The Seven Pillars of W-holistic Wellbeing Part 2: Emotional Wellbeing
Emotional wellbeing comes from a supportive environment, positive feelings and happy thoughts. It can be measured by the ability to connect to how we feel at a deeper level, and cultivate more positive emotions. Positive emotions are associated with happiness, an appetite for life and an abundance of health. In combating stress, anxiety, and depression, emotional wellbeing has the largest impact on an individual’s wellbeing and quality of life.
What is emotional wellbeing? It is the notion that your emotions are balanced and relevant to the situation in front of you. Someone with sound emotional wellbeing will not stress about minor incidents and have tools to self-regulate and control more violent emotions like anger, especially in moments of surprise. Meditation, fulfilling hobbies, regular exercise for both mind and soul such as yoga, social interaction, and proper rest, all contribute to a heightened state of emotional wellbeing.
The impact of the pandemic
The health crisis induced by the pandemic has thrown into relief the catastrophically low levels of emotional wellbeing in the Western world, closely intertwined with the mass of underlying medical problems affecting our society — problems which were harder to address given the shortage of available doctors and medical premises.
In the US, 19% of adults are experiencing a form of mental illness, equivalent to over 47 million people, with 4.55% experiencing a mental illness identified as ‘severe’ (source: Mental Health America). Among young people, the picture is just as bleak. The rate of anxiety and depression has been rising steadily among children aged 6 to 17: in 2003, the rate stood at 5.4%; in 2007, it stood at 8%; and in 2011–2012, it stood at 8.4% (source: CDC).
Mental health has been historically under-researched and derided as insignificant compared to physical wellbeing. This is scientifically erroneous for two reasons: firstly, because mental health is a hugely important element of one’s health in and of itself; secondly, because mental health bears a huge impact on physical health and one should not be understood as separate from the other.
Although it is regrettable that it took a pandemic and repeated lockdowns for the notion of mental health to fully enter in the collective consciousness, it has at least put pressure on the medical industry to change and adapt for the better. The stress is also on corporate environments which have a longstanding tradition of offering healthcare and insurance packages to their employees as a cop out for a real culture of workplace wellbeing. In the wake of a scientific revolution in the matter of mental health and emotional wellbeing, this is something I seek to change.
How we can help
At RoundGlass, we have developed a meditation app to support people on their journey towards greater wellbeing. Our team also has several experts and advisors, whilst our platform offers all kinds of courses to support people on their journey.
One of the RoundGlass meditation coaches is my friend Curtis Smith, a former middle school teacher whose life has been significantly improved since he took up meditation and became a firm advocate of its benefits. He is the founder of Moment of Mindfulness (MOM) — a mindfulness methodology company designed to help communities set beneficial projects into motion through culturally responsive, evidence-based mindfulness tools. Curtis believes that meditation fosters a “sense of clarity that comes from slowing down your thoughts and learning to observe them” which “cannot be overrated”.
I was lucky enough to have Curtis share with me his top tips for a novice meditator:
You should get used to connecting with your breath, sitting still, being on your own. This can be challenging at first. You should try to persist and fight off that urge to get out of the practice, because your mind is telling you that this is pointless, it is not working.
The greatest benefit of meditation, in his opinion, is it fosters our ability to slow down our thoughts. By gaining a greater sense of clarity, we are able to manage stress better, sleep better, and substantially increase our level of energy during the day.
Over the years, Curtis developed his own routine that helps him move through life:
Journal practice, yoga, meditation, then a workout. Connecting with nature. Throughout the day, connecting with my breath, observing my thoughts. At night, I finish with a page of gratitude list, followed by meditation. Meditating before bed really helps you sleep deeper.
Other tools that we have developed are Live Sessions with experts and coaches, articles filled with resources about emotional wellbeing, and music sessions.