, with a tone of loving kindness, as if you were talking to a friend: ah, that’s anger.

Step Two: Common humanity

Now think about the broader situation that has triggered this emotional response in you. Maybe it’s a work demand, or a tricky relationship moment. Maybe you’re feeling uncertain about a decision you need to make. Whatever it is, remind yourself: anyone in the same situation would struggle in the same way. This feeling is part of what is to be a human being. Let yourself know: There is nothing wrong with me for feeling this way.

Step Three: Kindness

Now, place a hand over your heart area, and enjoy feeling the warmth of a soothing touch on your body. From this place of calm, imagine that someone who loves you dearly has walked into the room and they whisper in your ear the words that you MOST need to hear right now; words of real comfort and support. This may be: you are loved, or everything is going to be ok, or I believe in you. Savour the impact of these reassuring words.


  • You can enjoy this practice with eyes closed, or could do this while out for a walk.
  • You could linger over each stage and take your time, or you could complete in a minute or two. 
  • The value is in the repetition, helping you practice the skill of observing your emotions, rather than being flooded by them or over-identified with them.
  • If you’d like a guided practice to listen to, see Christopher Germer

 Emotion Wheels and Self-compassion Break

By increasing your literacy around your emotions, along with your ability to stop and name them in the moment, you will go a long way to increasing your emotional health, over time.

Just as going to the gym can improve our physical health, these two activities can help to keep you emotionally buff.

And if that’s not a good intention to set on Emotional Health week, I don’t know what is!

Photos by Rob Martin.

We are what we do and we love what we do.



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