Jan 092015 5 Responses

A Checklist to Gauge Your Emotional Health

What does it mean to be emotionally healthy?

On multiple occasions I have written about the need for emotional health. Consider:

While these articles might discuss the need for emotional health or a byproduct of emotional health, they do not define what determines whether or not a person is emotionally healthy.

When someone is physically healthy, we assume the person’s body is operating as it should. Health doesn’t demand perfection, but it does mean the body can endure normal life with a significant level of success.

The same is true for emotional health.

An emotionally healthy person can properly navigate the demands and circumstances of their lives in a proper and successful manner. It doesn’t mean they will be perfect in every situation but it does mean that even when mistakes are made, there are the proper checks and balances to get them back on course.

This isn’t a comprehensive list, but consider the following questions to see if you are emotionally healthy:

1. Do you take responsibility for your actions? Many people do not. They blame others, make excuses, and play the role of the victim. Emotionally healthy people understand what they control and what they do not. They see more of their life under their control than beyond it.

2. Can you clearly communicate what you think and feel? No need to hide or excuse or downplay your thoughts or emotions. Emotionally healthy people have the ability to identify their emotions and properly communicate them to others. If you know an emotionally-healthy person, you do not have to read their minds to know what they are thinking. They can properly share their thoughts and opinions. (See: It’s Not My Job to Read Your Mind)

3. Can you appreciate people who are different than you? One sign of someone who is not emotionally healthy is fear. They are afraid of others and few things are more fearful than differences. Emotionally unhealthy people see differences as problems and cannot tolerate others who think, act, or believe differently than them. Emotionally healthy people appreciate the differences in life. They understand that issues are often nuanced and other people might come to a different conclusion than them.

4. Are you defined by other people? Emotionally healthy people are self-regulated. Their happiness and satisfaction is defined by their own choices and decisions. Emotionally unhealthy people are often defined by others. If someone disapproves of them, they are devastated. If someone makes a decision different than what they would make, they are shocked.

5. Do you refuse to manipulate or be manipulated by others? Emotional health is often determined by one’s ability to draw boundaries. There is a distinct line between what is my responsibility and what is your responsibility. I respect your boundaries and I do not let you cross my boundaries. An absence of emotional health is often a byproduct of a blurring of boundary lines.

6. Do you feel emotions without being defined by them? Emotional health is not stoicism. We are emotional people and must be able to identify, define, and communicate what we are feeling. However, we can not be fully dictated by our emotions. Part of maturity is the ability to delay satisfaction or to understand that satisfying current desires is not always the best course of action. (See: You Better Make Up Your Mind)

7. Do you make wise choices? Emotionally healthy people have the ability to do the right thing. Because they are not defined by their emotions or circumstances, they are not rash or revengeful. They have the ability to divide their emotions from their actions and make the proper choices. If a person regularly makes wrong choices, they are likely suffering from a lack of emotional health.

Nobody is completely healthy emotionally. Everyone fails at one or all of the preceding questions. Yet some are better than others and wise people are always trying to grow toward emotional health.

If a few of these questions raised issues within your life, get with a friend and discuss areas in which you want to improve.

If most of these questions identified problems in your life, call a professional counselor and work your way toward emotional health.

5 Responses to A Checklist to Gauge Your Emotional Health
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